Jet lag is a weird thing. Personally, I have never had a problem with it. Even when I moved to England to study abroad, I had no problem adjusting to the time change. Conversely, I know people who are absolutely rocked by flying from California to New York. I have never crossed the date line, and I imagine that is pretty rough, but over all jet lag is one of those things I know exists, but have no experience with. But when there is a problem, especially one that gets in the way of travel fun, we want solutions. Some mathematicians say that they can help make the adjustment a little easier. All with a smartphone app. Because it is 2014.
(photo via Erin Browne)
Entrain, is an app designed by Olivia Walch, a grad student at the University of Michigan. Walch said, “The conventional wisdom is for every hour you’re shifting, it’s about a day of adjustment,” which would mean that traveling from New York to say, Perth would take you 12 days to adjust, since Perth is 12 hours ahead. Unless you are in Perth for over two weeks, your trip is basically spent in a foggy haze. Entrain can reduce that adjustment to 4 or 5 days, all based around how much light you get.
The body’s circadian clock relies on light. The app will give you a schedule, based on time zones and sleep schedules, that will tell the user when to be in bright light, low light or darkness. Since the body relies on light to know what day it is, you can kind of trick your body into thinking it is a different day, and adjust to a new timezone faster. This app, unlike other jet lag apps, has tons of science backing it up. So if you are looking for an app to help with jet lag, this one could be the one to try.
Entrain is free, so it is worth a download if you are traveling soon and want to avoid pesky jet lag. I’m not heading overseas for a couple more months but I still have it downloaded so I can get familiar with it. Who knows, maybe this trip is when I finally get rocked by jet lag.
Check out the video below to see how the app works.