There’s few things worse than taking a long-ass flight to get to an exciting new locale, only to arrive exhausted, and smoosh-faced with serious jet lag that takes you days to recover from. Well, be groggy no more, jet-setting Ravishers, ‘cause we’ve got just the thing for you!
Mathematicians at the University of Michigan have developed a free app called Entrain that claims to help you beat jet lag a lot faster than normal. (Sorry, ‘Droid-heads, it's currently only available in the App Store but Android plans are in-the-making.)
Scientists say it takes a full day for your body to adjust for each hour of time difference—so a trip from California to New York might cost you three wonky days and a voyage from Tokyo to New York could leave your body wrecked for up to twelve—ain’t nobody got time for that! Your damn vacation might only be for 7!
The creators of Entrain claim that using their app can help a traveler cut a 12-day jet lag into only 3-5 days. The user types in his or her normal sleep schedule, the new time zone, and the type of light that will be encountered on the trip (fluorescent casino lighting or beach-y sunshine?) and the tricky app creates a custom schedule that tells you exactly when to bask in that light and when to make like a Cullen and shroud yourself in darkness. And for all you screw-the-schedule folks out there, the app is completely adaptable, so if you decide to sleep in for the morning—tequila hangover!—or embrace a gorgeously sunny day, you just tell the app and it'll adjusts your settings.
(And because we’re a culture obsessed with lifestyle data and quantifying our lives, the app will also create a flow graphic that presents a visual representation of your current schedule and your target schedule—which you can then, you know, share on Facebook or something.)
Fun fact: You probably already knew that circadian rhythms dictate your sleep (or lack thereof), but did you know they also affect body temperature, your immune system, and your hand’s grip strength?
Since light is the predominant data source (or pacemaker) for our circadian clock, manipulating the body’s exposure to light at the right times can trick it into adapting to a new time zone more quickly. Surprisingly, it doesn’t take waking up at wacky times and flashing bright lights in your eyes to retrain your body — all you gotta do is teachin your body the new dusk and dawn times; researchers found that being exposed to long periods of bright light or darkness does the trick.
Enamored? Intrigued even? You can help the cause if you’re jones-ing for some entrepreneurial karma—consider submitting your data on the app. It'll anonymously send your lighting history, travel schedule, jet-lag ratings and demographic information to the researchers who will then use it to test and improve their mathematical model.