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Fasting to beat jet lag

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Melbourne, Australia
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Fasting to beat jet lag

In the forums I've read many people's theories about how to beat jet-lag. I'm very interested to hear specifically from anyone who has tried the fasting for 16 hours method. Do you think it worked or did fasting make no difference at all? The thought of not eating for such a long period is daunting (however we plan to drink lots of water and no alcohol) but if it helps reduce jet-lag we're prepared to give it a go. We're flying from Melbourne to Rome via London, arriving in Rome at 7pm.

New York City, New...
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1. Re: Fasting to beat jet lag

Different things work for different people. I've never heard of fasting for 16 hours and even if I had, I wouldn't do it because I'm not interested in being uncomfortable without food for so long in any situation, let alone just at the beginning of a holiday - but, that's just me.

I don't think you will find consensus as to what works because everyone's body is different - when I arrive jet lagged, I do everything in my power to stay awake until at least 10 p.m. and if I find a need a nap at say 4 p.m. when I just can't keep my eyes open, I always set the alarm clock for no more than one hour.

If the alarm hasn't been set, I've slept from 4 to 10 and then I can't get back to sleep and my schedule is messed up for a few days.

Have you googled this method to read up on it? That's what I would if I was thinking of doing something so dramatic. See if there is any evidence of it helping rather than a few individuals on a travel forum for whom it may have done something.

dallas, Tx
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2. Re: Fasting to beat jet lag

On vacations, but jet-lagged, fasting and no wine, in Italy !!??

NO ! thank you very much. To much suffering.


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3. Re: Fasting to beat jet lag

I'd rather have jet lag then be hungry and drink no wine.

New York City, New...
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4. Re: Fasting to beat jet lag

This is what I do,

1. Do not eat anything on the airplane. (just water)

2. Try not to go to sleep when you are tired only when it would be night time where you are.

3. Take Melatonin if you cannot fall asleep.

4. Wait five days - if all else fails jet lag will resolve with no ill effects.

London, United...
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5. Re: Fasting to beat jet lag

Fasting is too much suffering for me too. I do so much before the flight that I sleep most of the way. Drink sips of water on the flight.

Le Marche, Italy
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for Rome, Marche
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6. Re: Fasting to beat jet lag

If you've never traveled such a long distance before, I wouldn't assume you'll have jet lag. Some people do and some don't. Many people confuse normal tiredness with jet lag. If you're just tired, a good night's sleep will fix it; if you have jet lag, you'll be wide awake when you should be sleeping and falling asleep when you should be awake. I used to travel regularly between New York and China, and never had jet lag. Lately, I've had some minor problems traveling east, but I'm not sure it's jet lag. I wake up at 3 AM Italian time after visiting the US, but that's really almost bed time in the US, so it doesn't make any sense.

One thing that I think is valuable is to try, starting a week before your trip, to adjust your sleep and waking schedule a bit in the direction of the place where you're going. When going east, that would mean getting up and going to bed a few hours earlier than usual. When going west, it would mean getting up and going to bed later. Then, when you arrive at your destination, reverse it. If you went east, start going to bed and getting up a few hours later than you would at home, and if you went west, get up and go to bed a few hours earlier than you would at home. If you can switch two hours at both ends of the trip, you will have shaved four hours off the time lag.

When going west, try to stay awake on the flight, except for a nap. When going east, you should try to sleep as much as possible; no movies, and maybe not even any food service.

When you've traveled west, try to have your heaviest meal at lunch time; when you've traveled east, try to have a light lunch and a more substantial supper.

Above all, don't keep reminding yourself what time it is at home.

Chicago, Illinois
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7. Re: Fasting to beat jet lag

our usual method was to stay outside in the sun until dinner and then crash -- often we got a long good night's sleep and were ready to be on schedule

we haven't quite got that level of energy in our old age, so now we nap for about an hour to an hour and a half with alarm so we don't oversleep and then get out and stay up till fairly late

I have found that having ambien on hand helps because for me even when exhausted I sometimes have trouble making the adjustment and am wide awake at 2 am after a few hours of sleep. taking sleeping pills the first couple of nights helps get on track if this is a problem.

I try to stay well hydrated on the plane, but I am not going to fast whether it works or not.

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8. Re: Fasting to beat jet lag

I've never heard of fasting before to avoid jet lag.

On a long flight, eating a heavy meal while on the plane will upset some people's stomachs when combined with the adrenaline from excitement and it can keep people from falling asleep on the plane - which is essential on long flights to combat jet lag.

I always wake up early the day of a long flight... and practice that in the days before the flight too to get in the habit. That can make it easier to fall asleep on the plane.

When you arrive, stay awake and get lots of fresh air- no napping unless you have an alarm (you may sleep for hours and then your body clock will be messed up for days). Try to get a full 8 hours sleep and you'll be set and ready to go the next morning.

As others have said, not everyone gets jet lag so don't assume you will.

Just wake up early the day of your flight, eat before you fly, and get lots of fresh air when you arrive and stay up as late as you can. Those very general tips are pretty good for most.

Great Barrington...
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9. Re: Fasting to beat jet lag

I have a friend who is a flight attendant for a major international airline. She flies to Europe at least 3X a month. This is what she does:

1. Sleeps in her own comfortable bed until she has to go to the airport (at about 4 pm)

2. Sleeps for 1 hour on the flight over to Europe

3. When she get to Europe (usually between 8 a.m. and noon) she goes up to her room and sleeps until dinnertime.

4. When she gets up, she is right on local time.

Gold Coast...
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10. Re: Fasting to beat jet lag

Hi kitkat

Your flight(s) are going to be LONG .... you will definitely arrive exhausted if you are considering not eating for that length of time (I'm guessing you'll be flying approx 21-25 hours considering you are going via London?).

I fly to Europe fairly regularly and find that jet lag isn't so much of a problem upon arrival in Europe (maybe a little tired in the late afternoon for a day or two though never bad enough to slow me down) but when I return home, that's when it hits big time and can last for up to a week. Having said that everyone is affected differently and some are lucky enough not to have any issues with jet lag at all.

Airlines always serve too much food during longhaul flights so eating light and drinking plenty of water will definitely have you arriving feeling less sluggish.

I would suggest not sleeping in the 8-10 hours before you land in Rome. As you have an evening arrival you will be tired and ready to sleep by the time by have had something to eat and settled into your hotel. If you're able to have a good night's sleep you should be all set and raring to go the next day.