L'etat, c'est moi
Mere Complexities sells the consulting and development services of me, Paul Wilson.
A couple of months ago I had a one week one trip from Los Angeles, which promised to be a jet-lag nightmare: 5 days to adjust to the 8 hour difference and then fly home to suffer another 5 days. Luckily a couple of days before departure I caught a TV programme in which a theory on how to overcome jetlag was tried out on a couple of racing car engineers flying back from Atlanta to the UK: extrapolating from research on mice, the theory was that by fasting for 16 hours the body’s ‘feeding clock’ takes over from the main ’circadian’clock.
By not eating while travelling, then resuming normal meal times on arrival, we can adjust immediately to local time. The experiment worked on the show and the presenter, a world-travelling journalist, claimed that it had subsequently worked for her.
On the journeys to and from LA I fasted for around 16 hours, and it worked very well for me in both directions. I slept from 22:00 to 06:00 on the first night in LA, and then later and longer on subsequent nights. In contrasts my compadres Alan and Brian both suffered quite badly from jetlag throughout the week. Kevin McDonagh tried the fasting trick on his trip to San Francisco for Google IO with similarly excellent results.
In short, if you are willing to forego eating for a 16 hours, you can avoid days of jetlag. The main points are:-
- do not eat on the journey – the journalist presenting the BBC sleep programme claimed fasting on a 11 hour flight worked for her; I have only tried the whole 16 hour fast.
- drink as much water as you like. I also drank a very small amount of orange juice, coffee, and Gin and Tonic on my flights without disastrous results – your mileage may vary
- start eating at normal meal times when you arrive
Happy travelling, but don’t come complaining to me about your circadian rhythms: it’s all in your own hands.