Jet lagged? Here's a new app for that

4/13/2014

WASHINGTON (AP) — Lots of apps claim to help you fight jet lag. Now Michigan researchers say mathematical formulas suggest it's possible to adjust faster than previously thought, and they've created a free app to help.

WASHINGTON (AP) — Lots of apps claim to help you fight jet lag. Now Michigan researchers say mathematical formulas suggest it's possible to adjust faster than previously thought, and they've created a free app to help.

A free iPhone app named Entrain does the calculations. The app customizes a block of time each day when you should be in light, and another when you should avoid it. Stay indoors, or stay up later, and it adjusts the advice.

The app hasn't been tested with travelers to see whether it really helps more than general advice, such as to seek morning light when traveling eastward. But after using it, travelers will be given a choice of submitting their data to a University of Michigan study.

"Before we really believe it, it has to go through testing," cautioned sleep-medicine specialist Dr. Steven Altchuler, an assistant professor of psychiatry at the Mayo Clinic College of Medicine, who wasn't involved in the project. But "there's very little risk of harm if someone wants to try these things."

Most people adjust fine with general advice, but adjusting faster may be more important if travelers must be at their best for, say, sports competitions or a business negotiation, Altchuler added.

"I think it makes sense," said Dr. Charles Bae of the Cleveland Clinic's sleep disorder center. "Anything you could do to optimize your adjustment is welcome, without medications."

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