Software programme helps combat jet lag

June 21st, 2009 - 3:29 pm ICT by IANS  

Washington, June 21 (IANS) Those who travel frequently across several time zones no longer need suffer jet lag. Researchers have developed a software programme that prescribes a regimen for avoiding jet lag using timed light exposure.
Jet lag includes trouble sleeping at night and difficulty remaining awake during the day. These effects largely reflect de-synchronization between the body’s internal time clock and local environmental cues.

Researchers at Brigham and Women’s Hospital and the University of Michigan have developed a programme which re-synchronizes the body with its new environment, considers inputs like background light level and the number of time zones travelled. The programme then uses a mathematical model which advises users the precise time of day when they should apply counter-measures such as bright light to intervene and reduce the effects of jet lag.

The programme can reset an individual’s internal clock to align with local time. When used properly, the result is more efficient sleep, decreased fatigue and an increase in cognitive performance.

“Although this method is not yet available to the public, it has direct implications for designing schedules for jet lag, shift-work, and extreme environments, such as in space, undersea or in polar regions,” said lead author Dennis Dean.

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