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Fasting May Fix Jet Lag

kdawson posted more than 5 years ago | from the lost-in-translation dept.

Biotech 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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131 comments

Another excuse for poor airline service ! (5, Insightful)

dargaud (518470) | more than 5 years ago | (#23543321)

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.

Re:Another excuse for poor airline service ! (1)

AnotherSteve (447030) | more than 5 years ago | (#23543447)

That was my very first thought on reading the article summary. Well played, sir.

Re:Another excuse for poor airline service ! (4, Funny)

ozmanjusri (601766) | more than 5 years ago | (#23544801)

I read it as "Fisting May Fix Jet Lag".

That would be about the only thing that could make the TSA a genuine public service.

Re:Another excuse for poor airline service ! (0, Flamebait)

ColdWetDog (752185) | more than 5 years ago | (#23545299)

I read it as "Fisting May Fix Jet Lag".

Let's just keep our nasty little perversions to ourselves, OK?

Re:Another excuse for poor airline service ! (1)

Ihmhi (1206036) | more than 5 years ago | (#23548319)

I guess you've never had to go through a strip search, then? S=

Re:Another excuse for poor airline service ! (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 5 years ago | (#23545989)

Too bad sex is not yet known to improve jetlag adaptation.

Re:Another excuse for poor airline service ! (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 5 years ago | (#23544153)

I'm pretty sure we're there already.

Everything old is new again (3, Informative)

homey of my owney (975234) | more than 5 years ago | (#23544223)

This isn't anything new. Argonne National Laboratories did research much like this, to engage the "alternate body" clock. It involves feasting and fasting, with special attention to the day prior to travel crucial to it working:
Anti-Jet-Lag Diet [anl.gov]

Poor mice (1, Funny)

futlib (1278238) | more than 5 years ago | (#23543325)

Highly paid researchers torture mice for a living. It's kind of sad.

Re:Poor mice (1)

nawcom (941663) | more than 5 years ago | (#23543451)

Highly paid researchers torture mice for a living. It's kind of sad.
which living multi-cellular organism that has genes linked to humans do you prefer? Until biotechnology reaches a point where humans can create our own living thing for the sole purpose of testing (which i assume you would disagree with also) there are really no other solution. i guess you have to decide between a hundred deaths of mice with a chance of saving a million human lives, or a million human deaths without a solution due to lack of testing. There are variables that can differ due to the situation, but it basically comes down to that concept.

I won't get into the hypocrisy of animal rights activists, who seem to feel that a cat's life is equivalent to a human's, yet a dung beetle's life is out of the question (since he/she is no fan of insects), for that would be another 5 paragraphs ;).

Re:Poor mice (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 5 years ago | (#23543525)

humans don't die because of a jet lag...

Re:Poor mice (3, Informative)

PC and Sony Fanboy (1248258) | more than 5 years ago | (#23543715)

Actually, yes they do.
Just like people die of smoking - the smoking doesn't kill them, but the effects of smoking do.

We could look at the dangerous effects of jet lag here... [mos.org]
And we can look at a bit of an unconfirmed urban legend here [kottke.org] (but also not disproven, I just can't find an original article)...

And we can see the long term effects of jetlag (Thanks to mice... Surprisingly... NOT) here [virginia.edu] ...

Re:Poor mice (1)

GNUALMAFUERTE (697061) | more than 5 years ago | (#23544291)

I Live with constant Jet Lag.

I Do travel a lot, but even if it's not traveling in a plane, I travel without leaving the room.

I haven't slept in a regular basis for the past 10 years, usually being awake for 2 or 3 days, and then sleeping 15 hours or so, sometimes a whole week, and then a full day of sleep.

And I'm healthy as a horse.

The body can handle more uptime than a day, you just have to get your mind used to it.

Re:Poor mice (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 5 years ago | (#23544523)

I think the reason mice are used for science is twofold ...

  1. They aren't humans, we don't need to worry so much if they die
  2. A single test can be done on multiple subjects, so that the results generalize to the entire population, not a specific mouse (or human)
So, although your experience is valid, it is very difficult to say that it will generalize to the entire population. In fact, it is fairly short sighted and stupid to assume so...

Re:Poor mice (1)

GNUALMAFUERTE (697061) | more than 5 years ago | (#23544609)

That's because I'm the Ãoebermensch, and you are mice.

Re:Poor mice (1)

Metasquares (555685) | more than 5 years ago | (#23543945)

Should computer simulations ever reach the point that we can model all of the biological effects of a treatment, they would provide a useful alternative to mice or other animals. Until then, we really have no choice. We can try things out on isolated tissue, but there's no substitute for in vivo studies.

By that point, the simulations may as well be living organisms themselves, but I won't go there...

Re:Poor mice (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 5 years ago | (#23547957)

By that point, the simulations may as well be living organisms themselves, but I won't go there...

Not to mention what happens if and when the virtual mice decide to eat the blue pill...

You don't REALLY care because ... (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 5 years ago | (#23543671)

you're just mad you work at mcdonalds... serving mice.

Re:You don't REALLY care because ... (3, Funny)

cp.tar (871488) | more than 5 years ago | (#23544035)

you're just mad you work at mcdonalds... serving mice.

Are you talking about the food or the customers?

Re:You don't REALLY care because ... (2, Funny)

node 3 (115640) | more than 5 years ago | (#23547735)

you're just mad you work at mcdonalds... serving mice.

Are you talking about the food or the customers?

Probably the management.

I hate discovering stuff before the papers... (1, Interesting)

Umuri (897961) | more than 5 years ago | (#23543333)

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 part x of the brain?

Just in college? (2, Interesting)

Anonymous Coward | more than 5 years ago | (#23543479)

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?

Re:Just in college? (1)

somersault (912633) | more than 5 years ago | (#23544377)

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:Just in college? (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 5 years ago | (#23545143)

For me the magic of breakfast is that it forces my stomach cycles to begin in the morning, rather than 11am-12nn. This means I do breakfast, lunch, dinner (without snacks in between) and then sleep. If I don't do breakfast, my stomach gets upset right about bed time, so I sleep late, so I wake up late ... rinse and repeat.

Re:I hate discovering stuff before the papers... (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 5 years ago | (#23548027)

What you "discovered" is not what the study is about. In fact, what you discovered is wrong.

Re:I hate discovering stuff before the papers... (2, Interesting)

fitten (521191) | more than 5 years ago | (#23548169)

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 my 'normal' time in the new place from just being so tired. You also do this by eating your meals according to the local clock, even if you aren't necessarily hungry, just eat a little to start tricking your body into the new time zone.

Using these tricks (and others) I can usually be integrated into my new time zone within 48 hours. It's worked going to Europe and to Australia. Once, I had a rough time in Moscow but that was because it was winter and the (lack of) sun in the sky in the mornings and afternoons meant I couldn't get used to the daylight schedule as easy.

I've got a better idea. (3, Insightful)

EWAdams (953502) | more than 5 years ago | (#23543349)


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.

Re:I've got a better idea. (4, Insightful)

allcar (1111567) | more than 5 years ago | (#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.

Re:I've got a better idea. (1)

forgotten_my_nick (802929) | more than 5 years ago | (#23544039)

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. :)

Re:I've got a better idea. (5, Insightful)

cheebie (459397) | more than 5 years ago | (#23544199)

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


I have yet to find a diet that makes my legs shorter.

Re:I've got a better idea. (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 5 years ago | (#23545441)

Really? Sharks have found a diet to make *your* legs shorter.

Re:I've got a better idea. (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 5 years ago | (#23546289)

Here it is : Legs. Your own. I promise, it will make them shorter.

Re:I've got a better idea. (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 5 years ago | (#23546767)

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


I have yet to find a diet that makes my legs shorter.
When you are sitting down, two-inch thinner butt translates to two inches of leg room.

Re:I've got a better idea. (4, Insightful)

jonwil (467024) | more than 5 years ago | (#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)

Re:I've got a better idea. (4, Insightful)

Free the Cowards (1280296) | more than 5 years ago | (#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:I've got a better idea. (3, Interesting)

Anonymous Coward | more than 5 years ago | (#23545073)

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.

Re:I've got a better idea. (1)

AdamHaun (43173) | more than 5 years ago | (#23545149)

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.

Amenities? (3, Insightful)

mgkimsal2 (200677) | more than 5 years ago | (#23545257)

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:I've got a better idea. (4, Interesting)

TheRedSeven (1234758) | more than 5 years ago | (#23545293)

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...

Re:I've got a better idea. (1)

Harmonious Botch (921977) | more than 5 years ago | (#23546591)

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? (0, Redundant)

mgkimsal2 (200677) | more than 5 years ago | (#23545559)

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' makes that much of a difference on a 3-5 ride in US domestic economy today. So why pay extra? Of course it's a race to the bottom because 'the bottom' is all that's on offer.

I flew RDU to SJC last month. I paid $230 (maybe a bit less) I had my choice of 'economy' tickets up to $600 or so (actually, I think a couple were close to $1000). Most were aounrd $200-$450. The only things that made much of a diff to me were schedules and price. On domestic routes, what other 'amenities' are there I should consider that would make me choose one carrier over another?

Re:I've got a better idea. (1)

juan2074 (312848) | more than 5 years ago | (#23547157)

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.

Re:I've got a better idea. (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 5 years ago | (#23544859)

It's called 1st class. If you like cheap flights, there's not much point in bitching about comfort.

Actually, first class is used to subsidize the cheaper seats. That is, the cost of a first class ticket is considerably more than the actual cost to the airline to provide slightly larger seats and slightly better service.

For airlines to charge based on actual cost they would need to charge a fixed cost plus a weight surcharge (with the weight calculated as body weight plus luggage weight).

Re:I've got a better idea. (1)

maxume (22995) | more than 5 years ago | (#23543379)

Then you would just complain about how it was too expensive to fly...

Re:I've got a better idea. (1, Redundant)

drsquare (530038) | more than 5 years ago | (#23543629)

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:I've got a better idea. (2, Interesting)

couchslug (175151) | more than 5 years ago | (#23544219)

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:I've got a better idea. (2, Interesting)

Dun Malg (230075) | more than 5 years ago | (#23544933)

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.

Re:I've got a better idea. (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 5 years ago | (#23546235)

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

They pay you and condition you to put up with that.

But... (-1, Flamebait)

Simon Brooke (45012) | more than 5 years ago | (#23543351)

But isn't fasting Un-American [wikipedia.org] !?

Re:But... (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 5 years ago | (#23543513)

Only if the food you're not eating is fast food!

Is jetlag a /significant/ issue or just annoying? (4, Insightful)

Peter Cooper (660482) | more than 5 years ago | (#23543365)

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?

Re:Is jetlag a /significant/ issue or just annoyin (3, Insightful)

spectrokid (660550) | more than 5 years ago | (#23543593)

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.

Re:Is jetlag a /significant/ issue or just annoyin (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 5 years ago | (#23543937)

It varies form person to person. I get bad jet lag for about a week whereas my wife hardly gets affected at all. Taking Melatonin helps; that's what airline pilots use.

Re:Is jetlag a /significant/ issue or just annoyin (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 5 years ago | (#23543675)

It's tougher for the old (60+) and the sick.

The people that SARS would have killed are the people that have major issues with jet lag.

Re:Is jetlag a /significant/ issue or just annoyin (5, Funny)

GNUALMAFUERTE (697061) | more than 5 years ago | (#23544315)

It's easy, always travel west. The earth is round.

Re:Is jetlag a /significant/ issue or just annoyin (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 5 years ago | (#23544391)

It's a significant issue that can require up to a week of recovery if the haul is long enough...

Re:Is jetlag a /significant/ issue or just annoyin (2, Interesting)

Anonymous Coward | more than 5 years ago | (#23544781)

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 flight service starts, and try to sleep 1 hour later. I also tried staying up the whole time, hoping that I could sleep well once I get to my destination. I also tried adjusting my watch to the destination time and sleep accordingly during the flight, I tried melatonin, I tried.. a hell of a lot of things, but none worked that well. (Actually, drinking a lot and then sleeping did the best, but still was far from perfect.) Fasting is a new one, I'll need to try it next. I always fly business class or first class, so I really can't blame the seats....

Re:Is jetlag a /significant/ issue or just annoyin (1)

chimpo13 (471212) | more than 5 years ago | (#23545195)

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.

Re:Is jetlag a /significant/ issue or just annoyin (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 5 years ago | (#23545069)

I experienced a fair amount of jet lag when I went to Tokyo from Colorado last year. IIRC, it was about an 11-hour flight.

Maybe it was just the difficulty of sleeping in economy seating, or the stress of getting through international flights and other public transportation, but I was quite tired by the time I secured my hostel stay. The next day was a bit rough too, but it was certainly feasible. I wouldn't want to do the whole thing on a biweekly basis, though.

The difficulties of jet lag grow exponentially, in my experience.

Re:Is jetlag a /significant/ issue or just annoyin (1)

bware (148533) | more than 5 years ago | (#23546531)

Try LA to Sydney or Bangkok then let us know how you feel. Like everything else, it gets worse the older you get, too.

Re:Is jetlag a /significant/ issue or just annoyin (1)

skiingyac (262641) | more than 5 years ago | (#23547337)

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) the night I got to Beijing.

There is no way I could both stay up that long AND not eat anything, unless I was a little mouse stuck in a cage with no food.

Re:Is jetlag a /significant/ issue or just annoyin (1)

node 3 (115640) | more than 5 years ago | (#23547965)

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 trip to Asia or Europe, with a sleep deficit, for business, with poor (but not horrible) health, and see if you still think jet lag is "just annoying".

Re:Is jetlag a /significant/ issue or just annoyin (1)

inalienable (670771) | more than 5 years ago | (#23548337)

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.

Interesting (2, Interesting)

krovisser (1056294) | more than 5 years ago | (#23543375)

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.

Better idea, and requires no fasting (3, Funny)

ciaohound (118419) | more than 5 years ago | (#23543387)

... delivered in the shell of a virus.

Surely that's a "treatment protocol" that airline food could handle...

Some people don't eat after 12 noon (3, Interesting)

snsh (968808) | more than 5 years ago | (#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.

Re:Some people don't eat after 12 noon (5, Insightful)

Anonymous Coward | more than 5 years ago | (#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.

Re:Some people don't eat after 12 noon (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 5 years ago | (#23544229)

absolutely, I agree. I have just about stopped eating in the evenings - drinking water/red bush tea to keep hydrated - perhaps piece of fruit and I sleep so much better. I just make sure I load up in the morning for Breafast and eat a late lunch (I eat around 2pm).

It also makes breakfast that much more enjoyable; because you are actually hungry.

I think people do get locked into habits, and don't eat much breakfast (too early, not enough time etc) and with families it is hard to 'not' have an evening meal together sometimes.

Still, it works for me. You just have to make sure you keep up your flkuids in the evening and give your mind something to do - most of us are really that hungry to HAVE to eat 3 meals a day, a lot of the time is that we THINK we do or boredom.

Re:Some people don't eat after 12 noon (1)

GNUALMAFUERTE (697061) | more than 5 years ago | (#23544337)

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:Some people don't eat after 12 noon (2, Interesting)

karmatic (776420) | more than 5 years ago | (#23544849)

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 been turned down repeatedly for insurance for being underweight. Nothing like being 6'10" and 175 pounds.

Next Ryan air Ad (4, Funny)

poeidon1 (767457) | more than 5 years ago | (#23543459)

Travel in Ryanair and we take care of your jetlag (by not feeding you)

Re:Next Ryan air Ad (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 5 years ago | (#23545097)

Except that Ryanair only fly within a couple of different timezones so jetlag is unlikely to affect their customers.

Melatonin, a couple of beers, iPod & shades (1)

mykepredko (40154) | more than 5 years ago | (#23543523)

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 which point most people are finally falling asleep.

It's not perfect, but it gives me at least a good start,

myke

Re:Melatonin, a couple of beers, iPod & shades (1)

maxume (22995) | more than 5 years ago | (#23543685)

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.

Re:Melatonin, a couple of beers, iPod & shades (1)

GNUALMAFUERTE (697061) | more than 5 years ago | (#23544269)

Roll up a joint if you have to sleep.
Snort some shit if you have to stay awake.

Life is Simple.

My experiences (0)

AmiMoJo (196126) | more than 5 years ago | (#23543567)

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 hours by the time you arrive.

In relation to the article, obviously if you are asleep on the plane you can't eat, so maybe that helps too.

Bottom line is there simply isn't any good way of doing it, unless you are lucky enough to fly first class...

Not for me (1)

Pope (17780) | more than 5 years ago | (#23543631)

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 (5, Interesting)

Anonymous Coward | more than 5 years ago | (#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.

This calls for an experiment! (1)

ShadowMarth (870657) | more than 5 years ago | (#23543789)

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.

Comparative Importance (1, Funny)

FurtiveGlancer (1274746) | more than 5 years ago | (#23543809)

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....

Re:Comparative Importance (3, Informative)

Oktober Sunset (838224) | more than 5 years ago | (#23544745)

If you are starving after 16 hours you have something wrong with you.

Re:Comparative Importance (2, Funny)

FurtiveGlancer (1274746) | more than 5 years ago | (#23545081)

Well, true enough, but the feebly attempted joke didn't have the same punch when I wrote REALLY HUNGRY.
*SIGH* All the "funny" moderators must be at a picnic.

Re:Comparative Importance (0)

dave562 (969951) | more than 5 years ago | (#23545759)

All the "funny" moderators must be at a picnic.

Yet the condescending assholes never seem to take a break.

People will never stand for that....!!! (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 5 years ago | (#23543837)


I mean, we put up with a lot but that is just an outrageous suggestion! This is obviously research sponsored by the petroleum jelly corporation and I for one have had neough of bending over so that some fat cat industry exec can shove...

[whisper.whisper]

oh, really... hang on...

[takes off glasses and cleans them] ... there was a slight smudge there. That's better. Let's just read that headline again... Ah, "fasting". That makes a lot more sense.

An alternative research proposal (1)

hyades1 (1149581) | more than 5 years ago | (#23543877)

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.

My own solution to getlags (1)

holywarrior21c (933929) | more than 5 years ago | (#23543983)


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, meet people, exercise as if you have been at the destination for awhile. Get up on time next day.

Do they need volonteers? (1)

houghi (78078) | more than 5 years ago | (#23544205)

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".

Re:Do they need volonteers? (1)

wanax (46819) | more than 5 years ago | (#23544343)

Actually, yes [harvard.edu] .. If you're around Boston.

Most people are missing the main point here (3, Interesting)

eniveld (1296009) | more than 5 years ago | (#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."

Fasting on the airplane (1)

codeButcher (223668) | more than 5 years ago | (#23544359)

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).

Fasting BEFORE the flight (4, Informative)

yelvington (8169) | more than 5 years ago | (#23544501)

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.

Re:Fasting BEFORE the flight (1)

f_raze13 (982309) | more than 5 years ago | (#23546479)

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."

Re:Fasting BEFORE the flight (3, Informative)

TheWizardOfCheese (256968) | more than 5 years ago | (#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.

I am quite sure... (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 5 years ago | (#23544857)

... that switching the "a" for an "i" in the treatment might help *some* Jet-Lag Syndroms, too.

Bloody Mary's (1)

pigiron (104729) | more than 5 years ago | (#23545103)

before the flight have always worked for me.

16 Hours before what? (1)

frenchgates (531731) | more than 5 years ago | (#23545173)

16 hours before the flight? 16 hours before you land? When do you start eating again?

Also.. (1)

Evildonald (983517) | more than 5 years ago | (#23545689)

...fasting cures fattiness.

Are they kidding? (1)

okmijnuhb (575581) | more than 5 years ago | (#23546629)

I'd rather be jet lagged, than feeling starved.

Melatonin? (2, Interesting)

vorpal22 (114901) | more than 5 years ago | (#23547817)

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.

Not my idea of a perfect holiday (1)

hardlyleet (1293492) | more than 5 years ago | (#23548079)

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
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