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Fasting to help attenuate jet lag

Published on October 21, 2014 at 14:41 / Updated on April 17, 2019 at 13:00

Most of us love to travel, but we love jet lag a lot less. Are you looking for tips that will help you adapt to a new continent a little faster? If so, you should find the following lines quite interesting. A new study in fact suggests that by fasting and subsequently adjusting meal-times to those of their specific destination, travellers should be able to prevent the effects of jet lag.

We know that our sleep cycles, our behaviour and our metabolism are all governed by a powerful internal clock located in our brain, and that this circadian clock is highly sensitive to daylight. For several years now, scientists have believed that a second clock they call the “feeding clock”, is very sensitive to our eating schedules. This hypothesis is based on observational studies conducted on animals. Furthermore, researchers believe that all mammals, including humans, are equipped with this particular clock. As they were studying mice, the researchers discovered that the feeding clock actually overrode the circadian clock when the animals were unable to find food. Consequently, the mice remained awake until they were able to feed again.

According to these researchers, travellers could therefore recuperate from jet lag faster by not eating for sixteen hours, which would enable their biological clock to adjust to the new time zone. For example, people travelling to Europe overnight should not eat before or during their flight. Upon arrival to the Old Continent the next morning, they should eat a nutritious meal to help their internal biological clock adjust to the new time zone. Not only is this strategy entirely free, it is also quite safe and could help attenuate the effects of jet lag. So why not give this experiment a try the next time you travel!

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