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Biotech Science

Fasting May Fix Jet Lag 131

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.
  • Poor mice (Score:1, Funny)

    by futlib ( 1278238 )
    Highly paid researchers torture mice for a living. It's kind of sad.
  • Ya know I kinda figured this was common knowledge by now. Or at least common sense to anyone who went through college.

    To make it through the required all-nighters or any other binge of staying awake, you eat more food to provide more energy to your body.

    Conversely, when you mess up your sleep schedule because of it, it's easy to just skip the meals that day so you goto sleep earlier because you have no energy.

    So is the big discovery here that it works this way, or that it's precisely 16 hours and it affects
    • Just in college? (Score:2, Interesting)

      by Anonymous Coward
      It isn't just a college thing - think about all the people (and the current poll) who are 'late' risers... I wonder what the correlation is between late risers and eating shortly after rising...

      I mean, if you dont eat breakfast, then you start at lunch, then dinner then snacks... eventually you'll stop waking up around breakfast time (according to this article).

      Irregular eating patterns also make you fat, I've heard - I wonder what the correlation between late risers and obesity is?
      • I suck at mornings, but I'm certainly not fat either :) I did start eating breakfast again a few months ago, though I eat it after I get to work rather than before. I hardly ever 'snack' but I do have food quite late in the evenings sometimes.

        Come to think of it, the summer when I was best at getting up early for work, was a time when I used to have breakfast (porridge at the time) at home.. interesting. Breakfast really is the most important meal of the day!?
    • Re: (Score:2, Interesting)

      by fitten ( 521191 )
      Not just this, but your body does things on a schedule (basically, you eat, it takes time to digest and time to get back to being hungry again... that's fairly consistent). If you've ever owned pets, dogs particularly, you know that they know when feeding time is even though they can't read clocks! The trick to overcoming jetlag is to do things to shift your body's schedule to match your new surroundings. I've done this many times by staying awake (don't sleep on the plane) so that I can go to sleep at
  • 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 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.
      • Actually the really long haul flights (not sure about USA) I have found that the seat size is perfect.

        Eg, England -> Singapore / France -> Korea. Both cases the seats were fine, had your own TV/games console and could get up at any time and get more food/drink.

        It is the short flights (up to 5 hours) that steerage tended to be bad.

        Another thought is maybe you just need to loose weight. :)
        • 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.
          • I have yet to find a diet that makes my legs shorter.

            Add 3000 calories of pure sugar to your diet each and every day.

            Then you get diabetes, and they chop off part of your legs, and there you go!

        • 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.
            • Re: (Score:3, Interesting)

              by Anonymous Coward

              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.

              People have become hyper-sensitive to price because airlines charge vastly different prices for the same service. You don't have to do much air travel before you have the experience of sitting next to a guy who paid half as much as you did.

            • by AdamHaun ( 43173 )
              But it's not like airlines really advertise amenities. When I search for a flight, I get a list of departure/arrival times and prices. Maybe I'll see what kind of plane I'm flying on so I can go to a third-party site [seatguru.com] to see which seats are good. United had some of their economy seats spaced out more for better leg room for a while, but I never saw anything about which flights had that and which didn't.
              • by hughk ( 248126 )

                United had some of their economy seats spaced out more for better leg room for a while, but I never saw anything about which flights had that and which didn't.
                This is usually called premium economy and many airlines have it for long-haul. The seats are as you say better and a bit more legroom.
            • 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.
              • Re: (Score:3, Informative)

                United is doing exactly what you're looking for. They call it Economy Plus. You get five inches more legroom than they usually give you, and of course charge you more money. I don't see United suddenly taking over the airline business.

                There's plenty of middle ground out there. Aside from United, the different airlines vary quite a bit in terms of how much room they give you. They may not advertise this fact strongly, and the various travel web sites may not make it easy to search for this, but it's not hard
            • by TheRedSeven ( 1234758 ) on Monday May 26, 2008 @12:13PM (#23545293) Homepage
              This price competition is because of services like Priceline [priceline.com] and Kayak.com [kayak.com] that only allow you to compare based on price and time, and don't include any of the other amenities that carriers may/may not offer.
              If there are any enterprising developers out there, there may be a market for this...
              • If there are any enterprising developers out there, there may be a market for this...
                Mod parent up. He does have a better idea. I'd pay for a service like this. Someone on slashdot surely has the time and skills to do it.
            • amenities? (Score:1, Redundant)

              by mgkimsal2 ( 200677 )
              What amenities are you talking about? I'd gladly pay an extra $20-$40 per flight for a bit of extra leg room, but paying 5-10X the amount of an economy ticket for biz class is something which most people (including me) can't justify for every trip. And if we *all* would be willing to pay that new price, then biz would go up accordingly and that new higher price would be the low bar for pricing, based on peoples' willingness to pay it.

              Are we talking Coke v Pepsi? No amount of extra $$ for 'amenities' make
            • Because of this it's unlikely that Singapore Airlines or QANTAS would make much of a difference in the US market.

              We don't get to find out as long as foreign airlines are kept out of the market.

              Funny how the US likes to keep foreign competition out of its markets in most industries, but hates protectionism everywhere else.
              • Funny how the US likes to keep foreign competition out of its markets in most industries, but hates protectionism everywhere else.
                Wow, just like every other country that does or ever did exist!
            • That said it's pretty easy to get a Frontier flier to then swipe their card for 6 bucks to watch TV on the flight. At a similar price point there is Southwest who forcibly pump mood music at you. I would much prefer Frontier should the decision ever be mine to make.
        • by hughk ( 248126 )
          Really. I'm not that tall and find that steerage for London/Singapore sucks, big time (at least with BA/Quantas). Business is fine though (but generally a lot more expensive unless someone else is paying).
      • Even first class does not provide seats as wide as an ordinary armchair in my living room, which considering that first class costs several times what my armchair cost (and I don't get to keep the seat) they damn well should. The kind of cheap flights available in the UK (£1 to Malta, etc.) are an abomination and should be banned.
    • by maxume ( 22995 )
      Then you would just complain about how it was too expensive to fly...
    • Re: (Score:2, Redundant)

      by drsquare ( 530038 )
      It's called 'first class'. Unless you have some magical technology which makes planes twice as big without increasing either the manufacturing or running costs.
    • Re: (Score:3, Interesting)

      by couchslug ( 175151 )
      I just dropped a couple Dramamine before the flight and slept most of the way when I deployed.
      Think airline seats suck? Try webbing sling seats in a C141 (yes, I'm old) or other airlifter.
      Eating first kept me from waking up due to hunger.
      • Re: (Score:3, Interesting)

        by Dun Malg ( 230075 )

        Think airline seats suck? Try webbing sling seats in a C141 (yes, I'm old) or other airlifter.

        Heh. Yeesh. Thanks for reminding me. For those who have never had the joy, behold [att.net]. Imagine sitting like this, knees interlocked with the guy in front of you, for 18 hours, with your luggage on your lap! Nowadays those kids have it easy riding the C-17 [att.net]. I made sure to tell them that all the way to Kabul on my final deployment.

        • I usually tied my head to the webbing with the desert scarf as a headband for supported lolling.
          C-17 rides are sweet. I just curled up on the floor or on the baggage pallet if I didn't get beaten to it.

          Fun C-141 anecdote:
          Just before landing in the Azores a receptacle on the wall opposite one of our troops shorted (probably due to being ancient) and shot the aluminum cannon plug dust cap straight across the cabin into the forehead of an aircraft electrician who was sound asleep. Just left a bruise but that w
      • by Big Jason ( 1556 )
        At least with jumpseats you get more leg room. It beats sitting in cattle class on Southworst.
  • 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 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.
      • "8-12 hour trip" "London-Sydney"

        Errm... try 20 hours minimum. The cheaper flights will be a bit longer due to out of the way stops or connecting flghts.

        My first flight (when I was 6 in 1980) was London to Port Moresby (slightly closer than Sydney) via Bahrain and Hong Kong avoiding USSR airspace - 36 hours.

        Done Australia/PNG to UK loads. The worst was having a holiday in South Africa and arriving back in Sydney to find I had to be in Sarasota, Florida in 4 days time (including the day and a half to ge
    • It's easy, always travel west. The earth is round.
    • by Anonymous Coward
      Flying from Tokyo to Germany, which I do on a regular basis, is a far worse situation. But even flying from the U.S. to Tokyo causes enough problems for me. I do it for business, and am on tight schedules, meaning that getting really, really sleepy in the middle of a meeting at 16:00 is a big problem. Not to mention waking up at 3:00AM and not being able to get back to sleep. It causes a lot of productivity problems.

      I've tried a lot of things to see how they work. Such as drinking a lot as soon as in f
      • Drinking a lot to sleep screws up how you sleep. Your body is still active to process the alcohol. Maybe set your watch to destination time before the trip to start getting used to it would help. And force yourself to stay up to 2300 destination time.

        When I flew from San Francisco to Australia, my sleep pattern was screwy so there was no jet lag at all. I go from SF to India in July and am going to try melatonin, the fasting and staying up to 2300 when I show.
      • by dbcad7 ( 771464 )
        Drinking alcohol is a contributor to jet lag, because of dehydration. I think one of the reasons people suffer less from jet lag these days, it that the airlines learned this and offer lots of water on long flights. I think the constantly recirculated air causes the dehydration.

        The rule of sleeping when traveling east and staying awake traveling west, as well as no alcohol or coffee (and I love my coffee) on the flight works for me. The only other major problems with such long flights is proximity to so ma

      • by zsau ( 266209 )
        Do you find the direction makes a difference? I flew from Melbourne to London last year, then back again. Melbourne to London was fine --- I went to bed a few hours early the first night (9.30 pm) and then then the second night on I was on my normal schedule i.e. bed at midnight, awake at eight. When I came home again, after about three days when I appeared fine I suddenly couldn't get to sleep until three or four in the morning and struggled to wake up on time. Lots of people reckon it's the same --- going
    • Try LA to Sydney or Bangkok then let us know how you feel. Like everything else, it gets worse the older you get, too.
    • I just got back from a 4 1/2 day trip from the east cost of the US to Beijing, which is exactly the opposite time zone. (i.e. 1pm EST is 1am in Beijing)

      I got about 15 hours of sleep the entire trip, most of which was on the plane on the way back (planes almost always put me to sleep) and one or two 2 hour naps each night when the physical exhaustion temporarily overcame the fact that my brain thought it was the middle of the day.

      I did not sleep at all on the plane ride there, and only first slept (a little)
    • 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?

      Yes, the group of people you do not travel with is significant.

      Many factors go into jet lag, including age, health, and sleep deficit. If you're unhealthy, or are already running up a sleep deficit, you're going to find it harder to adjust.

      The purpose of the trip also comes into play. If you're traveling for business, jet lag is like working on 2 hours sleep. If you're traveling for fun, jet lag isn't nearly as bad.

      This is for the relatively short time-differences between the two American coasts. Take a tr

    • The one time I traveled 8 timezones east, I spent most of a week feeling like a zombie (completely non-functional). It took about 3 weeks before it felt like I had fully adjusted. Traveling back west was, like you say, immensely easier. I was just an early riser for a few weeks. I should mention, however, that I initially only came back 5 of the 8 timezones, adjusted, and then went the other 3, so that's another reason it was easier.
    • 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?

      You don't mention your age but I'd make a small wager you're under thirty? I found that in my twenties and earlier, I was completely unfazed by jet lag as you describe; for most of my thirties, still fairly unaffected as long as I managed it carefully; but in the last few years (I've just reached the big four oh) I've found that despite careful management jet lag hits me harder than it used to. These days I find that the one day of adjustment per one hour TZ shift rule of thumb seems about right.

      A simila

  • Interesting (Score:2, Interesting)

    by krovisser ( 1056294 ) *
    What a coincidence, I'm "suffering" from jet lag right now. I just got back (to the US) from Europe 2 days ago and am having the worst jet lag ever. This is weird because it's usually when I'm going in the other direction I suffer the worst. Anyway, if I eat I tend to want to "nap" right afterwards and then I end up sleeping in the middle of the day for 8 hours. Not eating seems to keep me awake, with my stomach threatening to eat itself.
  • by ciaohound ( 118419 ) on Monday May 26, 2008 @08:24AM (#23543387)

    ... delivered in the shell of a virus.

    Surely that's a "treatment protocol" that airline food could handle...
  • by snsh ( 968808 ) on Monday May 26, 2008 @08:28AM (#23543403)
    I went to this 'Vipassana' meditation camp a couple years ago. It's a program where you go to this silent retreat for 10 days and just sit all day and meditate. One of the things that freaks first-timers out is that they feed you breakfast and lunch, but no dinner. You don't eat at all after 12 noon.

    Sure, you're sitting all day and not expending much energy. But one thing you discover is how much better you sleep on an empty stomach.
    • 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.
    • Oh man!, some grand parent posters were complaining about the mice torturing, look at the way they are torturing this people! It's inhuman.
    • Re: (Score:3, Interesting)

      by karmatic ( 776420 )
      Sure, you're sitting all day and not expending much energy. But one thing you discover is how much better you sleep on an empty stomach.

      One man's meditation camp is another man's torture. I eat 4000-6000 calories per day, and cannot sleep while hungry. I'll typically have a nice large meal (a bunch of pasta, some veggies, fruit, some protein) around 2AM, and fall right asleep. If I don't eat, I can't sleep.

      And no, I'm not overweight - my BMI (or whatever the insurance companies use) is so low that I've b
  • by poeidon1 ( 767457 ) on Monday May 26, 2008 @08:38AM (#23543459) Homepage
    Travel in Ryanair and we take care of your jetlag (by not feeding you)
  • The best way I've found to avoid jet lag is to force myself to sleep at what would be the appropriate time for the time zone I'm going to - usually Asia or back home to Toronto.

    6mg of Melatonin and a couple of beers in the airport bar are usually enough, but it doesn't hurt to have some soft music (I use "Music for the Mozart effect") and dark glasses (which don't look anywhere near as looserish as a sleep mask) to help with the process. If I do it right, I end up waking up at 7:00-8:00AM Hong Kong time at
    • by maxume ( 22995 )
      The stewardesses turn on the loser light for dark glasses just like they do for sleep masks, they know, either way, that you can't see it.
    • Roll up a joint if you have to sleep.
      Snort some shit if you have to stay awake.

      Life is Simple.
  • Flying from London to Tokyo takes 12 hours. Set off 1pm, arrive 9am the next day (local times).

    By far the best thing is if you can sleep on the plane. Even if you can't sleep but only manage to keep your eyes shut and rest, it really helps. If possible, try to stay up all night a couple of days before and then sleep all day. If you can't do that, staying up all night the day before often isn't such a good idea, because sleeping on the plane is hard (uncomfortable, noisy) so you can end up being awake for 48
  • I did a 2 week trip to China last year, the return flight's around 12 hours. I essentially ate when they came around with food, slept a whole lot, and found on my return that I was pretty much back to EDT. I went out for beer & pizza, went to bed at my usual time, and woke up the next day at a normal hour, and just got back into my normal routine right away. Same thing heading over, except the flight was split into 2 legs so took longer.
  • Old news (Score:5, Interesting)

    by Anonymous Coward on Monday May 26, 2008 @09:16AM (#23543721)
    ...this was the recommended method back in 1980 when I traveled the Atlantic on a monthly basis.

    1. Eat a regular meal (usually lunch or supper)
    2. Fly and fast
    3. Eat a meal at the next regular meal time. (Usually 10 to 12 hours later).
    4. One day later in the new time zone (GMT+1), all is reset.

    Worked like a charm and was based on research available at the time so I don't see what is so new about the advice.
    • by zsau ( 266209 )
      Try a flight like Europe - Australia doing that --- not eating for ten to twelve hours is one thing. You do it every night! Not eating for twenty-four or more hours is killer.
  • Well, at the moment I'm on a completely nocturnal sleep schedule, however in the near future this needs to change. So I shall plan to test this within a few days! However, the wording of the article is not entirely clear. If I understand it correctly, I should not eat during my normal functional hours while staying awake until the appropriate time, and my body should adjust to a more normal schedule, correct? Ah, well, guess I'll find out. Sounds a bit unlikely though.
  • Of course, jet lag is much less of an issue WHEN YOU'RE STARVING!

    Oh well, so long as I can drink all I want....
  • If anyone wants to investigate whether there is a similar link between sex starvation and jet lag, I could suggest a couple of married friends who'd be ideal candidates for the study.

  • I fly from the States to Korea fairly often and this works each time i do it. There are 14 hours differences from States to Korea. It seems to work on both ways i fly.
    1. Before you fly: get less than usual amount of sleep. Eat normally, go to gym live normal.
    2. During the flight: Take a short nap as if you would do on the day you had little sleep. and get busy doing what you do: work, read, eat whatever.
    3. After the flight: Don't get to bed until it is your usual bed time no matter how tired you are. Eat
  • I am willing to be a volunteer. I have jet lag every Monday morning.

    During the week I go to sleep at around 01:00 and wake up at around 07:30. During the weekend this is around 04:00 and 11:30. I am sure many people have such a "jet lag".
  • by eniveld ( 1296009 ) on Monday May 26, 2008 @10:32AM (#23544349)
    Judging from the replies, I think a lot of people are missing what they're saying in the referenced study: You start fast way *before* you get on the plane. Anyway, the reasoning behind why this works, is that your body thinks: "Hey, there's no food around. I better wake up Mr. Brain there to go find something to eat. And while you're at it, if you have to start hunting saber tooth tigers at night rather than day, then I'll reset your body clock so you sleep and wake at a different time."
  • A period of fasting with no food at all for about 16 hours

    Thank goodness we don't need to forgo the DRINKS (they help get over time zones too, you know).

  • by yelvington ( 8169 ) on Monday May 26, 2008 @10:45AM (#23544501) Homepage
    Apparently in haste to make jokes about bad airplane food, most have missed the point that the article refers to fasting BEFORE the flight. The Reuters headline writer also missed that fact.

    The idea is to start pushing your food cycle toward the target before you fly so your body is more receptive to the time change.

    In fact, if you're taking the typical ATL-ICN-HKG route some airplane dining is going to be pretty important. You'll arrive in Hong Kong around 10 p.m. Your elapsed clock time including layover will be nearly 24 hours, and if you manage your eating and sleeping during that time you'll actually be in pretty good shape the morning after your arrival. (Hint: Sleep as much as possible between ATL and mid-Pacific, and only after that should you turn on the entertainment system.)

    Another study suggests [bbc.co.uk] that Viagra might help with jet lag, but it might create unrelated issues that you might have trouble explaining.
    • Another study suggests [bbc.co.uk] that Viagra might help with jet lag, but it might create unrelated issues that you might have trouble explaining.

      And if you had even bothered to read your own article, you'd know that it works even in low doses, small enough not to cause any "unrelated issues."
    • by TheWizardOfCheese ( 256968 ) on Monday May 26, 2008 @04:15PM (#23547913)
      Exactly. The procedure suggested by the researchers is:

      1. Start with the day you will arrive in your final time zone.
      2. Count back 16 hours from your normal breakfast time on that day, and stop eating from that point.
      3. At your normal breakfast time on the final day, eat a substantial, nutritious, meal

      Note that this means you may have to eat your breakfast on a plane or in an airport, and it may not be your normal breakfast time in the local timezone when you eat breakfast. You are supposed to eat substantial real food, not coffee and a pastry, so you may have to expend some effort and foresight to ensure that such food is available when you are supposed to eat it.
  • before the flight have always worked for me.
  • 16 hours before the flight? 16 hours before you land? When do you start eating again?
  • ...fasting cures fattiness.
  • I'd rather be jet lagged, than feeling starved.
  • Melatonin? (Score:3, Interesting)

    by vorpal22 ( 114901 ) on Monday May 26, 2008 @04:03PM (#23547817) Homepage Journal
    Heading east from Hawaii to go back home to Toronto (+6), I just took 6 mg of melatonin at 6 PM HT / 12 AM EDT when I got on the the flight. By 7 PM HT / 1 AM EDT, I was sound asleep, and I woke up around 2 AM HT / 8 AM EDT, fully back on my regular Toronto routine with no detriments.

    I don't know if this would work well with more dramatic time shifts, like Asia - North America, but melatonin in general has been a sanity saver for me. There are days where I take a four hour nap and fear that I'll never sleep at night. Pop a melatonin an hour before I want to go to bed, and I sleep a completely normal night's sleep.

    No uncomfortable fasting required.
  • I doubt it is just me, but after a long plane journey, the last thing I would want to do is to ignore my bodily functions and starve myself! Being cramped in a plane for 7+ hours, I would want to relax and do what I want, i'm on holiday. Or vice versa, I am now home after my holiday, and I am not going to greet myself back with a starving stomach. I mean, yes, it may be a discovery. Now we know, but is it really useful? In my opinion: No
  • I've been (indirectly) involved with transporting super yachts. Generally there's not much sleep to be had while shortstaffing a 50 metre yacht across an ocean. The crew eat to stay awake. I'm not sure the theory behind it, but apparently it works.
  • On the other hand... (Score:2, Interesting)

    by AmigaMMC ( 1103025 )
    Another way of fighting jetlag is to fly a lot. It's been years since I suffered jetlag, I just got back from Japan, didn't feel it either way, I go to Europe a lot and I went to college in Hawaii and would fly to Italy for holidays. Oh yeah, I eat a lot so maybe that's it! Airlines need to start feeding people more and more often on their flights.
  • Many people may not realize that Fasting actually mean limiting diet to 1 or 2 things.... ie water and cooked brown rice. Somewhere along the line somebelly did not know this and impoverished the language (thank you Terrance;!) to infer eating NOTHING aka "starvation." This is NOT the same thing - and can be dangerous!
  • This looks like it might be related to research (PDF) [antijetlagdiet.com] done a few years back by the Argonne National Laboratory on diet and jet lag. There's a summary of their diet here [netlib.org]. It's more complex than just fasting. I've used it travelling to Israel, Russia and Burma, and it's worked well for me.

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