Jet lag can leave you feeling tired, irritable and altogether off balance for days. Scientists at Stanford University are carrying out research to reduce or prevent jet lag without the use of medication or adjusting your sleep schedule.
The lead researcher, neurobiologist Jamie Zeitzer is working on a technique that exposes participants to short bursts of light, while they sleep. He says that this technique would help travelers to adjust quickly to time zone changes.
Zeitzer’s research was published in the Journal of Clinical Investigation. The journal stated that his treatment involved participants to receive light treatment for short periods of time, prior to their trip. Researchers studying circadian systems believe that the flashing lights regulates the rhythms in the human body, which would then provide normal sleep and wake periods.
Human circadian system is regulated by light exposure. Our circadian system, controls our sleep timings, our hormones release and mood. To regulate your circadian rhythm, you would have to receive as much light exposure in relation to your destination. You could do this by either staying awake once you arrive at your destination or waking early before travel.
Zeitzer’s research will trick the brain to adjust quickly to changes in sleep cycles. He said that his treatment “exploits biology in the eye” to speed the brain’s adjustment time to the change in time zones. He went on to say that “The previous study was proof of principle: Can we elicit these kinds of changes and can we do it without interfering with sleep?”.