How do I try to beat jet-lag:
– book an overnight flight that lands at the destination in the morning, if possible. This really helps.
– start gradually shifting my daily schedule of meals, activities, sleep, a few days in advance.
– once I pass security and have about an hour before take-off, I take clonapen (not sleeping pills and no, not melatonin, though some people swear about it – it makes me depressed because of my extreme owl-eness and SAD). This (as I am a little anxious of flying) helps me fall asleep very quickly, sometimes before we are airborn, sometimes right after they serve the dinner.
– then I sleep the entire flight and wake up just before landing.
– once I arrive, I make sure to do three things throughout the morning (or even the whole day): be outside in order to get exposed to light, eat breakfast and lunch at local time, exercise. It is usually easy to combine the three: sightseeing around the city, stopping at a street vendor for food, traipsing around all day.
– in the evening, have dinner at local time, with little or no alcohol (could not avoid that last time in London, but I was OK), go to bed with a book and try to sleep. It usually works for me.
– what I find is that most of my physical functions adjust to new time in a day or two (no real jet-lag, i.e., nausea, headaches, lack of appetite), but my time-perception takes longer (i.e., my ability to estimate the time of day without looking at the clock).
On the way back, it is harder to do all of the above, so I usually do get jet-lagged once I arrive home from Europe. Still have to make myself more disciplined about it (also, the London-Raleigh flight is daytime, which makes it hard to use the flight itself as a resetting mechanism).