Beating Jet Lag

A jet lag cure has been out of reach for years but now the solution is supposed to have been found. I saw it on a TV documentary and after searching on the internet found an article claiming the same thing.

The solution is to fast for 16 hours before you are due to land (and don’t eat on the plane) then, upon arrival, eat a proper meal. This is supposed to re-set the body clock.

I discovered this in time for my trip to China. Did it work?

I think it did.

I say “I think” as there was some tiredness which would be expected aside from the jet lag.

First, what is jet lag? It is more than just feeling tired. A typical description from sportsci.org is,

“Symptoms include fatigue and general tiredness, inability to sleep at night, loss of concentration, loss of drive, headaches and general malaise. Jet-lag occurs when biological rhythms are disrupted as a result of rapid transitions across multiple time-zones.”

Yes it is more than tiredness and can last a while and be unpleasant.

For a Christian, fasting for 16 hours should be no big deal and for me seemed a small price to pay. Going to China, as they are 7 hours ahead of us, I effectively had to go to bed there earlier than my body was expecting. The advantage of this technique was that I adjusted and did not like awake for the first few nights before settling into the new rhythm.

On returning I was going to bed 7 hours later than my body was expecting. I could have tried to sleep as much as possible on the return flight, but having already slept during the night there and because this was a day-time flight I was just not ready to sleep then. So that 7 hour later bed time meant I felt a bit tired the next day but had none of the added symptoms such as the sickness and disorientation.

My verdict is that it works and I will do it in future. I think I beat the jet lag.

3 thoughts on “Beating Jet Lag

  1. Well, you got part of Dr. Charles F. Ehret’s program right, but the meal you eat upon arrival at your destination — if it is breakfast or lunch — should be high protein. And coffee can play a large role in “tricking” body clocks a head or back, depending up what time of day you drink the coffee.

    You might want to check out http://www.thecureforjetlag.com. Dr. Ehret and I updated his international best-seller recently. (No more Concorde!)

    Google Alerts sent me a link to your blog.

    Lynne

  2. Thanks Lynne.

    So, a full English breakfast on arrival should do it.

    Not only did I not eat on my flight to China but I also avoided coffee or tea and restricted myself to just water. I was on an Air France flight and was turning down some good wines, to the horror of my fellow passengers.

    Graham

  3. I went back and looked up the details Lynne, as I had not heard of Dr. Charles F. Ehret’s programme. His name did not sound familiar when you mentioned it.

    I based my experiment on the new research of Dr Patrick Fuller of Harvard University reported in the journal Science, and which was featured in a British TV programme. His advice is to fast for at least 16 hours before the first meal at the new destination time zone.

    A fuller summary of the advice can be found here http://www.louiseellis.com/blog/11908

    • Calculate the length of your flight and ensure you don’t eat for a minimum of 16 hours. Depending on the length of your flight, this will probably require you not to eat for a few hours in your departure Country.
    • Avoid eating food on the whole of the flight.
    • You can drink plenty of water
    • You MUST eat at the first regular meal time when you arrive (this is critical). This might even involve getting something to eat at the arrival airport to fit in with time zones.
    • You can actually sleep on the plane according to this study, but don’t over do this and bear in mind what time of day you are arriving in the destination Country.
    • When you arrive don’t go to sleep too early, but according to the study if you fast for a minimum of 16 hours the internal food clock will have activated and will have overridden the natural desire to sleep anyhow.

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