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Cabin lighting and these dishes can help reduce jet lag in passengers travelling on long flights: Qantas Airways study

The Australian airline Qantas Airways Limited may have just found ways to reduce jet lag and reset your body’s clock while travelling onboard long-haul flights. According to a year-long study – conducted by Qantas Airways to find ways to reduce jet lag on its upcoming ultra-long-haul non-stop ‘Sunrise’ flights from New York and London to Sydney – adjusted lighting, tailored sleep, dining schedules, and meals with specific ingredients helped significantly improve passengers’ jet lag. Scroll ahead to know what the study revealed.

Qantas conducts a study to find ways to reduce jet lag. (Qantas Airways)
Qantas conducts a study to find ways to reduce jet lag. (Qantas Airways)

Qantas Airways’ study to reduce jet lag on long-haul flights

The airline operated three Project Sunrise research flights from New York and London to Sydney in 2019 in partnership with Australian researchers to collect real-world passenger data. Researchers travelled with 23 volunteer customers, who wore biometric monitors, and monitored them as they followed a specially designed menu, lighting, sleep and movement sequences.

Additionally, the study included tailored cabin lighting schedules to facilitate adaption to the destination time zone, integrating simple stretch and movement activities, and timing meal services to align with the body clock. The meals included items like fish and chicken paired with fast-acting carbohydrates and comfort foods like soups and milk-based desserts. The aim was to promote the brain’s production of the amino acid tryptophan (Tryp) to help passengers drift off easily, the airline revealed in a statement.

Peter Cistulli, professor of sleep medicine at the University of Sydney, said in a statement, “The early findings have given us optimism that we can make a real difference to the health and wellbeing of international travellers, thanks to this partnership with Qantas.”

They added, “We have a multi-disciplinary team of more than 10 researchers from medicine, science, and engineering backgrounds working together on this project. This includes sleep researchers, circadian experts, and nutrition and movement experts. No airline has ever done this kind of research before.”

The study findings

The study’s initial findings showed passengers reported less severe jet lag, better inflight sleep quality, and better cognitive performance in the two days after the flight. The airline is also researching the crew’s well-being on ultra-long-haul flights.

Qantas’ record-breaking New York to Sidney flight

Qantas Airways will launch its first non-stop commercial airline flight from New York and London to Sydney in late 2025. The ultra-long-haul flight will be 20 hours long. According to Qantas, the specially designed Airbus A350s will include an onboard Wellbeing Zone where passengers can take time out to stretch and do simple exercises onboard, guided by video screens.

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