It can ruin large parts of your holiday and is one of the most difficult things about business travel. So a cure for jetlag would be welcomed by millions of travellers.
Now researchers in Australia have launched a world first – glasses that can apparently reset your body clock, potentially putting an end to jet lag, and even insomnia.
The glasses shine a green light on your eyes, which sleep researcher Professor Leon Lack says helps to readjust the body’s internal clock.
The medical term for Jet lag is desynchronosis. It’s a physiological condition which occurs because of alterations to the body’s biological rhythms resulting from rapid long-distance east-to-west or west-to-east travel.
Known as the Re-Timer, the device could help high-flyers beat jet lag, keep shift workers more alert and get teenagers out of bed in time for school.
It works by stimulating the part of the brain which is responsible for regulating the body’s clock.
Professor Lack from Flinders University in Adelaide said people who want to sleep and wake up earlier should wear the new gizmo for 50 minutes in the morning while those who want to wake later should wear it for 50 minutes before bed in order to delay the body clock.
“Our extensive research studies have shown that green light is one of the most effective wavelengths for advancing or delaying the body clock, and to-date this is the only wearable device using green light,” said Professor Lack. “The glasses have been designed to be user-friendly and comfortable to wear so people can go about their normal activities wearing them at work or at home.”
The makers of Re-timer say it has four main benefits – retiming your body clock before you travel, increasing energy during winter months, overcoming sleeplessness by retiming your body clock to a better sleep schedule and managing fatigue if working shifts. Researchers claim 94 per cent of people suffer from jet lag, with the Re-timer able to help because you can set your body clock in small steps before you travel.
“Sunlight is the cue our bodies use to regulate our sleeping and waking pattern,” explains the Re-timer site. “When light is received by photoreceptors in our eyes, a signal is sent to our brain telling us to be awake and alert. Often, however, we do not receive the daily bright light we need to maintain a well-timed body clock and natural energy levels.
“The Retimer is a portable light device that mimics the benefits of sunlight. Unlike the sun, however, the Retimer is 100 per cent UV-free and able to be used on an overcast day or during long winters when the sun is not visible. This evidence-based, patented technology has been developed through 25 years of university research by leading sleep psychologists.”
The device certainly isn’t cheap, coming in at around £180, but it could certainly catch on with frequent-flying businessmen who regularly catch red-eye flights. Look out for them on your next trip.