Fighting Jet Lag

Via Sean Bonner I found a method of fighting jet lag through fasting prior to your trip. Since I’m only in Japan for 10 days on my No Baggage Challenge for Charity, I thought it really important to be able to hit the ground running with minimal jet lag. The idea that Bonner proposed was that we could shift our circadian rhythms by putting our body on Japan time through fasting, then eating on at breakfast time in Japan while we were in transit.

Following Bonner’s model, we last ate 16 hours prior to our flight. Since our flight was at 11am Wednesday morning, we had dinner early on Tuesday night. Our flight left at 1am Thursday morning Japan time, so we would have to wait at least 6-7 hours on the flight prior to eating. While this meant passing up the meal served after takeoff, we’d brought some Cliff bars and snacks on with us so we could eat at breakfast time, regardless of being served food. After takeoff, we ended up sleeping for about 6 hours and were able to make it 22 hours without food before having a normal breakfast. We them ate again around lunch, which was still on the plane and with a regular food service.

So, how did it work? I’d say pretty great. We were able to be up until about 11:30pm Thursday night, then slept soundly until about 7am on Friday. Both Lori and I woke up around 5am Friday, thinking we’d way overslept our alarm. It was a pleasant surprise to still have hours to go. During the day on Friday we felt quite good, but were pretty tired by 9pm and called it an early night.

I’m pretty blown away by how well this fasting method worked to prevent jet lag. It’s not perfect, but its hard to imagine anything being perfect when changing 14 time zones. This is pretty great and I’d definitely recommend others trying it.

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