Excerpt from Peter Greenberg's article How to Travel and Stay Thin at travel.msn.com
Scientists argue that jet lag is first and foremost a physical condition that is worsened by high altitudes, dry air or stress. Jet lag is merely a result of our biological clocks all being broken at the same time. So is it simply a matter of how much sleep you can get, and when you can get it? Not quite. It's really a matter of being sleep deprived. One reason we become sleep deprived on airplanes is the flight is too short. Couple that with our sleep patterns on the ground, and you have a full-tilt recipe for jet lag.
One study concludes that those with jet lag don't just eat at irregular times, they eat larger-than-normal portions. The worst part is the link between sleep deprivation and weight gain: The brain may send out false signals of hunger. And therein lies a big problem among travelers who combine a rigorous travel schedule and sleep deprivation, and there's a direct correlation with obesity.
People who are sleep-deprived get hungry. When we restrict sleep duration in healthy, lean, normal adults, we quickly observe two alterations. Leptin, the hormone that regulates appetite and promotes satiety, the feeling of fullness, decreases. (When leptin levels are high, you feel satiated. If you're feeling hungry, your leptin levels have dropped). That, coupled with increased levels of ghrelin, the hunger hormone, sends false signals to the brain that you're starving. Hunger increases even when your caloric intake has been more than sufficient.
In the end, it's not just about jet lag, or how well you adjust. It's really all about sleep deprivation and how that affects your ability to think clearly, and in particular, how it affects your brain's ability to allow you to register how hungry you are versus how hungry you feel. My advice for jet lag hunger pains? Water, and lots of it.
Don't let your pets sleep with you
Dr. John Shepard, medical director of the Mayo Clinic Sleep Disorders Center, says at Science Daily that he has found that many of his patients with sleep problems share their bedrooms with their cats and dogs. While it's difficult to quantify exactly how much their sleeping with pets actually disturbed their sleep, he concludes that "every patient has to weigh the advantages and disadvantages of sleeping with pets and make a personal decision about the sleeping arrangements in the household. Some people are very attached to their pets and will tolerate poorer sleep in order to be near them at night".
However there's another factor to consider: in addition to losing valuable sleep, your pets can transmit diseases to you.
From Andrew Schneider's article Letting Sleeping Dogs Lie in Your Bed Can Kill You at AOL Health
A 9-year-old boy from Arizona got the plague because he slept with his flea-infested cat.
A 48-year-old man and his wife repeatedly contracted MRSA (methicillin-resistant Staphylococcus aureus), which their physicians eventually attributed to their dog. The animal "routinely slept in their bed and frequently licked their face," California experts reported.
Kissing pets can also transmit zoonoses. A Japanese woman contacted meningitis after kissing her pet's face. Disease can also easily be transmitted by your pet kissing you. A study cited cases where a woman died of septic shock and renal failure after her cat, with whom she slept, licked open sores on her feet and toes. In another case, a 44-year-old man died of infection after his German shepherd puppy licked open abrasions on his hands.