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Biotech Science

Fasting May Fix Jet Lag 131

Posted by kdawson
from the lost-in-translation dept.
stoolpigeon writes "Reuters reports on a Harvard Medical School study on sleep patterns and how they relate to food. Researchers already knew that the sleep patterns of mice would change to match the opportunity to feed, but they did not know the mechanism that enabled the change. To find out, they looked for the part of the brain that was involved. They bred mice without a certain master gene that regulates the body's clock, and then targeted various parts of the brain with the gene, delivered in the shell of a virus. The results may, among other things, provide a new method for preparing to deal with jet lag: 'A period of fasting with no food at all for about 16 hours is enough to engage this [alternate body] clock,' the lead researcher said. The study appears in the journal Science."
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Fasting May Fix Jet Lag

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  • Don't let the airlines know about this, or they are going to 'improve the jetlag adaptation' by not feeding you anymore ! And for an additional price.
  • by EWAdams (953502) on Monday May 26, 2008 @08:17AM (#23543349) Homepage

    How about making the airplane seats big enough and comfortable enough to actually sleep in?

    Jet lag would be much less of a problem if the airlines didn't squash us all in like sardines for 13 hours at a time.
  • by Peter Cooper (660482) on Monday May 26, 2008 @08:21AM (#23543365) Homepage Journal
    Jetlag has not proven to be a significant issue with me or any of the people I have travelled internationally (as in, more than 5 time zones in one go) with. Is it only a significant issue to those who are changing timezone on an almost daily basis?

    Typically if you're travelling west, you just get an hour's nap (or not) on the plane, but stay up an extra 5 - 8 hours or so (or less and go to bed a bit earlier). That's pretty easy to do. You will tend to wake up a little earlier than normal, but that's not a massive deal.

    Travelling east is more difficult, as going to sleep 5 - 8 hours earlier is usually impossible (or impractical if still travelling) so you need to stay up an extra 8 - 12 or so hours, go to bed early, and get extra sleep that night. In both cases, you wind up waking up at roughly a sensible time.

    Perhaps there is a significant group (who I do not travel with) who are unable to stay up for 28 hours on the odd occasion when it's necessary to resync with the local time zone? Or is it that if you do it, say, every week, this technique becomes totally impractical?
  • by allcar (1111567) on Monday May 26, 2008 @08:21AM (#23543367)
    The airlines will happily give you more leg room. All you have to do is give them more money. It's called 1st class. If you like cheap flights, there's not much point in bitching about comfort.
  • by spectrokid (660550) on Monday May 26, 2008 @09:00AM (#23543593) Homepage
    You are talking about a typical transatlantic or transcontinental 5-8 hours jetlag. they are indeed easy to overcome. As far as I understand, an 8-12 hour trip (London-Sydney/Tokyo) is a whole different story.
  • by Anonymous Coward on Monday May 26, 2008 @09:35AM (#23543865)
    Sometimes I skip dinner because I'm busy or whatever but I sleep like crap on those nights so I don't know what you are talking about. Usually I wake several times in the night because I'm hungry. That makes for a pretty rough night.

    I'm in good health, not overweight or any other problems like that.
  • by cheebie (459397) on Monday May 26, 2008 @10:17AM (#23544199)

    Another thought is maybe you just need to loose weight. :)


    I have yet to find a diet that makes my legs shorter.
  • by jonwil (467024) on Monday May 26, 2008 @10:38AM (#23544429)
    The real issue is which airline you are flying. Some are better than others. Unfortunatly, because national governments like to protect the dinosaur airlines from competition by better airlines (overseas carriers looking to enter the market, startups who think they can draw business away from the big boys), often the airlines that have the good stuff (better food, better seats, better entertainment etc) dont fly the route you want to fly.

    If aviation worldwide was deregulated and e.g. foreign airlines such as Singapore Airlines and QANTAS were allowed to fly domestic routes inside the US, the dinosaur airlines that offer the crappy service like United and American would have to get better or go bust.

    (disclaimer: I have never flown on any US carrier but I have read enough about how US carriers suck from people who have)
  • by Free the Cowards (1280296) on Monday May 26, 2008 @10:56AM (#23544613)
    There's plenty of competition within the US as it is. You have to ask yourself why none of them have wised up and started offering better service. In fact the one that are doing the best tend to offer the worst amenities.

    The reason is that airline customers care about price above all else. I recall a study (no, I don't have a cite, sorry) where people would ignore significant differences in amenities for as little as a $5 difference in price.

    This is why service sucks everywhere. If an airline cuts food from a price and this allows them to undercut their competitor by some trivial amount, they get a significant influx of new customers. It becomes a race to the bottom, with costs cut on amenities everywhere to allow for reduced ticket prices.

    Because of this it's unlikely that Singapore Airlines or QANTAS would make much of a difference in the US market. They'd either have to do the same stuff in order to compete or they would get priced out of the market.
  • Amenities? (Score:4, Insightful)

    by mgkimsal2 (200677) on Monday May 26, 2008 @12:08PM (#23545257) Homepage
    What are these magic amenities that will make a 4 hours flight with no leg room more bearable for an extra $5?

    People will save $5 on a flight choosing a cheaper one because in economy there's basically no difference. What are the amenities? Coke v Pepsi products? Seats without tears in them? New sickbag in every seat pocket?

    I'd *gladly* pay a smaller amount more for a bit more leg room. I'm not a big person (5'9") but am cramped in economy seats. But the only choice is biz and/or first class, often at 5-10x the price of the economy price. There's no middle ground, so people choose the cheapest economy they can.

    I went from RDU to SJC for about $230 last month. I could have paid up to $500 for the same trip on a different carrier, but still 'economy'. I've flown economy on all the major carriers at one point or another, and they all have the same size seats and basic service, so why pay double for the same thing?

    I almost tried JetBlue, but the scheduling wasn't even close to what I needed, so I'd have had to go the day before and get a hotel for another $200. Plus the JB ticket was $650 or so - close to 3x the price I paid. I've heard good things about JB, but not good enough to pay an extra $620 for my trip.

    If an airline would promote their 'amenities' for the extra few dollars, maybe I'd give it a try, but there's few amenities save legroom that can make a 5 hour trip worth any extra amount of money.

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