It would be great if there was some catch-all but perhaps the best way to beating jet lag is to know all the different elements that affect it.

If you truly wanted to be the master of jet lag, you’d also have to be the master of light—but since no one’s going to be able to control the Sun’s cycle anytime soon, you do the best that you can do.

What’s even more frustrating is that the human body is a complex beast. Even if you manage to peg down factors that affect jet lag—diet, amount of light, activity levels—the body’s chemistry is so complex that Charles Ehret, one of the leading chronobiologists to begin studying the effects of jet lag in the 1970s, once said in Overcoming Jet Lag:

"[Chronobiologists] discovered two facts: one, that your entire body chemistry changes over the course of a day, and that you are quite literally a different person biochemically at six in the morning than you are at midnight, so much so that it is the equivalent of being a redhead at dawn and a blond at midnight; and, two, because of this constant inconstancy within you, your body chemistry reacts quite differently at different times of the day to the same stimulus…"

Great news. But it also explains why all the former presidents have approached jet lag differently over the years.