04/10/2013 10:53 BST | Updated 04/10/2013 10:57 BST

Suffering From Jet Lag? Scientists Step Closer To Helping Body Clock Adjust To Time Zones

There's no escaping jet lag. Depending on where you're going, it either messes up your holiday (by making you a zombie on arrival at your destination) or undoes all of the holiday relaxation (that you earned sipping cocktails by the pool) and makes you act like a tired, moody toddler.

No one is immune - it can knock even the strongest of us out for days.

But those weary-eyed, jet-lagged days may soon be over, as scientists in Japan edge closer to developing a drug that can help people adapt to a different time zone in just one single day.

jet lag

There is a "master clock" that programmes the body to sleep at night, which helps to keep people in sync with the time zone.

By interfering with the brain cells of mice that control the body clock (vasopressin receptors), scientists could get the brain to adapt to quickly.

The anti-jet lag drug could also have major health benefits.

"Studies have shown that chronic jet lag and rotating shift work can increase an individual's risk of developing hypertension, obesity, and other metabolic disorders," say the study's authors.

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"Our results identify vasopressin signalling as a possible therapeutic target for the management of circadian rhythm [body clock] misalignment."

"It really is very exciting for our field. There's been many false dawns when it comes to a cure for jet lag, but I think this time they're close to the money,” body clock scientist Dr Michael Hastings told the BBC.

The study is published in the journal Science.