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Beat Jet Lag (Military Style)

Now that international flights are beginning to resume, more and more of us will find ourselves crossing time zones. And that means the return of the dreaded jet lag. But don't fear - there is a possible solution!

In the 1980s Dr Charles Ehret, an expert in circadian rhythms and researcher at the Argonne National Laboratory near Chicago, created a method of combatting jet lag that is now widely used by the US military. Dr Ehret discovered that it was possible to reset your internal clock faster if you used alternate fasting for three days before flying.

The method is called The Argonne Diet and here’s the simple regime:

Day One – A Fast Day

Restrict yourself to 800 calories.

Day Two – A Feast Day

Eat a high-protein breakfast, an above-average size lunch and then an early dinner. Do not drink caffeine after 5pm.

Day Three (the day before your flight) - A Fast Day

Restrict yourself to 800 calories.

Flight Day

Do not break your fast until it is breakfast time in your destination, e.g. if you are travelling to New York from London, you would break your fast at 1pm UK time (which would be 8am - i.e. breakfast - in New York).


In 2002, the US military tested the Argonne diet out. (REF). 186 soldiers were travelling to South Korea for duty. They split them into two groups – half did the Argonne diet, the others did not and ate as they normally would. Results showed that those who followed the Argonne diet were 7.5 times less likely to experience serious jet lag, when compared to those who ate normally.


Luckily, there is a condensed version which was developed at Boston’s Beth Israel Deaconess Medical Centre. It involves only a short fast on the day that you fly. It works because, like light and dark, the time that you eat has a powerful effect on your body clock.

During the fast, make sure you drink plenty of water and herbal tea. You must avoid caffeine and alcohol.

NB: This article is for information purposes, and does not constitute medical advice. If you are experiencing difficulty sleeping, or have symptoms which prevent you from sleeping well, you should contact your medical practitioner.


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