Scientists from two Australian universities were on board to observe how passengers slept and fed, and to monitor their level of melatonin, the « sleep hormone ». At the end of the embarkation, passengers were asked to set their watch at Sydney time. They were then kept awake until nightfall in the eastern part of Australia.
For this, physical exercises were offered to them, caffeine and spicy meals were served in a lighted cabin. Six hours later, they were treated to a meal rich in carbohydrates before being asked to stop looking at screens. The lights were then dimmed to help them fall asleep.
Marie Carroll, a scientist at Sydney University who conducted the experiment, believes this innovative method will help reduce the impact of jet lag. « I expect them to have a normal day today and a normal night’s sleep tonight, » she said, claiming to feel « surprisingly good » considering the duration of the flight.
Four pilots took turns flying during the flight, with devices to measure their brainwaves and their vigilance. The Australian and International Pilots Association (AIPA), a union representing the Qantas pilots, was concerned, however, whether the rest time of the pilots during this flight was of sufficient quality for their performance remains optimal.