If You Need More Proof That Jet Lag Sucks, Now We Know It Makes You Gain Weight

woman sleeping on a benchIn case you were feeling TOO POSITIVELY about the experience of having jet lag, Shape Magazine has come along to inform the world that planes don’t just make you tired– they also make you gain weight. The next time you make a red eye reservation, at least rest assured that you’ll make up for missing a night of sleep by picking up a few extra pounds. Hooray!

So where does this theory come from? Certain scientific studies suggest that, when you travel, the bacteria in your belly gets all out of whack, causing you to crave more food than you would ordinarily eat. (That’s not exactly the term that doctors use, but I really like to imagine some scientist wiping their glasses clean on a lab coat and being like, “Intern, record this data: it appears that Patient X has a belly that’s completely out of whack!”) Lucky for you, Shape puts this phenomenon into slightly better words:

Research has found that your microbiome—the collection of bugs that live in your body and help you with everything from digestion to mood—thrives on a schedule, so when you mess up your circadian rhythm, you also mess up your gut flora.

Oh no! Not the gut flora! Flying is already stressful enough, what with the changing gate numbers and the tight seating and the making-conversation-with-the-loudly-chewing-man-next-to-you. I thought my gut flora was one thing I didn’t have to worry about.

I’m still not sure I understand the science behind this argument (not that you could tell, though, since I’m writing this post in very professional and no-nonsense way), but the general message makes sense. Try to keep yourself on a schedule whenever possible. Treat your body well. Don’t throw your body clock all over the place when you don’t need to. Always, always respect the flora in your gut. All good ideas.

H/T Shape // Photo: Shutterstock

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    • Sara Steinfeld

      Good thing I’m never flying again anyway!