The first two times (2001 & 2011), I was a part of volleyball tour groups with agendas and activities to drag the jetlag out of us. The fourth time I came back in the midst of volleyball season; I had to knuckle down and get back on track sooner than possible - I had a match the next afternoon.
But the other four times have been my August re-entry dates, always with a few extra days planned for adapting to the 9-hour time difference. [Read: an entire week as a zombie who naps from 11am to 7pm.]
This year I finally beat jetlag at its own game.
I had a wild itinerary this summer, going Barcelona to Sacramento, then returning LA to Amsterdam (the day after getting back from Alaska, of course). Because of my bizarre schedule, I decided to go even more extreme, and opted for the nine-hour layover in Philadelphia on my way back.
And it worked.
Not only was it my first time in the city, but I was also thrilled to hang out with my sister-in-law, Alex, who made the drive up from DC, and my inner time zone gracefully arrived on the East Coast.
We had a late lunch at Reading Terminal Market, which translated to what would have been dinner in Europe. I skipped the dinner on the plane, having already adjusted my watch to EU's midnight, and went to sleep. In a strange way, our plane sitting on the tarmac for an hour and a half before take off (Philadelphia might want to look into building enough runways for scheduled planes...) only helped my cause, giving me a total of 8 1/2 hours of downtime before landing in Holland.
The layover is your friend.