For many travelers, jet lag is just one of those things that must be suffered. After arriving in a different time zone, your body is forced to adjust its circadian rhythm, resulting in up to a week of grogginess during the day and restlessness at night.
The standard treatment in recent years has been exposure to bright light for several hours a day in preparation for a trip. Recent studies have found that exposure to flashing light, either early in the morning or late at night (depending which way around the globe you’re going), can actually speed up the body’s adjustment to new time zones. Better still, you don’t even have to be awake for the treatment.
San Francisco-based startup LumosTech will soon take advantage of this research with its Smart Sleep Mask, which uses built-in sensors and hardware—including multiple LED lights, Bluetooth, and a microprocessor—to deliver “personalized light therapy” to help people adjust to jet lag and other sleep disorders. The mask has a pre-release price of $175 and will be available early 2017.
In the meantime, there are two jet lag-battling apps available, and for much less:
Jet Lag Rooster is an app that allows you to enter where and when you are going and designs a customized plan for countering jet lag—including a “sleep ideal,” or best time to turn in for the night. Jet Lag Rooster is based on extensive jet lag research, and offers a supporting site with information about sleep and sleep cycles. The app is free and available for both Android and iOS.
Entrain takes a different tack in the fight against jet lag. This mathematician-built app simulates your body clock to compute optimal light exposure schedules. After entering your travel information, you can select what kind of light you will be exposed to—office light or natural light, bright light or low light. The Entrain app will then offer a schedule for optimal light exposure and recommended sleep hours. Critics have pointed out that sometimes the offered schedules are not entirely feasible (remain in the dark from 2pm to 10pm?) but for those who suffer extreme bouts of jet lag when they travel, this app, available for free for both Android and iOS, is a good option if you’d rather avoid spending the first couple days in a new place in a zombified state.