How to beat jetlag: New app models sunlight patterns to sync your circadian rhythm
Travelling internationally disrupts our circadian rhythm by exposing our body to unexpected sunlight - this new app caculates how much light you need
Monday 14 April 2014
A new app that uses mathematical models to help overcome jetlag by telling you when to sleep and how long for is set to see globetrotters the world over rejoice (after a good night's sleep).
Currently it can take up to 13 days to get into sync with a new time zone but mathematicians from the University of Michigan have created an algorithm that calculates the hours of sleep and exposure to daylight necessary for travellers to acclimatise in just 48 hours.
Jetlag is the often debilitating result of breaking our “circadian rhythm” – the natural body clock that tells us when to sleep and when to wake. Travelling several thousand miles violently disrupts a pattern that from an evolutionary perspective has never been broken at all.
Scientists have been aware for some time that exposure to light warps the body’s sense of time and confuses its circadian cycle, likening it to having every clock in your house set to a different time.
Overcoming jetlag is about returning to a rhythm that our bodies can understand, or if possible, preventing too much deviation before the jetlag can worsen.
The mathematicians from Michigan developed a model capable of evaluating different scenarios to determine how our bodies react when thrown out of rhythm and how it can be remedied.
Their tests, published in the journal PLOS Computational Biology, found that in order to restore individuals' circadian rhythm, periods of light and dark need to be simulated to trick the body clock.
Daniel Forger, a mathematical biologist at the University of Michigan, told Scientific American that the solution was actually simpler than they expected: “We thought the answer would be extremely complicated: At 3:40, you need to get this much light, and at this time, you need to get this much."
Another student, Olivia Walch, then synthesised these results into an app known as “Entrain” which has red eyed passengers sleeping properly within two days and fully recovered in four.
Users of Entrain enter their ordinary sleeping hours and where they will be travelling to. The app then produces a unique, real time schedule to follow to limit and repair disruptions to their biological clock.
Life & Style blogs
Everyone should watch this boy's reaction to learning he will be a big brother
No, a porn star wasn't tricked into performing a sex act on her brother
What do the emojis on Snapchat mean?
Rafael Nadal strips off in racy new ads for Tommy Hilfiger
iPhone 5c to be discontinued, no iPhone 6c to replace it
Climate change: 2015 will be the hottest year on record 'by a mile', experts say
Labour leadership: Jeremy Corbyn accused of 'deluding' young supporters with 'claptrap'
'Women only' train carriages: Jeremy Corbyn unveils radical move to tackle public harassment
Black holes are a passage to another universe, says Stephen Hawking
Iain Duncan Smith 'should resign over disability benefit death figures', says Jeremy Corbyn
Iain Duncan Smith calls for urgent ESA overhaul as part of drive to cut down welfare costs
- 1 The difference between a migrant and refugee, in one sentence
- 2 Miley Cyrus calls out hypocrisy of women’s nipples being taboo
- 3 iPhone 5c to be discontinued, no iPhone 6c to replace it
- 4 Jozef Wesołowski: Former Catholic archbishop found dead ahead of child sexual abuse trial
- 5 Blood Moon and Supermoon: September to bring brightest – and dimmest – full Moon of the year on same night
iJobs Gadgets & Tech
£40000 - £55000 per annum: Recruitment Genius: This is an exciting opportunity...
£20000 - £40000 per annum: Recruitment Genius: This IT provider for the educat...
£20000 - £25000 per annum: Recruitment Genius: This leader in the e-cigarette ...
£32000 - £40000 per annum: Recruitment Genius: With extensive experience and a...