How to combat jet leg? More importantly, can it be done? In what way? Australian airline Qantas says it has been studying and working on this for some time. The idea is to make progressive improvements to help customers facing long-haul routes, such as New York-London-Sydney lasting almost 20 hours.
Just this week, one plane recorded all the necessary changes based on a test done during three test flights in 2019. According to the company, passengers with an ad hoc flight program “reported less jet lag, improved sleep quality and had better cognitive performance” in the two days after the flight, Qantas says according to the Washington Post story.
But what changes are involved in mitigating the effects of jet lag? First, it involves changes to the cabin lighting system to help people adjust to the time zone of the final destination; in supporting passengers with physical activities; and finally, with shifting meal times and administering foods and drinks to help people stay awake or fall asleep.
But how and by what means did this happen? “We used chili peppers, chocolate, caffeine and spices,” answered researcher Svetlana Postnova, an expert on nutrition and cardiac circulation at the Charles Perkins Center. “And to promote sleep, we used tryptophan-rich foods, such as dairy products, bread, chicken, and non-caffeinated drinks” such as herbal teas.
Translated, it means that for flights that left New York at 9 p.m., “passengers had longer light exposure and ate a meal early in the flight,” then were wrapped in 10 hours of darkness with wake-up and breakfast before arriving in Sydney in the morning.