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May 23, 2008 6:41 PM   Subscribe

Fasting may be the remedy for jet lag. By overiding your clock (audio interview 12 min) that prepares your body to eat, it is likely that you can reset your body's clock. Might this be the missing step in training yourself to be an early riser? via
posted by bigmusic (22 comments total) 31 users marked this as a favorite
Cool! Can't wait to test this out.
posted by filmgeek at 9:56 PM on May 23, 2008

This is so timely. I'm switching from a 5pm-Midnight shift to an 8am - 4pm shift on Tuesday and I have no idea how I'm going to cope.

Thanks for this!
posted by mewithoutyou at 11:05 PM on May 23, 2008

I wonder if this is partly the reason that the Buddhist monk's vow not to eat after noon developed. Probably makes it a lot easier to get up at 4 am.
posted by dixie flatline at 11:51 PM on May 23, 2008 [1 favorite]

What if you're a bad pattern-sleeper AND an irregular eater? Pretty much screwed?
posted by rokusan at 11:59 PM on May 23, 2008

There might be something to this. I flew from Denver to London last September with a low-grade case of food poisoning, which meant I didn't have solid food until about 8 PM of the day I arrived, and I had no jet lag. (Either that did it, or passing in and out of a nauseated quasi-sleep during the overnight flight.)
posted by Mr. Bad Example at 3:08 AM on May 24, 2008

I used to travel frequently to Europe. You don't need to starve yourself to avoid jet lag, just go to bed and arise on local time (no nap that first day, even after flying overnight and not sleeping well on the plane, that day is a goner no matter what) and in the mornings eat a light high protein, low carb, low fat breakfast.
posted by caddis at 6:18 AM on May 24, 2008

Can someone encapsulate? I don't have time to sit through 10-20 minute podcasts, and I deduce from the first link that you have to eat right after rising early. The last link is just a lot of general advice. I'm not sure what I should be getting out of all this.
posted by crapmatic at 7:03 AM on May 24, 2008

crapmatic- I didn't listen to the podcast either but this is what I got out of the first link and another article linked to in the first one.

When an animal is in danger of starving, they have to adjust their schedule to be awake when food is available. Getting food after a period of starvation resets this "food clock", overriding the normal light/dark cycle, so the animal will continue to be awake to obtain the new food source at the time it is available, no matter whether is is night or day or whether the animal is usually active at that time.

In humans, 16 hours is the recommended period of starvation needed to reset the clock by consuming a meal.

However, the first link states this "has not been proven to work in humans"
posted by bobobox at 7:54 AM on May 24, 2008

I'd rather be tired.
posted by fullerine at 8:06 AM on May 24, 2008 [1 favorite]

This looks similar to the Argonne diet:

I've used this and, for me, it works extremely well.
posted by speug at 8:55 AM on May 24, 2008 [1 favorite]

My clock's been on the oppposite side of my room for years, and I follow about half the rest of that "early riser" advice... but I still tend to revert toward the nocturnal whenever I don't have to work.
posted by Foosnark at 11:08 AM on May 24, 2008

What the podcast recommends is fasting for 12-16 hours and then having breakfast (at the local time) when you arrive. They did emphasize that they havent tested this.
posted by Lanark at 12:41 PM on May 24, 2008

crapmatic -- i was looking for a brief clear explanation too, but i didn't find one. but i did listen to the whole podcast, and i think this is what it boils down to:

if you want to be awake at X o'clock: eat a nice healthy meal at that time, and don't eat before that time for 12-16 hours. this will change your rhythms so that the next day, it will be easier to get up at X o'clock again.

so for people who would like to use this to become an early riser, as opposed to people combating jet lag, there's a catch-22: you have to start it off by waking up at your desired time.

on review: Lanark already explained it :)
posted by zerolucid at 6:11 PM on May 24, 2008 [1 favorite]

Actually I think you want to do the fast _before_ the first time you try to get up at the desired time.
posted by dixie flatline at 7:48 PM on May 24, 2008

Reading it again, maybe that's what you said. The way you referenced doing things "before" the current time made it confusing.

In any case, yeah, you're eventually going to have to be awake at the time you want to be awake--how would you possibly avoid that?
posted by dixie flatline at 7:51 PM on May 24, 2008

What's described here is pretty much my normal travel mode, and it doesn't really work for me vis jet lag. I'm an irregular eater, though, even without the stress, activity, nerves or excitement of travel. I usually arrive wherever I am with an empty stomach, as I've not eaten lunch or dinner the night before or breakfast or lunch the actual day of travel. I'm usually just too busy packing/catching up/preparing the night before and the trip itself. I power through whatever fatigue I have until lunch or dinnertime arrives in the local time, then make my excuses and crash.

I am, however, incredibly sensitive to ambient light. My jet lag is worse when I've travelled between latitudes as well as longitudes, as the times of sunrise/sunset are so incredibly different. In July, the sun sets in California at roughly 9PM. In the UK, in July, the light stretches on until close to 11PM. Until I adjust or get a nap a few days into arriving someplace new, all the signals to sleep and wake from the ambient light make me a teensy bit zomboid.

Melatonin on the flight does wonders for me. Not the most restful sleep, but some is better than none at all...
posted by Grrlscout at 2:19 AM on May 25, 2008

I'd over-ride your clock. If I swung that way.
posted by snoktruix at 7:15 AM on May 25, 2008

It's always time for breakfast somewhere.
posted by skyper at 11:05 AM on May 25, 2008

Hmm. So, for the chronic case:
1. Put a bar fridge beside your bed.
2. Put breakfast in the bar fridge. Yoghurt and a banana, or cereal, or something similar that tastes OK cold.
3. Set the alarm for the desired time of waking.
4. Go to bed at least 8 hours prior to that time. Sleep.
5. Wake to nerve-jangling alarm. Immediately sit up, and eat.
6. Shower, dress, etc.
7. Repeat 2-6 daily, until the alarm is no longer necessary, and eventually, until the bedside food is no longer necessary (although breakfast is still required).

What would work even better, is food with a distinct smell (frying eggs and bacon?) but that's a bit harder to automate, and it's a bit of an ask for someone else to do it. Maybe the ideal is a slow cooker, in which stew of some sort is cooked, then left to cool, then reheated on an automatic timer. Whatever the solution, there needs to be no smell until wake-up time.
posted by aeschenkarnos at 6:31 PM on May 25, 2008

rokusan: What if you're a bad pattern-sleeper AND an irregular eater? Pretty much screwed?

I've never really suffered jet lag, and I attribute that to these very qualities.
posted by plant at 8:49 PM on May 25, 2008

What if you're a bad pattern-sleeper AND an irregular eater? Pretty much screwed?

I've never really suffered jet lag, and I attribute that to these very qualities.

Wow. Me too. I did not ever guess they were related, though.
posted by rokusan at 4:15 PM on June 1, 2008

Ok, I tried this out on an overnight flight across six time zones and it worked for me.

I didn't eat for sixteen hours then had breakfast at my destination (I did drink a bit of juice and water on the plane). I stayed awake all day then went to bed at an appropriate time for my new time zone and awoke at an appropriate time the next day. I felt totally adjusted. It was definitely worth a few hours of only slightly uncomfortable hunger.

I think I can verify that it worked because I DID NOT use this method of reseting my clock on the return trip home and I'm still jet lagged. Ugh.
posted by bobobox at 10:55 AM on June 9, 2008

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