I've noticed i actually do this inadvertantly on long plane trips. I can't eat on a airplane or 12 hours before a long flight. When i arrive, it is usually midnight and there is nothing to eat (since most stores are closed). In the morning i usually have a big breakfast. I've never suffered from jet lag, due to readjusting my food cycle.
I know this works for me regarding jet lag. I will use this tequnique to adjusting my sleep cycle at home.
In any case, the article in short - "Starving yourself before a long flight may help prevent jet lag"
And here's Reuter's version
This actually makes plenty of sense as when I used to have breakfast regularly I would wake up within a minute every morning without an alarm.
Lets say I want to start waking up at 6AM everyday. How can I use my food clock to help me?
Carbs do that (e.g. potatoes). Try eating proteins and greens only instead and see if it still makes you sleepy.
I think this is very early research and not really applicable.
Staying awake during the fast isn't necessary.
Not eating for 12-16 hours can help people quickly reset their sleep-wake cycle, according to a new study from the Harvard Medical School. This discovery can drastically improve a person's ability to cope with jet lag or adjust to working late shifts.
Scientists have long known that our circadian rhythm is regulated by our exposure to light. Now they have found a second "food clock" that takes over when we are hungry. This mechanism probably evolved to make sure starving mammals don't go to sleep when they should be foraging for food.
The lead researcher Clifford Saper explains:
>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.
It usually takes people a week to fully adjust to a new time zone or sleeping schedule. To think that this new "food clock" hack can help you change your internal clock in one day is mind boggling.
How does it work?
For example, if you want to start waking up at 2:00 am in the morning, you should stop eating between 10:00 am and 2:00 pm the previous day. When you wake up at 2:00 am, eat a nice healthy meal to break your fast.
Another example: If you are travelling from Los Angeles to Tokyo, figure out when breakfast is served in Tokyo, and don't eat for the 12-16 hours before Tokyo's breakfast time.
Why does this work?
Like everything else in our evolutionary history, it has to do with survival:
>"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
>"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." CBC (quoting study published in the May 22 issue of Science.
For more information, check out Science Friday's interview with lead researcher Clifford Saper. "