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Upon arriving after an overnight flight the departing passengers often look like a casting call for the latest zombie movie. We trudge wearily off the plane hoping to make it through the day. Usually I want to fall asleep on a nice soft sofa at the airport.

But too much sleep at that time of day can mess up your recovery from jet lag. A short nap of an hour or less usually works best. Any longer and you fall into a deeper sleep that is harder to wake up from. Your goal is to get enough sleep to make it through the day so you can fall asleep at a reasonable hour that evening.

On my first trip to Europe with a friend we showed up at our hotel in London around noon and immediately went to sleep. We woke up at 9 but were so disoriented that we thought it was 9 AM and immediately got up and went down to breakfast. Imagine our surprise, and those of the innkeepers, when we were rooting around for bacon, eggs and cereal at 9 PM. Of the day we arrived.

Needless to say this totally messed up our body clocks as we now had a full night’s sleep and were raring to go. This led to several days of waking up at 4 AM while it was still dark as coal outside.

Now that I am a more experienced traveler I‘ve got my jet-lag tricks down pat. I’ve narrowed them down to the five “Ss”: sex, sleep, shower, stroll and supper.

When you get to the hotel the immediate urge is to fall asleep. I am usually too wired from the excitement of the trip to just lay my head down. This is where the sex part comes. It helps to have a willing traveling companion for this but it still works if you are traveling solo though, like the act itself, just not as well.

Afterwards take a nap of no more than an hour. This is why having a travel alarm clock comes in handy. The problem on that trip to London is that I didn’t have an alarm clock so my body took the entire eight hours of sleep it missed and now craved. You need the alarm to force yourself to get up.

Afterwards a shower helps to wash off the flight grime and wake you up. Some people prefer this before the sex step so it’s really a matter of personal preference and your partner’s individual hygiene standards.

After the shower force yourself to take a stroll outside. Get out and explore so you can get that second wind that will get you through a really tiring day. Go out for a light supper and try to stay up as late as reasonably close to your normal bedtime as you can so you start the next day well rested.

After 25 years of international travel the five “Ss” have usually come through for me. And even if they don’t work, well, at least you still had the sex part so it can’t be all that bad.