I am back running on my favorite trail!
Just yesterday, I landed home after a grueling 31-hour journey from London. The final few days in London coincided with King Charles's coronation, and I found myself amidst the throng of tourists and catching up with dear friends I had not seen in ages. As much as I had fun, I was nervous that such a trip often comes with a challenging companion - jetlag.
Jetlag can be a significant setback, especially when you're an avid runner like me, going straight back into work and running. The fatigue, disorientation, and general sluggishness can disrupt our training schedules and performance, and even kill motivation for days. This time, though, I had a plan.
The moment I boarded the plane, I slipped on my compression tights (under my trousers, of course!) and, importantly, I set my watch to my destination's time zone. This small action is surprisingly effective in mentally aligning with the destination's rhythm. But the real game-changer for me was a simple over-the-counter supplement: a melatonin and valerian pill.
Melatonin is a hormone naturally produced by our bodies, signalling to our brains that it's time to sleep. Its levels rise in the evening and drop in the morning. Valerian, is a herb known for its sedative properties. I took a pill on the plane, which coincided with late afternoon in Australia, and managed to sleep for a solid 6-7 hour stretch.
Last night, my first night back in Australia, I took another pill at 9:30 PM, hit the sack, and woke up after a full night's deep sleep feeling refreshed and energetic. It was as if I'd never left Queensland time zone. So, naturally, the first thing I did was put on my running shoes and hit my favorite trail. No jetlag symptoms.
This isn't the first time I've turned to melatonin, but it is the first time I combined it with valerian. Melatonin has been a lifesaver in many occasions, particularly when I'm racing abroad or need to bounce back into my active routine and work right away. It's also my go-to when life gets stressful, and my body needs a reset.
Of course, it's not a magic pill. To ensure its effectiveness, I also abstained from alcohol, ate a healthy dinner, and set up a conducive space for good sleep, both on the plane and in my bedroom ( eye shades on the plane, no TV or devices before bed, etc.)
I look forward to another restful night's sleep tonight, with my trusty melatonin and valerian combo by my side. And another good trail run tomorrow!