Short flashes of light can prevent jet lag

Washington D.C., Feb. 9(ANI): A new study has revealed that exposing people to short flashes of light while they are sleeping could be a fast and efficient method of preventing jet lag.

Jamie Zeitzer from the Stanford University School of Medicine said that this could be a new way of adjusting much more quickly to time changes than other methods in use today.

Researchers led by Zeitzer have been working on developing an optimal technique for using light exposure to help people adjust more quickly to changes in their sleep cycles.

Current light-therapy treatments for sleep disturbances include sitting in front of bright lights for hours at a time during the day, which allows you to transition your body clock to a new time zone in small steps prior to taking a trip.

In the latest study, Zeitzer and other researchers found that short flashes of light at night are more effective than continuous light exposure and could further speed up the process of adjusting to a different time zone before a trip.

The transfer of light through the eyes to the brain does more than provide sight; it also changes the biological clock. A person’s brain can be tricked into adjusting more quickly to disturbances in sleep cycles by increasing how long he or she is exposed to light prior to traveling to a new time zone.

After arriving in a new time zone, the body will eventually adjust on its own, but at a slow pace of about one hour a day. Meanwhile, jet lag, which occurs because your body’s clock is still synced to your original time zone, can cause fatigue, lack of alertness, a general feeling of malaise and sometimes gastrointestinal problems.

The study found that a sequence of 2-millisecond flashes of light, similar to a camera flash, 10 seconds apart elicited a nearly two-hour delay in the onset of sleepiness, the most efficient and fastest method of adjusting the internal clock.

The research is published in the Journal of Clinical Investigation. (ANI)

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