Jet lag can affect performance and judgment. So when you’re in the military you’ve got to learn how to prevent jet lag. With little notice you could be deployed for military training operations. You may cross several time zones and then be expected to think clearly, make decisions, and basically stay sharp and awake once the plane touches down.
Normal adjustment usually takes 1 day for each time zone.
And how much your affected depends on which direction you’re traveling. Eastbound travel is more disruptive than westbound travel because of the absolute loss of real time, which offsets circadian rhythm more than a gain in time with westbound flight
Why Does Jet Lag Occur?
Sometime you can catch a few Z’s on the flight. So how can you still be tired? You would think a little down time would be enough.
Your biological clock doesn’t reset quick enough — known as the “circadian oscillator” located in the suprachiasmatic nucleus of the anterior hypothalamus.
This regulates energy metabolism, as well as hormonal and neuronal levels which controls several of your body’s functions. All of this is required on demand for peak performance and normal immune status.
Many flight attendants can prevent jet lag by maintainIng their home-based sleep patterns. But that’s not always possible for troops deployed for training missions or combat.
Soldiers are often dropped into an unfamiliar territory, new climate conditions, and a new time zone then expected to perform military duties with little to no time to acclimate.
It’s tough…but not impossible with the right nutritional foundation. You can nutritionally fortify of those very systems that affect your metabolism, hormones, and neurological systems.
Some people use dietary supplement such as the NavySeal Formula® or you can test out the Argonne Diet which was the subject of research back in 2002.
Preventing Jet Lag through the Argonne Diet?
In a 2002 report in Military Medicine: International Journal of AMSUS, suggesting preventing jet lag in military troops through the Argonne Diet.
This eating pattern alternated feasting with fasting.
The idea was to feast on high-protein breakfasts and lunches combined with high-carb dinners with no caloric limits; and fasting on lighter meals of just 800 calories a day.
Caffeinated beverages like coffee, tea and cola were only allowed during the hours of 3 and 5pm. The diet pattern was implemented 5 days before departure beginning with a feast, followed by the lighter “fasting” of no more than 800 calories; followed by a feast; again followed by a “fast”.
Then, on the day of departure you feast.
Participation in the test was voluntary so not all the soldiers were included in the test. Of the 95 soldiers who participated (followed the Argonne diet prior to departure), 9% experienced jet lag after flights originating from Wisconsin and Minnesota and crossed 9 time zones before reaching its training destination. Of the 91 that did not participate, 44% were affected by jet lag.
On average, jet lag lasted 3 days.
When do Jet Lag Symptoms Normally Hit?
While some soldiers experienced difficulties when they reached their destination such as fatigue, compromised ability to concentrate and insomnia, others experienced a sort of delayed reaction with their bodies being affected upon their return home:
It’s interesting to note in this study that a sedentary lifestyle and a previous history of jet lag resulted in a higher likelihood that jet lag would occur.
So what does this mean?
Well, if you’re not active then chances are that a sedentary lifestyle overflows into other areas of your life such as your food choices and lack of solid nutritional fortification offered through the best dietary supplements.
It’s possible that those that followed the guidelines of the Argonne diet were more disciplined with their diet, or more open to improving their overall health.
It’s also possible that the extra calories, by default, would have provided extra nutrients which boosted the overall immune system.
For example, a high protein meal which includes beef would include nutrients such as zinc which has been shown to have a positive effect on the immune system and healing. Beef also has one of the best sources for absorbable iron which enriches the blood.
What are the Symptoms of Jetlag?
- Decreased motivation
- Attitude problems
Preventing Jet Lag
When you can plan your travel in advance, it could be an interesting experiment to give this type of feasting and fasting routine a try to see how your body responds. Will it be helpful in preventing jet lag before a military operation?
However, if you want to be certain that you’re going to be able to perform your military duties when your boots hit the ground, you can maintain a daily routine that includes a great diet, physical exercise, and nutritional supplements formulated for military duty.
You have to eliminate the debilitating effects of jet lag like your life depends on it. Because you don’t always have a week to plan your departure and shopping list.
Trust what has already been proven to work.
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Resource for Preventing Jet Lag:
Using the Argonne Diet in Jet Lag Prevention: Deployment of Troops across Nine Time Zones. Military Medicine: International Journal of AMSUS, the Association of Military Surgeons of the United States