Beat jet lag by delaying meal times

05 June 2017

Delaying meal times could be the key to beating jet lag.

Delaying meal times could be the key to beating jet lag, new research suggests.

Whether you’re travelling for business or pleasure, being struck down with jet lag can impact your time abroad and also make it hard to get back to normal once you arrive home.

But while you continue to fight the urge to sleep, scientists from the University of Surrey have discovered that getting over jet lag can be as easy as changing when you eat.

The team recruited 10 volunteers for the study to see how changing meal times altered the body clock, known as the circadian rhythms.

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The group was analysed eating breakfast, lunch and dinner, with the meal times changing throughout the study.

For the first stage, participants were given breakfast 30 minutes after waking, with lunch and dinner gave after five-hour intervals.

During the second stage, breakfast was pushed back to five hours after waking up. Again lunch and dinner were provided at five-hour intervals.

Blood and fat samples were taken after each stage so researchers could measure internal circadian rhythms.

It was found that by postponing meals, blood sugar rhythms were also delayed. The researchers say that controlling blood sugar levels helps synchronise our body clock. They also point out that this could be useful for people who do shift work.

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“It has been shown that regular jet lag and shift work have adverse effects on the body, including metabolic disturbances,” said lead author Dr Jonathan Johnston.

“Altering meal times can reset the body clocks regulating sugar metabolism in a drug-free way. This will help us design feeding regimes to reduce the risk of developing health problems such as obesity and cardiovascular disease in people with disturbed circadian rhythms.”

Results have been published in journal Current.

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