To take a break from the travelogue for a while (yes, I'm still working on some posts; yes, I'm back home), let's get back to something I mentioned in passing
The jet lag had me worried, a bit. This was going to be a fairly short trip, I did not want to waste any more of it than I had to on recuperatory bullshit, and all the talk of being useless for one day per zone freaked me right out. (And I knew I was susceptible, because I got the nasty lag going east to Ireland back in '04, and it really did leave me unable to do much but play Game Boy in bed for half a week.)
Anyway, initially what I kept finding
were the news reports from earlier this year about how maybe, possibly, fasting for 16 hours before landing could keep The Lag at bay. So I was going to try that, except I didn't really have a lot of hope for it, since all those stories turned out to be based on a single study that involved injecting DNA-modifying virii into the brains of mice. ("If you've got jet lag and you're a mouse, we can help.") But then I ran across this
Ignore for a minute the vibe of the site, which is somewhere between herbal supplement huckster and horoscope generator; the instructions are fairly simple once you strip away the explanatory text
, and they're actually backed by a history of human testing
(pdf link). And the whole shebang was developed by a dude at the Dep't of Energy's Argonne "Look At Our Fucking Death Ray
" National Laboratory, which, you can't beat that
heavily-irradiated pedigree. (Also it's apparently been used by the Chicago Symphony Orchestra, the Canadian National Swim Team, and Ronald Reagan. [?!])
The theory behind it is also kind of awesome: basically, in addition to your main bodily clock, you have a gastric clock pegged to local food availability, which seems to exist in order to forcibly override and reset the main circadian clock in extreme situations. The goal of the diet
is to deliberately trigger that override at a time of your choosing without suffering too much shock in the process. Very clever. In a nutshell, you do an alternating pattern of feast days and fast days, with breakfast on the final feast day triggering the reset.
Long story short, it fucking worked,
and I completely evaded the lag in both directions. Eastbound lag is supposed to be the worst kind, so I did the full version of the diet before the trip; on the backswing, I couldn't really be bothered to do it right (I was surrounded by delicious food), but the half-length version seems to have worked anyway.
Needless to say, pulling this off is a lot easier if you can actually sleep a little bit on the plane, and I think I can recommend this ridiculous-looking shit
in good conscience; it worked far better for me than it looks like it should have, and was totally worth the dough. Also, spending as much time as possible outdoors on the first day seems to be a good plan, as does obeying the rules about caffeine (only between 3 and 5 PM) and alcohol (don't do it; presumably this also goes for weed).