Never before in the history of flights have flights been lengthier, and the funny thing is they keep getting longer and longer. Take, for instance, the latest Emirates’ flight, its flight from Dubai to Auckland consumes about an eye-popping 16.5 hours; making it the lengthiest available in the market.
Not just that, according to recent news Qantas intends to launch a new route between Perth and London, in the coming year. The flight is rumored to clock 17 hours long. As painful as long-haul flights can be, what stings is the jet lag.
This fear of the jet lag might come to an end for us pretty soon, though. The medical community is trying very hard to find a cure for jet lag. All thanks to a study published in Cell by a Salk Institute last year. If the lead author of the study, Dr. Ronald Evans; is to be believed, a protein called Rev-ErbA (pronounced ree-verb-AY) may hold the key.
Dr. Evans says that the protein might help in unlocking a regular, healthy circadian rhythm, regardless of when or where a person may be in the world.
Considering Your Biological Clock
It appears that this circadian rhythm is a physiological cycle that approximately matches to the length of the day. It not only regulates our sleeping time but also dictates when we feel hungry or when we feel most active. Evans also said that under normal circumstances we sleep when it is dark while we wake up and eat after the sun comes up.
The circadian rhythm also being involved with metabolism alongside sleep, eating is a key feature that it regulates. So, what all this talk ultimately boils down to this, that you can fight jet lag by consuming and burning calories at the right times and also by sleeping in the correct timings.
Un-prescribed Jet Lag Pills
A person’s circadian rhythm is not self-regulated, what controls it is Rev-ErbA. Conferringfrom Evans’s study, it can be concluded that the protein performs as a sort of master switch that synchronizes the turning “on” and “off” of genes that manipulate our circadian rhythms, counting those involved in our metabolism.
The first step towards gaining control over this master switch artificially involves understanding it first. Only then can we pinpoint how it operates to reap the benefits from it. Scientists believe that by controlling the amount of Rev-ErbA in the body and observing how much it fluctuates, we might have in our hands the cure for jet lag eventually.
The good news doesn’t just end there, this exact science may ultimately provide answers to people with chronic sleeping issues and other chronic conditions, on how to get rid of them. For we already know that each of these diseases can develop as a result of an upset circadian cycle.
Gaining Control over Your Body’s Master Switch
A pill that thwarts jet lag is still years from hitting the medicine shop shelves, yet the adequate amount of simple still precise strategies can empower you to take matters into your hands.
Admittedly, different methods work for different people. Frequent road runners try everything from taking a pill before take-off to doing yoga on arrival, to resorting to apps. However, the more we recognize the mechanisms that produce jet lag, the better equipped we will be to pick and choose our strategies.