The science of jet lag.

Jet lag is not just about feeling “off” for a couple of days. In reality, the consequences are wide-ranging and costly. The good news is that the latest sleep and circadian neuroscience can help us tackle the underlying cause of jet lag and arrive at our best. It’s time to replace guessing with science.

 
 

The real consequences of jet lag.

 
 
Jet lag consequences for business travelers
Jet lag consequences for athletes and sports teams
Jet lag consequences on vacations
 

We have been doing it all wrong.

 
 

There are many persistent misconceptions about how to cure jet lag. Until now, we have relied on advice from non-experts and trusted false product claims. Sleep as much as possible on the plane", "use sleep medications", "use jet lag massages, acupuncture, or special diet", "trust airplane lighting", “get onto local time as soon as possible”, “use caffeine to power through”, etc.

 
 
 
Our Chief Scientist, Dr. Steven Lockley, is an Associate Professor of Medicine in the Division of Sleep Medicine at Harvard Medical School, and an international leader in circadian rhythms, sleep and jet lag. He has spent 25 years studying sleep and works with clients such as NASA Astronauts and Formula 1's elite.
 
 
Unfortunately, no generic solution can help you tackle the underlying cause of jet lag, and might even be counterproductive, making your jet lag worse.
— Steven W. Lockley, Ph.D. Associate Professor of Medicine at Harvard Medical School
 
 

The jet lag science we have all missed.

 
 

Dr. Steven Lockley is a renowned expert in circadian rhythms, sleep, and jet lag. He has spent 25 years studying sleep and works with clients such as Formula 1’s elite and NASA.

 
 
 
Most life on earth is adapted to the daily light/dark cycle caused by the rotation of our planet. We have a 24-hour circadian clock, also called the suprachiasmatic nucleus (SCN), that helps us manage the regular rhythm of our day. Jet lag is caused when the sleep/wake and light/dark cycle shift too quickly for our circadian clock to keep up.
— Steven W. Lockley, Ph.D.
 
 
Our 24-hour circadian clock, also called the suprachiasmatic nucleus (SCN), that helps us manage the regular rhythm of our day. Jet lag is caused when the sleep/wake and light/dark cycle shift too quickly for our circadian clock to keep up.
 
 

The key to quick adaptation is timed light exposure.

Surprising to many, light is the most important time cue for resetting your circadian clock. Managing when you see and avoid light is critical to adapting to new time zones quickly. The right light exposure at the right time can significantly accelerate your adaptation. Seeing light at the wrong time will make your jet lag worse.

TheBrain_TimedLight.png
 
 
 

Melatonin supplements can speed up adaptation.

 
 

In addition to light, the right type and dose of melatonin, at the right time, can help you shift faster and sleep better.

The right type and dose of melatonin, at the right time, can help you with jet lag.
 
 

How timed light and melatonin affect your circadian rhythm.

Phase response curves (PRCs) are the foundation of jet lag science. Phase response curves will show you how bright light and melatonin can help produce phase advances or delays.

 
Phase response curve: How timed light and melatonin affect your circadian rhythm to eliminate jet lag
 

Ways to keep your energy up while traveling.

 
 

Using timed light and melatonin is the only way to eliminate jet lag. However, even if you have shifted your circadian clock to a new time zone, you might still experience fatigue due to insufficient sleep. There are a couple of ways you can boost your energy level if you feel fatigued.

 
Get energy from caffeine without disrupting your sleep

Caffeine

Caffeine is a powerful stimulant and can help you stay awake at times when you should see light, to help reset your clock more quickly. But be careful, using caffeine at the wrong time (too close to your bedtime) or in excessive quantities can have negative effects on your sleep quality.

Naps can be an additional tool to help maintain high levels of alertness and performance

Napping

Naps can be an additional tool to help maintain high levels of alertness and performance, but they need to be scheduled at the right time to give you maximum recovery without affecting your scheduled night-time sleep.

 
 
Astronauts and elite athletes were the first to start timeshifting to eliminate jet lag.
 

Astronauts and elite athletes have timeshifted for years.

Astronauts and elite athletes were the first to start timeshifting. We have defined Timeshifting as the action of someone who times light exposure and light avoidance, sleep and napping episodes, melatonin use, and caffeine intake to quickly “reset” the circadian clock to a new time zone.

One of them is retired NASA Astronaut, Mike Massimino, who went on two missions to repair the Hubble Space Telescope, and was the first person to tweet from space. Today, he uses the Timeshifter app to timeshift when he travels internationally.

 
 
 
Whether traveling for business, going on vacation, or competing in a sports event abroad, the Timeshifter jet lag app, will help you arrive ready to go
 

Timing is everything.

The challenge is to find out the right timing for when to see and avoid light, take melatonin, enjoy caffeine without it compromising one’s sleep quality at night, etc. Solving this challenge is deceptively complicated, and can only be determined based on the traveler’s sleep pattern, chronotype, and itinerary. An app like the Timeshifter jet lag app can create personalized jet lag plans with all of this in mind. By precisely identifying the actions to take and the timing of those actions, Timeshifter helps travelers tackle the underlying cause of jet lag.

Although travel is part of your life, jet lag doesn’t need to be.