30 July 2011

Protein: the secret behind jet lag

Have you recently crossed time zones? Remember that foggy feeling called jet lag? Now scientists have discovered it really is all in your mind.

Taking a business trip? If you cross time zones you’ll probably be familiar with that foggy, befuddled feeling known as jet lag. Some people who watch rats very closely have a new theory on what causes it, as well as working on ways to combat it.

This may be how some people are instinctively able to predict time accurately – returning to the microwave oven seconds before it goes “bing!” to announce that their potato’s baked. Or perhaps they’re just really hungry.

  • Try to have a workout before the flight. You’re more likely to sleep if you’re physically and mentally tired.
  • Speak to a doctor: ask about a natural remedies. They could help you sleep without sedating you.
  • As soon as you board your flight, set your watch to your destination’s time.
  • Relax. Fretting about how tired you’ll be if you don’t sleep, will only keep you awake. Remind yourself of the new “corpse” facility on the new Airbus A340-500. If all else fails, you’d have a modified coffin to yourself.
  • Avoid the temptation to sleep during the day at your destination. Try to spend some time in daylight instead.
  • Give your brain a chance. If you’re flying west, you’re more likely to be functional in the mornings at your destination. If you fly east, the evenings are when you’ll be most awake. Try to schedule meetings accordingly.
  • Some sleep gurus suggest that if you travel westward you should try to get at least one hour's worth of morning sunlight when you reach your destination. Writing for the journal of the National Sleep Foundation in Washington, Joan Rachel Goldberg suggests: “Before you travel, try waking and going to sleep an hour later for each time zone you'll cross. This would mean that instead of sleeping from 11 p.m. to 7 a.m., you would sleep from midnight to 8 a.m., then 1 a.m. to 9 a.m. and - on the third night - from 2 a.m. to 10 a.m. - not always easy to do. If you're traveling east, try doing the opposite.”
  • Stay hydrated. Too much alcohol will dry you out. Trying to drink yourself to sleep on the plane won’t be at all beneficial.


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