For nearly a week, I have been making up five hours of time zone differences in my bed, on the couch, in the fridge, and with my digital bookshelf. Just when I thought this lack of routine might have been over, I woke up at 2am this morning and sighed regretfully when sleep seemed impossible. (Of course, at around 8am I napped until 2pm…and so it goes again)
But it’s in my nature to make the most of everything, even when my circadian rhythm is disorientated and my waking hours are guided by my liver habits.
From my experience, overcoming jet lag means wasting a lot of time simply trying to fall asleep, which is frustrating for me. I would rather binge watch a show or read a book than stare blankly at nothing in the dark while waiting out those hours.
But it also gives you time to think. And it gives you the opportunity to think without having the pressure of producing anything out of it. Boredom can sometimes be a good thing because it forces you to let your mind wander to places where it doesn’t always think to go when you’re busy.
You can consolidate what has happened thus far in your life and make a little sense of it, if you have the patience. You can think about what you would do if you were up and doing things – plan, in other words.
That’s reason number one.
Reason number two, is that the lack of routine gives you the opportunity to create a new one. It can be better, it can be worse.
I remember a time in junior year when my jet lag jump-started me into waking up every day at 5 and finishing at 9, which I kept up for nearly half a year. Man, that was a productivity booster.
Sometimes though, the lack of a routine can set you on the wrong track very easily – waking up late, sleeping late, eating junk food late at night, putting off tasks until very late – it’s an open ended question.
As I continue to transition and sleep, I hope I can practice what I preach here and take advantage of resetting my life in Beijing for the summer. Jet lag can be annoying for sure, but it also gives you opportunity, depending on how you look at it!