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    How to Restart Your Sleep Cycle

    By Mark Schauss | June 3, 2008

    For many of us who travel a lot, especially across multiple time-zones, getting back in the swing of things, especially when it comes to sleep, is really difficult. But researchers at the Harvard Medical School may have an answer and it is fasting. Imagine instead of taking a week to reset your internal clock you can do it in one day. Lead researcher, Clifford Saper said “The neat thing about this second clock is that it can override the main clock … and you should just flip into that new time zone in one day.

    Here is how it works, just stop eating for 12-16 hours before you want to be awake and eat a good healthy meal. If you want to begin waking up at 3:00am, then you need to stop eating at 11:00am to 3:00pm the previous day. For those of us on the west coast who want to set ourselves for an early rise on the east coast, here is a simple way to get it done. So if you are going to Tokyo from say Colorado, just figure what time you would have breakfast on Tokyo time and fast for the 12-16 hours prior.

    Why does this work? Here is an excerpt from the May 22nd issue of the journal Science.

    “For a small mammal, finding food on a daily basis is a critical mission. Even a few days of starvation, a common threat in natural environments, may result in death,” the study said.

    “Hence, it is adaptive for animals to have a secondary “master clock” that can allow the animal to switch its behavioral patterns rapidly after a period of starvation to maximize the opportunity of finding food sources at the same time on following days.”

    The shift is a survival mechanism in small mammals that forces them to change their sleeping patterns, Fuller suggests. One starvation cycle is enough to override the traditional light-based circadian clock, the study suggests.

    “This new timepiece enables animals to switch their sleep and wake schedules in order to maximize their opportunity of finding food.”

    “A period of fasting with no food at all for about 16 hours is enough to engage this new clock,” says Saper.

    “So, in this case, simply avoiding any food on the plane, and then eating as soon as you land, should help you to adjust – and avoid some of the uncomfortable feelings of jet lag.”

    Now you know how to avoid jet lag and reset your internal circadian clock quickly.

    Topics: Health, Research, Life | No Comments »

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