Smartphone app may help beat jet lag
Researchers from the University of Michigan have developed a smartphone app designed to help alleviate the symptoms of jet lag, including feelings of tiredness and confusion.
Since our internal body clock is set to a regular rhythm of daylight and darkness, traveling to different time zones disrupts the clock and makes it difficult to return to normal. The app, named Entrain, works by helping travelers more quickly readjust to their internal body clock. The app asks users to input their normal hours of exposure to light and dark and then add the time zone to which they are traveling. Using this data, the app mathematically figures out the users’ optimal light schedule, which includes when they should be exposed to darkness or light at varying degrees of brightness. The personalized light adjustment schedule also lets users know how long it should take before they get used to time zone changes.
The details of Entrain are discussed in the journal PLOS Computation Biology. In it, researchers explain that the ability to overcome jet lag is essentially a mathematical problem, which their app calculates and translates into practical instructions. Researchers said that although the app does not get rid of jet lag, it can significantly reduce recovery time.
The app could also help pilots and flight attendants, the researchers noted.