June 30, 2005

UK airline calls in sleep doctor to cure jet lag

By Michael Smith

LONDON (Reuters) - British Airways has called in a
specialist to find a cure for jet-lag, potentially a dream come
true for sleep-deprived frequent flyers.

Sleep researcher Dr. Chris Idzikowski will spend the next
six months studying the best way to snooze at 30,000 feet as
well as tricking passengers' body clocks to cope with time zone

"There is definitely a way of controlling the biological
clock by avoiding or exposing oneself to light, and we want to
see if we can find a way of teaching passengers how to do it,"
Idzikowski told Reuters Wednesday.

The study, which BA hails as a world first, will look at
the differences that east-west and west-east flying has on the
body clock, at best sleeping positions and the ideal time to
take a nap to reduce jet lag.

Devices to block out light, even after arriving at the
airport, and recreating the aroma of a passenger's bedroom on
the plane are some of the more radical ideas that will be

For long-suffering red-eye regulars, a cure for jet lag may
appear to be as far off as a cure to cancer.

In the meantime, Idzikowski recommends a few simple steps.
Do not eat too much or drink alcohol during a flight, wear
comfortable clothing, and buy a pair of noise-reduction

In what has been dubbed "the battle of the beds," BA and
Richard Branson's Virgin Atlantic Airways have been trying to
outdo each other with new first-class flat bed offerings.

Idzikowski, former chairman of the British Sleep Society,
said the study could also provide solutions for the humble
economy class passenger.