I recently wrote a column on some travel tips. People liked it.
So here’s another:
I recently traveled a total of 24 time zones in less than seven days. There’s a rule of thumb for travel: For every time zone you travel, it will take about a day to recover. Travel 12 time zones and you can do the math. Adjusting to a new time zone is bad enough when you’re there, but the real suffering begins when you get home.
Anyone experiencing serious jet lag should heed this advice: don’t do anything important involving money or large financial transactions until you recover. Don’t get married… On a whim, I mean. (If you planned the wedding in advance, no worries.)
Avoid taking out loans, signing anything important or buying anything costing more than a pizza. A number of studies over the years have shown that jet lag can have serious implications on cognitive abilities, at least in the short term, after a big trip.
Traveling across multiple time zones can have significant impacts on your brain, particularly due to the disruption of the body’s circadian rhythm or “internal clock.” This internal clock, influenced by the light-dark cycle of the day, plays a critical role in regulating sleep, mood, metabolism and other physiological processes.
When you cross time zones, the external cues that your body uses to set this clock, such as sunlight and mealtimes, are suddenly shifted, leading to a state of desynchronization known as jet lag. This can cause a variety of symptoms, such as insomnia, fatigue, difficulty concentrating and even digestive problems. Most people are grumpy, irritable and have “reduced” patience until the jet lag wears off (yes, I’m including myself here.)
Why am I talking about travel? Because my friends and colleagues in the automotive industry are some of the most well-traveled people I’ve ever met. I know someone, for example, who does 20 trade shows a year, many of them across numerous time zones.
As we get back to more regular business travel, we’ll be re-building our travel endurance. It may take some time, but it’s worth it.
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