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New Pill Not the Only Way to Beat Jet Lag

December 03, 2008 02:30 PM
by Sarah Amandolare
A new drug proven to reduce jet lag won’t be on the market for at least three years, but in the meantime travelers have other options.

Tasimelteon: The Miracle Cure?

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A new drug developed by Vanda Pharmaceuticals has been found to reduce the effects of jet lag, but won’t be available for at least three more years.

Two clinical trials have shown that the drug, called tasimelteon, helps reset “the body’s natural sleep rhythms,” according to CNN. Volunteer participants “whose sleep pattern had been delayed by five hours” were able to fall asleep more quickly and stay asleep longer after taking tasimelteon, CNN reported.

Tasimelteon “mimics the effects of melatonin,” a naturally occurring human hormone that regulates circadian rhythm, the human body’s clock. Although melatonin products are readily available over the counter in the United States, such products “are not monitored by the Food and Drug Administration,” according to CNN.

In the meantime, while tasimelteon awaits official approval, there are other options for travelers hoping to maintain a normal sleep schedule this holiday season. For example, the naturally occurring extract derived from the bark of the French maritime pine tree can cut jet lag symptoms in half and reduce lower leg edema, according to Natural News.

And in May 2008, a Harvard Medical School study proposed that a 16-hour fast could reset the body’s clock when crossing multiple time zones.
But the simplest jet lag remedy of all could just be the most expensive one—upgrading to business class to avoid the upright seats found in coach. “It’s a problem sleeping upright,” said Dr. Greg Belensky, director of the University of Washington Sleep and Performance Research Center, to The New York Times. “The body has to push out adrenaline-like compounds to keep the blood flow to the brain adequate,” Belensky noted.

Reference: Sleep and Insomnia Guides

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