Starving yourself: a way to prevent jet lag?

Airplane food is pretty bad anyway, but next time it’s offered on a long flight, you’ll have another reason to say no—researchers are suggesting that hunger could help long-distance travelers stave off jet lag, Reuters reports.

Body functions are controlled by circadian rhythm, a natural clock that tells us when to fall asleep and when to wake up. When animals are hungry, though, it seems they’re able to override it in order to find food. Starving yourself on a flight might have the same effect, according to U.S. researchers, whose work appears in the journal Science.

“A period of fasting with no food at all for about 16 hours is enough to engage this new clock,” Dr. Clifford Saper of Harvard Medical School told the news service. He notes that when an American traveller visits Japan, it takes about a week to adjust to the 11-hour difference. “By then,” he says, “it’s often time to come home.”

Dr. Saper and his fellow researchers looked at mice in this study—and while it’s not yet been tried on humans, he says he’s “certainly” going to avoid food on his next long flight to Japan.




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