A cure for jet lag is of course the holy grail of travel-related science research. Could the answer be oxygen deprivation?
That's what a new study published in the journal Cell Metabolism seems to suggest.
Working with mice, researchers found that when the rodents breathed air with about a quarter to a third less oxygen than usual, they adapted to a six-hour time change (about what you'd get from flying from Chicago to London) more quickly than mice breathing regular air.
What this could mean is that oxygen plays an important role in regulating the circadian system that keeps the body's internal clock in good working order. If it's true that we, like the mice in the study, consume more oxygen during our waking hours, maybe we can get over jet lag faster by consuming less oxygen in the period immediately before experiencing a time change so that our circadian systems can reset. Or something.
The study should be of special interest to the aviation industry, which is looking into ways to pump more oxygen into airplane cabins in order to help passengers who get altitude sickness.
In the long run, however, that extra oxygen could doom all of us to worse cases of jet lag once the plane lands.