Last week was tiring. I was in the UK all week but was sequentially South, Central, South, North, East and then South again. I met strategic partners and colleagues and friends and visitors and family…and I even went to music concert (the son of a friend). It was an exciting and energising week…but it was also exhausting.
And strangely enough UK clocks switched to winter early Sunday morning. Strange because I should have gained an hour. Well of course I did gain an hour…but it doesn’t feel that way. It’s Sunday evening and we have just driven back from visiting my son at college. It is dark already and it feels late. But it’s not. And to add to my disconcerted state of mind, I know that our US colleagues don’t end daylight savings for another week…and so my calendar for US-UK meetings next week will be all over the place.
It almost feels like jet lag. But it’s hard to imagine jet lag when the time only moves by one hour. That having been said, I do find it tougher to go to mainland Europe (plus one hour vs. UK) than I do visit the US. Whenever I am in mainland Europe I inevitably find myself wide awake at 1:00am local (only midnight to me). And then worse still…I have to get out of bed the next morning at a time that says 6:30am on my hotel alarm clock, but at which my body is screaming 5:30am.
Apparently jet lag is a real medical condition, well to be more precise it is a real sleep disorder recognised by the medical community. The thing about jet lag is that you never really know how bad you’ll get it. Sometimes it is worse than others. Sometimes the impact on me seems to last no time at all and other times it goes on for days. One fact I do know is that jet lag is worse travelling west to east than it is east to west.
I have read (and tried) many suggestions about what to do to avoid (or cope with) jet lag – everything ranging from not drinking alcohol, to drinking lots of alcohol; from sleeping on the plane to forcing myself to stay awake.
A pretty good description of jet lag would be…“a disorder resulting from crossing time zones too rapidly for the circadian clock to keep pace.” That link to circadian rhythm, though, suggests that at least a component of jet lag may be due to unscheduled exposure to sunlight or darkness. A bit like how I feel this evening now it is darker earlier. Presumably, our bodies just don’t know whether to be asleep or awake.
If true then this theory would explain the best way I have seen of apparently avoiding jetlag – wear sunglasses when you land to lessen impact of daylight. I don’t know whether this actually works, but maybe it would help me look a bit cooler (and less shattered) when I arrive at back in the UK!
Back to the real world then. Next week is another important week. Visitors and strategic partners and friends and colleagues and family. And it’s an important time of year as we move through the final quarter of 2016.
I know I will feel better in the morning. I feel better now than I did an hour ago. Everyone I met or interacted with last week was outstanding. Everyone I meet or interact with next week will be as good if not better.
I enjoyed myself last week. I learned a great deal. Next week is about to start.
I can’t wait…