Pilot Who Flew 300 Days A Year Reveals Tips For Beating Jet Lag
By Jordi Lippe-McGraw
Glenn Gonzales might have spent more of his life up in the air than on the ground. His aviation career began in the USAF as a T-38A Instructor Pilot, and he culminated his military career as an F-15C Flight Commander and 4-Ship Flight Lead. The Lieutenant Colonel provided transportation solutions as the Regional Sales Manager for the Northeastern United States for Honda Aircraft Company.
“Flying has been a part of every professional experience that I have had to date,” Gonzales told me. “In years passed, I have flown as many as 300 days in a year, and as much as I would like to fly more today, I am now at the controls approximately 60-75 days a year. That’s still over once a week on average.”
Gonzales’ latest venture is founding Jet It, a jet fractional ownership company where you can get 25 days to 130 days of private jet use depending on membership. Unlike most fractional operators, Jet It uses a hybrid model that uses days rather than hours in its accounting, which significantly lowers the cost you’d typically be paying. For about $1,600 an hour, members get the whole jet, which comfortably fits five to six people.
“I have had the fortunate opportunity to fly everything from fighter jets in the US Air Force, to circumventing the earth in the most luxurious Gulfstreams,” said Gonzales. “As an aviation company run by aviators, Jet It affords the opportunity to share my unique aviation experience nearly 6,000 hours of flying over the last 22 years.”
And part of that experience is learning a few things about beating jet lag. Here Gonzales shares his top five tips.
The key to beating jet lag begins with hydration. Flying alone dehydrates the body, and consuming dehydrating liquids will increase fatigue. Remaining hydrated allows the body to better process foods, which becomes more difficult at altitude. Along those same lines eating lightly will assist in this effort.
“The next step is to remain active on the flight. When crossing time zones seated in the cockpit for hours day after day, keeping your blood flow moving is critically important. Little things like toe lifts, ankle rolls, back twists, and leg stretches. Simply flexing your leg, abdominal, and back muscles can also quickly energize you and keep your body in an active state. For the more adventurous traveler, a modified wall sit in your chair is an advanced level of keeping remaining active.”
Stick With Your Normal Schedule
“The top tip to beating jet lag is keeping a schedule that aligns with your daily activities. Awaking, eating, and resting at the same time daily is essential to stay on top of your game. This type of discipline becomes much easier when traveling privately, considering that you have total control of your schedule and environment. You can depart when you want, and you are not reliant upon eating or drinking when the cabin attendant feels the time is right.”
Focus On Sun Exposure
“Another major tip is to keep your sun exposure consistent with your normal body clock. The light and dark signals your body when to wake and sleep, so adjust your exposure according to your schedule while flying. Sunlight naturally influences our body’s circadian rhythm, and regardless of how fatigued we may be, a warm, inviting sunrise will send a jolt of energy through you.”
“Many may not like this next tip, but use coffee sparingly and only when truly needed. This tip applies when you are not traveling as well. Our bodies can become numb to the effects of coffee, requiring us to need more and more coffee. Thus when you really need to stay awake for that all-important deal, the coffee won’t have the desired effect. If used sparingly at all times, the caffeine kick will be just enough to close the next big deal!”