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
Alexander McQueen at auction: What makes a really great piece of fashion?
A bottle of wine a day is not bad for you and abstaining is worse than drinking, scientist claims
No female ejaculation, please, we’re British: a history of porn and censorship
Stressed nurses are 'forced to choose between health of patients and their own'
Pornhub: Kim Kardashian's sex tape is the most-watched porn video of all-time
Disgruntled RBS worker writes hilarious open letter to Russell Brand after anti-capitalist publicity stunt leaves him hungry
Shock poll shows voters believe Ukip is to the left of the Tories
Nigel Farage's approval rating hits 'record low' as popularity suffers in wake of Ukip sex scandal
Nigel Farage defends Kerry Smith 'ch***y' comment: 'If you are going for a Chinese, what do you say you’re going for?'
Ukip candidate jokes about 'shooting peasants' in racist and homophobic rant
Pakistan school attack live: Taliban kill at least 132 children in 'horrifying' massacre
- 1 Nigel Farage: Me vs Russell Brand on Question Time – he's got the chest hair but where are his ideas?
- 2 Harry Potter fans can apply to the Hogwarts-inspired College of Wizardry
- 3 Jessica Chambers: 19-year-old woman 'doused with lighter fluid and burned alive' in the US
- 4 Russell Brand calls Nigel Farage 'poundshop Enoch Powell' in BBC Question Time debate
- 5 Orange Wednesdays are no more
iJobs Gadgets & Tech
£50000 per annum + 26 days holiday,pension: Ashdown Group: A highly successful...
£30 per hour: Ashdown Group: An industry leading and well established business...
£20000 per annum: Ashdown Group: A highly reputable business is looking to rec...
£28000 per annum: Ashdown Group: A highly reputable business is looking to rec...