Someone (@philiplilly) asked me how I deal with jet lag. I fired off a quick answer ("adjust to the target time ASAP"), which I only later realized isn't what I actually do. It's what everyone else does. So here's what I really do:
I cut my sleep into two chunks, one corresponding to a normal sleep or wake time in the country I'm leaving from, and one corresponding to a normal wake up time in my destination.
So, for example, last week I came to Japan, which is eight hours off from California time. I slept only four hours, from 4:30am to 8:30am, which sounds like it must require intense discipline, but really it ends up being a necessity because I leave all of my travel preparation to the last minute.
By the time I was on my plane, it was 1:10pm in California, which is 5:10am in Tokyo. I waited for fifty minutes and then fell asleep, waking up four hours later at 10:00am Tokyo time. I don't usually find it easy to sleep on planes, but with only four hours of rest the night before, I drifted off while sitting up straight in my chair. Waking up was easy too, because I had accumulated eight hours of sleep in the recent past, which meant that I was fully rested with a normal Tokyo wake-up time.
Besides just waking up at the right time, I try to simulate it being morning as much as possible: I drink green tea, sit in front of my laptop at maximum brightness, turn on my seat light, and open the window if it's daytime. I also make sure to set my watch to the destination time before going to sleep.
This method is extremely effective. I was awake and alert all day upon arriving to Tokyo, went to bed easily at a normal hour, woke up at the correct time the next day, and have been on Tokyo time ever since. Give it a try!
I got a present today and it's not even my birthday or Christmas. That present came from myself, and it came in the form of a half written blog post and the title for another one (this post here, in fact).
Since implementing the no computer after 11 rule (which, I'll admit, I'm not totally strict about since adopting the thousand word a day mandate), I've noticed that I leave myself these sorts of presents a lot more often than I used to.
The gift I'm talking about is a productivity softball. Normally when I sit down for my daily thousand, the first fifteen minutes is spent battling the impulse to go see what's new on hackernews, and, once that impulse is controlled, staring off into space trying to decide what to write about today.
Question from a reader:
"Sebastian, do you have any suggestions on getting back on a regular sleep schedule after traveling/strange hours without resorting to melatonin supplements?"
Yeah. It's remarkably simple, actually.
Say you went from New York to Tokyo, so now you're waking up around dinnertime in Tokyo naturally, wanting to be awake all night, and sleep at the crack of dawn. Here's what you do:
You wake up like normal at 6PM Tokyo time, and then you make preparations and plans to stay up all night and all of the next day, and you put yourself into places/situations where you physically couldn't sleep.