New Glasses Prevent Jet Lag: No Pills Required

The glasses control the sleep hormone melatonin. Going east requires putting them on in the evening on several days before dparture. Going west requires wearing them in the morning.

University Heights, Ohio (PRWEB) January 25, 2006 — University scientists have announced a new method to avoid jet lag. Many travelers have experimented with the hormone melatonin with limited success. The new method is more reliable because it uses the body’s own melatonin. It’s been known for many years that light striking the eve causes the pineal gland to stop making melatonin. Recently it has been discovered it is the blue component in white light that causes the suppression. New eyeglasses that block the blue light can allow travel to a distant place without the disruptive effects of jet lag. These glasses are available on the web at www.lowbluelights.com. The glasses have been checked with a spectrometer to be sure they block the light that causes melatonin suppression. This is a development from the Lighting Innovations Institute at John Carroll University in Cleveland, OH.

The traveler should begin adjusting his circadian clock to the new time zone a few days before departure. He can do this without actually having to adjust is daily pattern of living. For traveling east, he should put on the glasses an hour before normal bed time the first night, two hours before bedtime the second night etc. This gradually moves his circadian clock forward in time by starting melatonin flow at an earlier hour. By the time he leaves, his internal clock is running on the new time zone. Actually going to bed an hour earlier the night before departure will help make the change. After arrival he may find it beneficial to try exposure to bright lights first thing in the morning, to cut off melatonin production. One theory is that there are two circadian clocks one that turns on melatonin (in the absence of blue light) and a second that turns it off. The lights in the morning will reset the second circadian clock

For traveling west, the traveler should start a few days before departure by putting on the glasses for an hour when he arises on the first day, for two hours the second, etc. This will push the circadian clock backward in time by allowing melatonin to flow past normal wake up time. This may have the effect of making the traveler feel sleepy so caution is required in using this method. On arrival he may want to have bright light available in the evening to prevent melatonin from starting to flow before he is ready to go to bed,

For traveling both east and west, a good general rule is to start in advance of departure one day for each time zone you are crossing. For a twelve hour difference, the technique to use should depend on whether you are traveling east or west. Because melatonin is such a powerful hormone it is not recommended taking it as a food supplement.

This application of the glasses is part of a more general effort to maximize the benefits of melatonin being carried out at John Carroll University. Using light to control the body’s melatonin offers a way to treat sleep problems. Making it available for longer times to fight cancer by wearing glasses in the evening is under ongoing study.

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