Latest posts by Martin Moodie (see all)
- Around the world in 80 (or so) days - May 15, 2022
- Cannes on steroids and gobsmacked in an airport wonderland - May 11, 2022
- A sneak preview of a new wonder of the world - May 10, 2022
Hello darkness, my old friend
I’ve come to talk with you again
Because a vision of me weeping
All because I was not sleeping
And the vision that was planted in my brain
Within the sound of silence
And the people bowed and prayed
For lack of sleep they were afraid
And the clock flashed out its warning
It was two a.m. in the morning
And the sign said “The words of the sufferers
Are written on bedroom walls
And terminal halls
And whispered in the sounds of silence”
– With apologies to Simon & Garfunkel
Like many others in the travel retail industry I have to live with that maddening but common condition called circadian dysrhythmia. You know it, right? No? Well perhaps you call it desynchronosis?
Alright then, maybe you know it as jet lag but however you refer to the damn condition it is one of the more infuriating disorders on this planet.
Blend it with insomnia – god’s punishment, I believe, for me being allowed to creep into senior citizenship status – and you have the stuff of nightmares. Well, actually you don’t, you have to be asleep to have them (or be an American democrat awaiting the result of the next Presidential election).
For years I was largely immune to this condition. Heck I could fly all the way to New Zealand, which takes (or feels like it does) about a month and I would be as frisky as a new-born lamb the next day. San Francisco? No problem. Singapore? An hour after arrival it would be down to Clarke Quay for a beer or two with my mates.
But now… two, three, sometimes four days of minimal sleep. Two nights ago I woke in Hong Kong at 12.30a.m. That was ok except for the fact that I’d gone to bed at 11p.m. And any chance of me getting back to sleep was rendered about as realistic as Tony Blair being named Patron Saint of Great Britain by the fact that Typhoon Nida was raging (as in really, really Donald Trumpish angry) outside. Talk about the raw, unadulterated power of nature. I would not have wanted to be a passenger onboard Singapore Airlines SQ1 from San Francisco that was forced to abort two attempted landings on Tuesday and eventually diverted to Taipei.
But I digress. Back to my circadian dysrhythmia (if you get jet lag after landing in Toronto or Vancouver it is apparently known as circanadian dysrhythmia). Figuring that I am not alone in my plight among industry executives, I decided to research the condition and the possible cures.
Hydration during your long-haul flight is recommended. No, I’m not talking large volumes of the very fine wines served onboard British Airways (though I admit putting the theory to test was fun). Chances are they actually accentuate your desynchronosis. Water, is good. Tasteless, horrible stuff but good.
Today I read, remarkably, that drinking coffee in the evening can turn back the body clock and help fight jet lag. With one small catch. You have to have flown west. And last time I looked, Hong Kong was a few points east of London. Notes Professor Kenneth Wright, of the University of Colorado’s Department of Integrative Physiology: “Our findings suggest that if you take caffeine at the wrong time, it could make your jet lag on an eastward trip worse.”
Oh, oh. I knew that double Espresso just before I landed at Hong Kong International Airport on Sunday was a bad idea.
But there is help at hand. From my native New Zealand in fact. 1Above is a flight drink that apparently contains Pycnogenol, a natural bark extract (though no dogs were harmed, I am assured, in its production), which research has shown reduces the length of jet lag by a worryingly precise 53.8% and severity by an average of 61.5% after 24 hours. I reckon therefore if I was to down about half a dozen bottles right now I should be alright.
To be serious for a moment, 1Above combines Pycnogenol with six electrolytes to combat the dehydration from flight travel, blending them in with a decent dose of Vitamin B (not, I must point out, Vitamin SB which refers in my household to Marlborough Sauvignon Blanc or Vitamin H, which in Dubai Duty Free boss Colm McLoughlin’s household is Heineken).
The good news is that 1Above actually works (I’ve used it many times but damn it all have run out of stock) and the even better news is that it is now widely available in airport retail (it was first launched at Auckland Airport but is now available through several OTG, WHSmith and Lagardère Travel Retail locations, I believe, with further distribution in the pipeline). You can buy it on Amazon (the e-commerce site not the river) too. Quite seriously, I believe that in an age driven by well-being concerns, this would be a best-seller in just about any airport (or onboard any long-haul carrier).
And you know what else? I think I know how it got its name. Last night as I struggled desperately for sleep, I turned, for the first time in years, to prayer. Yes, just for one night’s solid sleep, I did indeed pray to (and for) the one above.