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Jet Lag? NASA Has an App for That.

Jet Lag? NASA Has an App for That.
Jennifer Billock

Did you know that jet lag gets worse as you get older? Well, travelers, we can finally say “There’s an app for that” for jet lag; a new app uses data from NASA to create a screen-based solution to try and curb everyone’s least favorite travel accompaniment—the app gives you a “light” schedule to help.

NASA knows that jet lag can really screw a person up. The astronauts on the space station face a constant rotation of sunrises and sunsets, leading to a completely wacky sense of circadian rhythm. But they came up with a solution: take in bright light at certain times and avoid it at others.

Now, the everyday airline passenger can take advantage of NASA’s knowledge with a new app called Timeshifter. The app was based on the NASA plan and is designed to help people recover from jet lag as fast as possible. Here’s how it works: you put in your flight details, say whether you’re a morning person or night person, and make a mention of your sleep patterns. Then, voila—the app gives you a personalized jet lag plan to help you acclimate.

Timeshifter will tell you when to get bright light, when to sleep, when to find darkness, and more. The suggestions are designed to be easy to do and take little time.

“If you sit inside of a plane and it’s dark and you need to see bright light, all you need to do is look at an iPad or watch a movie or do some work,” Mickey Beyer-Clausen, Timeshifter’s CEO, told WIRED. “If you’re outside in the sun and you need to avoid light, you just put on your sunglasses. It’s very easy to be compliant with, and it’s only a few hours a day, depending on how many time zones.”

View Comments (6)

6 Comments

  1. zarkov505

    November 5, 2019 at 10:08 am

    Fifteen or so years ago, I took my first formal training in hypnosis. It was held in Bangkok, halfway around the world from where I lived at the time. Sitting in the airplane, waiting to taxi out, I thought about some things the instructors had said in passing, and I decided to try something.

    My internal clock is now tied to my wristwatch. When I reset the watch, I reset my circadians. Jet lag and Daylight Savings Time have not been a problem since that day.

    Now, this method CAN backfire occasionally. You do still need to sleep, eat, and rehydrate. If IRROPS cause you to do a long flight and land at 7 AM local time, your body needs sleep but your circadians are saying “It is MORNING! TIME TO BE UP AND MOVING!!!”. You have to FORCE yourself to sleep in that case. (You can get by on a few hours, if you have to show up for an afternoon party. I ran into that, went to the party, and that’s how I wound up learning to fly 737 *AND* got to log an hour in a Level D 777 simulator. But that’s another story.)

  2. redanman

    November 6, 2019 at 7:44 am

    I’ll be looking at it as I just downloaded it to my phone. Generally I am very good with Jet Lag. However right now, after 29 hour day with several mishaps getting home only to the east coast from Paris (8 hours in MIA, the Centurion was a hell-hole that day), coupled with DST/ST change, an old deaf cat meowing every 60-90 minutes, several early rises for (…) I am not back on time after a 2 days.UGH, worst ever, deffo looking at it.

  3. Jackie_414

    November 6, 2019 at 9:40 am

    Earth to Zarkov, Earth to Zarkov!

  4. HMPS

    November 6, 2019 at 3:38 pm

    Take 2 strong sleeping pills before god ng to bed for first 3/4 days. So you WILL sleep good part of night time. Then 5/6 day take one and a halg pill and so on. You will get back on track without much stress.

  5. Hermione60

    November 7, 2019 at 3:53 am

    One word: Melatonin. Easy, painless, perfect.

  6. kkua

    November 7, 2019 at 5:42 am

    Just look out the plane window… if there’s sunlight, don’t sleep. When there’s daylight, do not nap for more than 2 consecutive hrs. Simple as that.

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