A new study shows that skipping meals ahead of a long-haul flight may trick the body into adjusting to new time zones.
You body clock
Your body's natural circadian clock, located in the brain, decides when you wake, eat and sleep and these decisions are all made in response to light. But take away one of the catalysts, food, and a second clock kicks in. Researchers at the Harvard Medical School in Boston, say this may be the key to helping travellers adjust to new time zones and get over jetlag.
Preparing for take-off
So what do you need to do to kick-start your new body clock? "A period of fasting with no food for about 16 hours is enough to engage this new clock," lead researcher of the study, Dr Clifford Saper, says. It sounds like a long time without a meal, but Dr Saper adds that for most long-haul flights your body must make a lengthy time adjustment. This usually happens after you arrive at your destination.
"Because the body's clock can only shift a small amount each day, it takes the average person about a week to adjust to a new time zone," Dr Saper says. If you're on holiday, this is usually around the time you're getting ready to return home.
Think of it as a kind of insurance policy a few hours without food before a flight can make for a jetlag-free holiday. You'll step off the plane feeling on top of the world.
The basic premise being that when food is scarce, the body's second clock can override the first clock it's been proven to work in animals, and researchers say that there is no reason it can't also work for humans.