This Is the Number One Science-Backed Thing You Can Do to Cure Jet Lag

Dacy Knight

Whether you travel regularly for business or you simply want to maximize your hard-earned hours on your next vacation, jet lag is an omnipresent offender you'll want to tackle head on. Every traveler has their own tricks and tips for avoiding jet lag when they fly, yet many of these strategies aren't reliable when put into action. While we give serious thought to when we should set our alarms and when we should force ourselves to snooze, a recent study shows that controlling your sleep patterns may not be the most effective way to overcome jet lag after all.

Researchers from the University of Surrey studied the behaviors of a group of individuals who fly more frequently than any of us—flight attendants. Various studies reveal the numerous physical and mental ailments cabin crews suffer from due to their constant travel—fatigue and jet lag of course making the list. The study sought to determine if the negative effects from flying could be counteracted by more conscious decision-making, not when choosing when to sleep, but when choosing when to eat. It turns out that regularly scheduled meal times that coordinate with the time zone you wish to adjust to are more effective in alleviating jet lag than just being mindful of your sleeping schedule.

When implementing this practice into your own life, University of Surrey psychologist and study author Cristina Ruscitto tells Inc., "If business travel is short (two to three days), keep your sleep schedules and eating times as close as possible to the home time zone." If your trip exceeds three days, try to adjust to the local eating schedule as soon as possible. Adopting these new meal times will help your circadian rhythms to adapt to the new time zone more quickly. So the next time you travel, focus less on when you need to get to sleep and instead get excited about your next meal.

Agree with these findings? Share your other tried-and-true tips to combat jet lag when you fly.

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