What is jet lag?
What is jet lag? This common sleep disorder for long-distance travelers affects your internal sleep clock (or circadian rhythms) and can make those first couple days in your destination a foggy blur. Fortunately, there are options for jet lag treatment that can help you enjoy every moment at your destination. We’ve gathered our top five jet lag gadgets to help you leave the fog behind.
Apps to fight jet lag
One popular and inexpensive category of jet jag cure are apps that regulate your sleep. For example, TimeShifter was developed by a doctor at Harvard Medical School to personalize how you fight jetlag. You enter information such as your gender, age, the times you usually fall asleep and wake up, if you use caffeine or a sleep aid, and if you’re a night owl or early bird to help shift your sleeping rhythms before and after you fly. You’ll then receive notifications with recommendations on adjusting light, sleep and drinking caffeine. Similar technology has even been used by NASA astronauts.
Similar apps such as Entrain help to regulate your light and darkness exposure. Simply enter your current and new time zone and the app will create a personalized light schedule for you. Jet Lag Rooster app also monitors your light exposure to help in adjusting to your new time zone and sends similar notifications as TimeShifter on light exposure and sleep times. Since you can create your personalized jet lag plan before you fly, why not get ahead of jet lag with one of these easy-to-use apps?
Light therapy wearables
Another cutting-edge jet lag remedy is light therapy you can wear. Because light is one of the top cues for our brain to adjust to a new time zone, focusing on light exposure is a natural way to combat jet lag. Light therapy, such as bright tabletop lights you may have seen to fight Seasonal Affective Disorder, is used in the morning to simulate the morning sun to kick off your body’s natural rhythms.
One example of a light therapy wearable is Re-Timer, a portable light device worn on your face. This battery powered device looks like a large pair of glasses. They work by emitting a green light that provides the same benefits as sunlight to regulate sleep and waking patterns. You can wear them day or night – ideally for 50 minutes three times a week – to adjust your body clock. You can even use Re-Timer to help with insomnia, Seasonal Affective Disorder or other light deprivation issues.
Similar to light therapy wearables, traditional sleep masks are a beneficial low-tech solution to limit light exposure. While a high-quality blackout mask is best, even the airplane’s complimentary sleep mask can help. Some sleep masks have padded eye cups, making them extra comfortable.
Or, you can take your sleep mask to the next level with a mask that works with a mobile phone app to adjust light and help you regulate your sleep patterns. The mask syncs with the app and tells you when to seek light before your flight and helps you adjust to your new time zone during your flight. Neuron sleep mask measures brainwaves to gather sleep data, develop advanced sleep staging and get personalized sleep tips. Topoint Sleep Eye Mask Wireless Headphones includes built-in wireless so you can also enjoy sounds and music of your choice.
Noise-cancelling headphones and earbuds
Sound therapy, and management, can also help regulate sleep. Loud airplane cabins can make it difficult to fall and stay asleep. So, while earplugs and standard headphones are beneficial, investing in a pair of noise-cancelling headphones can enhance your sleep quality. Not only will these block out noise but can give you the auditory experience of your choice from white noise and meditations to music from the app of your choice.
Portable White Noise Machines
On the topic of sound therapy, you can continue to treat your ears to soothing sounds and regulate your sleep in your destination with a small, portable white noise machine. These easy-to-pack devices mask the background sounds in your room that can be particularly distracting in a new environment. Many machines offer a range of choices from bright or deep white noise to the sounds of the ocean. Should you prefer to pack light, there are many apps offering a wealth of white noise or soothing sounds.