You might want to save your Biscoff Cookie for after the flight.
World travel expert Anthony Bourdain will eat everything from warthog bits to seal eyes, but one thing he won’t eat is airplane food—and neither should you. While Bourdain may complain about the taste of the pasty pasta or the gluey chicken and rice dish they serve on most planes, the real reason you might want to skip the meal has nothing to do with taste, but with jet lag.
Melissa Biggs Bradley, the founder of luxury travel firm Indagare, shared with Bloomberg some of her favorite travel tips that she collected during her many years of flying around the world gathering intel for her travel club members. During her travels, Bradley has chatted up a lot of flight attendants for their insider knowledge, including one jet lag remedy that you may want to steal. According to Bradley, many flight attendants don’t eat on planes. Not a peanut or a pretzel or a reheated tray of beef and mashed potatoes—nothing. That’s because they believe that at high-altitude your digestive system slows down, so by the time you land after a long flight your system is basically at a stand-still and has to re-start, which can make you tired. Instead they stay well-hydrated and eat when they are back on the ground. Bradley has tested the theory and believes that not eating works, and she feels less tired when she lands. Of course, some experts point out that skipping meals on the plane may make you feel less tired for a different reason altogether—you’re getting more sleep by not waking for meals. Grab earplugs and an eye mask, and don’t wait up for that tray of mediocre food. The extra 30 minutes or so of sleep could make all the difference when you land.
It’s not just flight attendants who have the secrets to avoiding jet lag, though, airplane pilots have a few other theories about how to avoid it, too. Over at Travel + Leisure tips from pilots include staying hydrated, limiting caffeine intake, and avoiding alcohol.