When I first started working, it was something to shoulder through or fight. For the CEO of my first company, it was a point of pride to step off a plane and into the office. He'd put in a full day, no matter whether it meant falling asleep in meetings by lunchtime or wobbling a bit unsteadily on his heels at 4 pm. Predictably, it bred a culture of emulation that made everyone arrive at work, worthless, on the day after a long trip. The machismo is great for 25; impractical by 40.
The flight and travel magazines always have suggestion about achieving the right water –alcohol mix, getting sleep on the plane, avoiding certain foods. I took the occasional sleeping pill to relax on transcontinental flights, managing to pull a few hours rest. But one sad day a combination of wine with dinner, cold meds, and the little blue pill all hit synergy: I got up to stretch my legs and woke up with beneath oxygen mask after passing out in the aisle. Now I avoid all three religiously on flights.
Arriving a day early to adjust is expensive, and there's always that temptation to go sightseeing rather than to go to bed.
Melatonin works great: a couple of tablets 30 minutes before bed on the first two night does help me to sleep through the night without waking at 3 am. The alternative is to plug in a podcast when I wake up and quiet my fin down by listening to an interview or commentary.
And if I don't wrench my body to a new cycle while I'm away, then there's that much less accommodation that has to be made when I get back. Win-win.
Now, if only I can find a way to make people stop scheduling 7 am breakfast meetings. Too much heavy food; too many heavy eyes.