Beat Jet Lag

By Nicole Duncan

Even the savviest travelers can’t escape feeling the effects of time-zone hopping. But new research from Harvard University suggests fasting before flying to a far-off land may help you avoid jet lag altogether. How? Your body knows when to eat, sleep, and wake up in response to your circadian rhythm, an internal body clock that gets its cues from daylight. When you skip meals, a second internal clock that’s food-driven kicks in as soon as you eat again—and temporarily takes over for your confused circadian clock. The scientists found that it takes 12 to 16 hours of fasting to spark this reaction, which then prompts your circadian clock to get back on track. “Your body has the ability to override and reset your primary clock to a new time zone simply by faking it out with food,” says Clifford Saper, MD, PhD, the lead researcher.