The Loh Down On Science

Starving Jet Lag

How hunger heals jet lag.

Jet lag got you draggin'?

This is Sandra Tsing Loh with the Loh Down on Science

and with a new solution to jet lag. Hunger!

Apparently, mammals have TWO biological clocks.

The CIRCADIAN clock regulates sleeping and eating based on daylight. But in really hungry times a second clock kicks in.

Clifford Saper of Harvard Medical School tested mice lacking the gene B-M-A-L-1, which controls the body's clock.

First BMAL 1 was introduced to a part of the brain called the SUPERCHIASMATIC NUCLEUS. Mice adjusted their sleep to a daylight-based schedule.

Then the gene was introduced to another part of the brain called DORSOMEDIAL NUCLEUS. NOW mice adjusted ONLY to a schedule based on hunger.

When food is scarce, the hunger clock overrides the circadian one.

Result of these brainy manipulations? A possible new way to prevent jet lag.

Saper suggests long-distance travelers starve themselves for sixteen hours prior to landing.

To reset your clocks? Pig out immediately upon arrival.

It's yet another excellent reason to avoid airline meals. And save a few hundred dollars in the process! That second tiny carry on, though. That's worth the money.


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