I had always heard of jet lag and had experienced it when I traveled to Europe, but the jet lag I experienced on this trip to China was extreme. I’m not sure if this had to do with my age, the shorter travel stay while I was away, or the different direction I was flying, but I experienced extreme jet lag after this trip. I spent two days pretty much only sleeping and waking up to eat and use the restroom, but it took almost 3 weeks for me to get back to a more or less normal feeling.
The jet lag when we got to China did not seem as bad. This may have been in part due to the excitement of seeing such new and interesting places. I do highly recommend that you sleep as much as possible on the plane (I even took melatonin to make sure I slept) so that you can get on the Chinese schedule as quickly as possible. We did, however, experience waking up wide awake at crazy hours and difficulty going back to sleep. To combat this, we continued using melatonin for a few days and even if we couldn’t sleep, we did not get up and do anything. This got better after the first three or four days (probably due to the fact that we were walking so much and we exhausted).
I have read some tips to help with jet lag. First, make sure you are well hydrated both on the plane and as soon as you arrive at your destination. This may have been part of my problem. I took advantage of the free wine offered on the flight, and that, of course, can make your body not be well hydrated. I did try to stay up a bit longer on the flight home so that I would be closer to the US schedule when we landed, but I was not very successful. Thankfully, we had a couple of days of recuperation after the trip before we were expected to return to our “normal” routine. If you are a VIPKid teacher, give yourself a few days of rest before you open your schedule. If you are wide awake and can’t sleep, you can always open up some short notice classes.
Just be aware that you will experience jet lag to some degree. Be prepared and take care of yourself. Give yourself the time you need to recuperate so that you aren’t miserable.