Mathematicians create app to overcome jet lag

The University of Michigan has released Entrain, a new app that's intended to deal with the effects of jet lag that still affects many travelers today. Research has shown that light is the key to dealing with jet lag, which has been linked to heart disease, and diabetes.

To help work out when you need periods of light and dark, Olivia Walch, a graduate student, developed the iPhone app using this research. People can enter their normal sleep schedules, select where they will be going, and what kind of light they'll be exposed to so that Entrain can then create a personalized sleep schedule.

The app is said to help your sleep schedule improve within 48 hours, and to fully recover from jet lag in just four days. This is a drastic difference compared to the 7-13 days it can take for the symptoms to completely subside without intervention. The app is capable of testing infinite scenarios to determine how to help you overcome jet lag. Studies have shown "that all it really takes is to alter your body's perception of dawn and dusk" reports Fiona MacDonald of Science Alert.

"We thought the answer would be extremely complicated" but it turned out to be simpler than they thought, says Daniel Forger, mathematical biologist at the University of Michigan.

The Entrain app is available for iPhone on the App Store.

Source: iTunes via Science Alert | Image via Shutterstock

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14 Comments

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I typically have a pretty spotty sleeping schedule as it is, so it's usually not an issue for me when it comes to jet lag. I sleep whenever I have time. :p

I find that going east to west is fine, but going west to east kills me. Going from Colorado to England a few weeks ago took me a good 5 days to adjust.

i dint have any jet lag after my first transatlantic flight, except that when i was flying i was trying to sleep for 8 hours and couldnt

"four days".. which is the time it takes to completely recover normally anyway? (unless you travel with kids, then it's weeks :()

ZipZapRap said,
"four days".. which is the time it takes to completely recover normally anyway? (unless you travel with kids, then it's weeks :()

It really depends on how far you go. Usually your body adjusts about an hour / time zone going east, and an hour 1/2 / time zone going west, per day. So when you travel from New York to LA, might only take 4-5 days to adjust 100%, but going LA to Dubai, it'll take 10 days.

Goldfire86 said,
They had an app for this 20+ years ago?

not the App, but the suggested sleeping (re-)schedules are already there.