Don't Let Jet Lag Disrupt Your Vacation

Florence Cardinal Health Guide
  • Vacation season is upon us with all the excitement of

    trips to exotic places-- or maybe just across the continent.

    Unfortunately, along with the fun and pleasure of long trips,

    comes the scourge of jet lag.


    Jet lag disrupts sleep patterns and causes temporary insomnia.

    It raises havoc with the digestive system, even to the point of

    nausea. In fact, jet lag can disrupt the body's natural rhythm.

    The sufferer may feel everything from a minor malaise to full-

    blown illness that resembles a severe case of the flu. Whether

    you suffer from only a mild occurrence, or if jet lag hits you

    full force, it can certainly take the joy out of your vacation.

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    Professional athletes are especially vulnerable to jet lag.

    They're often called upon to travel across the country or half

    way around the world to compete and the travel and jet lag tend

    to interfere with the way they perform. This factor may be

    detrimental to teams playing in major sporting events


    People are continually trying various means to combat the after

    effects of long flights, from trying to prepare before the trip

    to medication to bright light therapy on arrival. Sometimes some

    of these things work. Sometimes they don't.


    Wear sunglasses inside and out during the early days of the

    trip. Some experts believe that shutting out early morning light

    helps to reset the circadian clock, the opposite of the bright

    light theory that advocates staying out in the sunlight or under

    the brightest artificial lighting.


    Many people have tried melatonin to combat the miseries of jet

    lag. For some people it works. For others, it does nothing, and

    for a few people, it even made the situation worse, causing

    weird dreams and troubled sleep once the sufferer did manage to

    drop off.


    Help for the jet lagged may be on its way in the form of a food

    supplement called e-NAD-alert. E-NAD-alert is a form of the co-

    enzyme NADH which has long been touted as an energy builder.


    Now researchers believe that they can change the timing of the

    circadian rhythm by the use of food. Senior author of the

    report, Dr Clifford Saper, is Chairman of the Department of

    Neurology at Beth Israel Deaconess Medical Center (BIDMC), in

    Harvard Medical School, Boston.


    Dr. Saper tells us, "We discovered that a single cycle of

    starvation followed by refeeding turns on the clock, so that it

    effectively overrides the suprachiasmatic nucleus and hijacks

    all of the circadian rhythms onto a new time zone that

    corresponds with food availability."


    The system works well when food is plentiful. Animals' body

    clocks or circadian rhythm follows the daily cycle of light and

    dark. But when food availability is disrupted, for instance if

    it becomes available only during their normal sleep period,

    animals are able to shift their circadian rhythm to a new

    pattern so as to be awake (and presumably alert) when food is



    Dr. Saper continues: "A period of fasting with no food at all

  • for about 16 hours is enough to engage this new clock. So, in

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    this case, simply avoiding any food on the plane, and then

    eating as soon as you land, should help you to adjust - and

    avoid some of the uncomfortable feelings of jet lag."  







Published On: June 02, 2008