A 12-hour time zone change without following Dr. Ehret's program guarantees TWELVE days of jet lag — one day for each time zone passed through! Awful. By the time you get ready to fly home, you are just beginning to feel better.
Last night I received an anxious email from a man about to fly from New York to Tokyo — turning day into night and night into day. (Get ready for whopping jet lag.) Jim gave me the following info about his flight:
Just bought and read your book. Traveling for 2 1/2 weeks from NY to Tokyo in August. The only nonstop flights out of JFK leave at 7PM, fly for 14.5 hrs & arrive at 10PMTokyo time the next day. We booked ours a few months ago. The book says we need to arrive during active phase, but that is not possible. We can't even follow the direction to try to sleep during the destination evening because that is when we will be traveling to the airport. Should we try the Henry Kissenger approach by staying up & sleeping later in the days prior to the flight? What else can we do? Help!
HELP is right! Jim is not on the ideal flight at all, but what can he do? He's got to punt now when using Dr. Ehret's anti-jet-lag program. Here's what I'd do:
Follow Step #2 exactly as described on page 91. You are now going to have a long time between lunch NYC time and breakfast Tokyo time. (If you are faint or simply must have a meal in the evening (on the plane?) eat a very low calorie, high protein meal which will give you some energy to stay awake–maybe two soft boiled eggs or a few pieces of meat you brought with you. Keep it under 200 calories. Stay awake!
When you arrive at your destination it will be time to go to bed. (You'll be tired!) Keep your eyes closed even if you are not sleeping. Not letting light into your brain settles you down.
When you allow yourself to get up at Tokyo destination time, have a HUGE breakfast–high protein, HUGE lunch, high protein.You are now in Step #3.
Jim's going to let me know how it goes. I know how it will go if he doesn't punt–severe jet lag that will make him want to stay in bed for days. .
Review of The Cure for Jet LagBy Joan Baum, Ph.D. The Cure for Jet LagBy Lynne Waller Scanlon and Charles F. Ehret, Ph.D. Back2Press Books, Rev. Ed.
Lynne Waller Scanlon, co-author of the best-selling and recently revised The Cure for Jet Lag, declares that her book is the only one on overcoming circadian dyschronism, or jet lag, that offers “scientifically proven information” about how destination and direction affect cure. She might well have added that the book is, arguably, the only one out there that presents a three-step program to reduce, if not prevent, jet-lag that also addresses subtle and crucial differences in applying the cure, and does so with clarifying simplicity, strategic repetition and well-placed anecdotes and humor.
The Cure for Jet Travel is a book to be used – before traveling, during a trip that requires schedule modification, and for a couple of days afterward. As Scanlon says, jet lag, “too rapid [long-distance] travel east/west or west/east from one time zone to another,” is the number-one air traveler’s complaint, causing “tremendous fatigue and mental confusion” that often result in loss of valuable time and of a sense of well being.
Although the book’s cover advertises its research cred – the cure is based on “The Amazing 3-Step Program Developed at Argonne National Laboratory and Used by Fortune 500 Executives and the U.S. Army Rapid Deployment Forces” – The Cure for Jet Lag is designed mainly for the general traveler, a category that includes all ages and professions (among them athletes, diplomats, concert performers, gamblers!). An unexpected perk is recognizing that a lot of the caloric lore here can serve even if you travel only from your living room to the kitchen. Learning how different foods and beverages can force body rhythms ahead or back could prove especially helpful to the elderly many of whose sleep/wake systems are already dysynchronous. , The Cure for Jet Lag goes back 25 years to studies undertaken for the Department of Energy by Dr. Charles F. Ehret (d. 2007), a pioneer in the then new field of chronobiology (how time affects living organisms). Like so many inquiries in the history of science and medicine, Ehret’s investigation grew out of military interests – in this case, training, readiness and deployment. Of course, a lot has changed since the original publication of Ehret’s work, called Overcoming Jet Lag. Enter Scanlon, an independent press publisher, best-selling author and literary blogger, who saw a more comprehensive theme and a larger audience. She rewrote Ehret’s book, making it broader, less technical and graphically attractive.
The title change, from “Overcoming Jet Lag” to “The Cure for Jet Lag,” reflects Scanlon’s reinforced confidence in the three-step program borne of years of application and confirming testimony. The new edition provides more examples of the program’s comprehensive strategy and more detailed explanation of how the program should be used, depending on whether travel is from east to west or west to east as a continuous event (or not), and on how many time zones are crossed (flying north-south or south-north does not produce jet lag). The new reformatted edition also includes more information on caffeinated drinks (managing coffee and tea intake is critical to the three-step plan).
Slim, neatly designed and conveniently interleaved with itinerary worksheets, the book may nonetheless seem a bit intimidating at first, requiring as it does close attention to pre-flight, in-flight and post-flight caloric intake in regard to the number of time zones. But look at the gain: on flights with up to 3-4 time zone changes, the 3-Step System promises zero jet lag, and on flights of up to 12 time zone changes, symptoms last 3 days but are dramatically reduced in severity.
And what if there are layovers, complex routings, delays, no matter how ideally you planned your flight? Re-customize the worksheets (if you’re going west to east, you’ll have to factor in more preparation and do it earlier than you would for travel east to west). And what if you just come across the book as you’re about to take off? Start the three-step program where you are.
Given the increased presence of credit-bearing travel programs in college curricula, The Cure for Jet Lag could not be more timely. Its interdisciplinary subject matter, alone, would recommend it to academics seeking to link the physical sciences, the social and behavior sciences and the humanities.
As for the plethora of so-called pharmaceutical aids to prevent jet lag (as opposed to motion sickness), there are none, though Viagra seems to have a small effect on hamsters going east!
It’s been about two years since I launched Back2Press Books with the revised and updated edition of my first international best-seller, The Cure for Jet Lag. What timing! The worse recession since The Great Depression hits the economy, airline travel plummets, and the average America citizen spends his vacation curled up in the fetal position in a dark closet.
Nonetheless, my little anti-jet-lag book chugged along, boosted by excellent reviews from some of the biggest and best online travel websites, including Matador Travel, and by travel writers, including Joe Sharkey, whose syndicated article appeared around the world in newspapers,and in the US in The New York Times.
My Amazon page has some excellent recommendations as well. (To the person who found the book not helpful for stopping jet lag once you have it, may I respectfully disagree. The book is quite explicit about picking up on Dr. Ehret’s Step #3 as soon as you can if you have already have jet lag. But, yes, ideally you should start the 3-Step Program before the flight if you can.) You just can’t please everyone!
I have had a problem with the old out-dated edition suddenly appearing in quantity on Amazon and other websites in what is described as “new” condition. I’ve contacted the original publisher, Berkley Books, and emailed and spoken to their legal counsel Alice Sheridan at Penguin Group USA over the past year without any success. I’m going to rachet up my efforts shortly and reach out for the president of Berkley Books. We’ll see how that goes! Book pirating is rampant these days and very difficult to prevent or stop. I believe Overcoming Jet Lag has fallen prey to pirates on the high seas of publishing. The new edition is a significant improvement over the old edition, and includes about 24 custom plans that take into account zig-zag flights, puddle jumping, long stays and short stays between flights. A much better book. Better layout. Easier to read. (Let’s hear it for bigger print!)
Again, thanks again for all of your support and kind words.
As the holiday season approaches, I hope you will keep my book in mind for colleagues, friends and family, and for your office’s grab bag or Secret Santa if you have one.
Warm wishes for the holidays . . . and happy travels.
. . . Scanlon’s The Cure For Jet Lag, which she updated in 2009, takes things even further by outlining a three-step program that promises to eliminate jet lag in one to four time zone changes, and vastly reduce its effects for greater time zone differences.
The program varies depending on where you are traveling and the duration of your stay, says Scanlon. It includes preparing for your trip four days before traveling, if possible, with a diet that alternates between “feasting like it’s Thanksgiving” (on the even days) and eating only about 500 to 600 calories (on the odd days, including the day of your flight). “It confuses your body, disrupting your system slightly but not enough to make you feel ill,” says Scanlon.
The program in her book outlines steps to take during the flight that include drinking coffee [or tea] at specific times. “It’s very important because these drinks have naturally occurring chemicals [that dramatically affect your body clock — pushing it a head or backward, depending upon what time of day to drink them,” she says. She advises passing on that Danish in your breakfast meal and opting to eat only the protein-rich foods like eggs instead. Sugary foods like pastries cause you to crash.
The book’s program continues after you reach your destination. “One of the smartest things you can do is get into the action going on. Do not nap. That’s the worse thing you can do,” says Scanlon. “Don’t wear sunglasses. You want daylight to hit your pineal glands to let you know it’s daytime, and time to get going.” (DiScala agrees on the need for sunlight, calling it “jet lag’s kryptonite.”)
Once you’ve landed, Scanlon says it’s important to make your meals follow a “protein, protein, carbohydrates” schedule. Eating protein-heavy foods for breakfast and lunch gives you sustained energy to be productive (and stay awake) during the day, while carbo-loading at dinnertime (think pasta with no meat) can help you sleep and get on the time zone of your destination country. “Why would you want to finish the day with steak?” she says. “That means four or five hours of sustained energy when you want to go to sleep.”
So does Scanlon always follow her own advice against jet lag when she travels? Yes, she says — particularly after learning the hard way what happens when she veers off course.
“A few years ago I was with a friend flying business class to the UK for some castle hopping, and I threw caution to the wind,” she says. “I had the champagne they were serving during the flight. I ate like it was my last meal on Earth. I didn’t follow the program. We arrived and rented a car. And 24 hours later, I was doing my share of the driving. Suddenly I said: ‘I can’t drive.’ I was so ill with jet lag, I didn’t want to see a castle. I wanted to crawl into the backseat and fall asleep.”
Since then, Scanlon takes all the necessary steps to beat jet lag.
Here we go again. Another drug company pulling out all the stops to reach into your pocket for your hard earned cash to get you to buy a $9 pill that you don't need.
Cephalon, a drug company in Pennsylvania, has come up with another "stay-awake" drug to add to your medicine cabinet. This new drug, called Nuvigil, is designed to help you fight the debilitating sleepiness that descends on you after about twenty-four hours in a new time zone.
Your Eyes are Wide Open, But Are You Really Wide Awake with Nuvigil?
Answer? No. In order to be fully awake and functioning at optimum levels in a new time zone, according to the late Charles F. Ehret, Ph.D., Senior Scientist at Argonne National Laboratory outside Chicago, your core body temperature would have to have returned to normal. That's the #1 test. And that's not going to happen by taking a pill each day while you are on your trip. You may be on your feet and walking around during daylight hours at your new destination thanks to the chemical effects of Nuvigil, but you are still suffering from serious mental and physical symptoms of jet lag that affect your entire body.
Jet lag IS a really good excuse for poor athletic performance.
Ask any basketball player, football player or soccer player who has changed time zones and been expected to perform at his or her best, and I’ll show you an athlete whose hand-eye coordination and psychomotor skills* have been severely compromised by circadian dyschronism — or jet lag.
Don’t believe me? Go outside at midnight or 3 AM and shoot a few baskets and see how accurate you are. (I rest my case!)
Now try again at 11 AM. (Swish, right into the basket!)
Recovery from jet lag after a simple four hour time zone change without The Cure for Jet Lag can take 6 – 7 days. That’s not good if you’ve flown from New York to California or California to New York to compete against athletes who have driven 30-minutes from home to the stadium.
ZERO JET LAG?
How many days will it take to resynchronize your circadian or daily rhythms WITH The Cure for Jet Lag so your hand-eye coordination and psychomotor skills are sharp? Zero days on flights that entail passing through up to four time zones east or west. Dr. Ehret’s all-natural, proven 3-step plan enables you to step off the jet ready to kick ass.
Note from author Lynne W. Scanlon: Remember what Tiger Woods said when he was interviewed after Y. E. Yang snatched the PGA Championship away from Woods in August 2009? “[I ] struggled with jet lag all week . . .”
*Psychomotor skills are those skills that you have done so often that you don’t think about how to do them while you are doing them — tying shoelaces or riding a bike for example. At first, you really have to concentrate on the steps, later your brain takes over.
A SLEEP SUITE RECOMMENDATION
I recommend this book to all my sleep-deprived customers. Jet lag is NOT inevitable. In an easy to follow program Ehret shows how you can beat nature at its own game through the judicious use of food, light and exercise. The best purchase a regular traveller can make.
It really works!
I’ve followed the advice in this book for numerous trips to Japan and Korea. It really works – I rarely have trouble with jet lag. The advice they give is not gimmicky or based on folklore. It’s a matter of changing your behavior and diet a few days before you leave, and during the initial adjustment. Especially important is start acting like you’re on destination time as soon as you get on the plane – just the opposite of what the airlines do. The authors explain about what is actually going on it your body as it tries to adjust. I’ve found their method is simple, easy and understandable.
By Thomas J Brumm (Ames, Iowa)
A must for vacationers or business travellers,
I began using this system in 1986, based on an earlier version of this book. I’ve used it repeatedly on trips to Europe and Asia, and I’ve been able to make the best use of my first day at my destination every time. On the few occasions when I couldn’t use this system (due to sudden unexpected trips), I found out how debilitating jet lag can be… like having a case of the flu, I was just “out of it” for a couple of days!
I’ve given copies of this book to many friends and business associates over the years, and all have praised the results!
Cross-country travel by jet? International travel? Forget it. The only money I considered spending this year on nonnecessities was for razor blades to slash my wrists if the DOW dipped below 6400. Who could risk the cash outlay for nonbusiness travel when the future looked so bleak? But now, with the DOW seeming to pull itself up by its bootstraps at 9505 today, my angina is abating a bit. Of course, I know the DOW at 9505 is not the DOW at 14,000.
Yes, maybe it is time to think about and maybe even make cautious plans. I’m thinking about it … and that’s a good sign, isn’t it?
By the way, it was a madhouse at Newark Airport at 5 AM last Thursday when I picked up a friend flying in from Oregon. A madhouse. The airport looked like the Las Vegas Strip with traffic jams and people and cars jockeying for position near the curb in ARRIVALS. All very civilized in a chaotic sort of way! Since I, personally, had not been to the airport in a while, I was very surprised to see the thousands of people swarming around the airport.
Are first-class travelers flying coach? Are coach travelers taking the train? Are train travelers taking the bus? Are bus travelers walking?
Dunno, but I was really, seriously surprised (and a little pleased) to see the crowd.
If you think your biggest worry about flying should be whether your plane will plunge from the sky due to equipment malfunction, you are wrong. Your biggest worry about flying should be about pilot error and whether the pilot and co-pilot have normal “core body temperatures” as they enter the cockpit.
Core body temperatures? Yes, a normal core body temperature is proof positive that a pilot is ready to fly again and that he or she has recovered from the chronobiological dyschronism (AKA jet lag) that results from harebrained flight schedules.
In The New York Times, Sunday, May 17, 2009 edition, “Capt. Paul Nietz, 58, who recently retired from a regional airline, said his schedule wore him down and cost him three marriages. His workweek typically began with a 2:30 a.m. wake-up in northern Michigan and a 6 a.m. flight to his Chicago home bases. There he would have to wait for his first assignment, a noon departure.
By the time he parked his aircraft at the last gate of the night, he was exhausted. But he would be due back at work eight hours and 15 minutes later.”
You want this guy piloting your plane?
The National Transportation Safety Board, Federal Aviation Administration, and Airline Pilots Association Have Their Fingers In Their Ears
These people have to have been deaf, dumb and blind over the past 40 years not to have taken seriously Dr. Charles F. Ehret’s recommendations about ideal pilot schedules and INSISTED upon their immediate implementation. For heaven’s sake, Dr. Ehret was the world’s leading authority on jet lag and a consultant to the airlines. His research was paid for by the U. S. Government.
Pilot Fatigue is Your Fault Too
“Why?” I asked Dr. Ehret, “don’t the airlines take your advice about ideal pilot schedules to prevent pilot error?”
Dr. Ehret told me that the problem was the passenger. Airlines try to please YOU with schedules that allow YOU to arrive at YOUR destination at a time convenient for YOU. YOU want to arrive from New York in London at 7 a.m. destination time so YOU can get in a full day of activity. Pilots’ needs be damned.
So pilots, who would normally be sleeping at night (we are daytime creatures programmed to be awake during the day and to shut down at night), are forced to fight Mother Nature’s normal sleep/wake patterns as the jet streaks through the night. And you wonder why pilots nod off and can’t react quickly in an emergency?
According to that same article in The New York Times, “. . . in some operations, the big airlines are more vulnerable. They are now conducting flights of 16 hours, across more time zones than a pilot can be expected to adapt to.”
Passengers should not only carry passports and tickets when they arrive at the airport, but rectal thermometers as well.
Note from the coauthor of The Cure for Jet Lag: There is a special section in The Cure for Jet lag called “Pilots and Air Crew Members.” It briefly talks about three techniques that Dr. Charles F. Ehret suggests to help pilots fight fatigue and chronobiological dyschronism. However, until the “powers that be” allow pilots and air crews to fly consistent, reasonable “shifts” and eliminate the ever changing, eratic work schedules that are routine for pilots and crew members, Dr. Ehret’s recommendations are bandaides on the problem at best.