Jet lag is all too familiar to those of us who travel frequently across time zones. But one new app is aiming to solve our travel fatigue once and for all.
According to Timeshifter: “Jet lag is history.”
I was curious to understand what this app does and how it works to beat jet lag. I reached Mickey Beyer-Clausen, co-founder and CEO of Timeshifter – The Jet Lag App to get all the details.
Let me start by sharing that Mickey knows too well what it feels like to struggle with jet lag. As a native of Denmark living in New York, he has traveled back and forth to his home many times. He described one trip he used to struggle with prior to Timeshifter: New York – Copenhagen – a trip going East and crossing 6 time zones.
The departure from New York was at 11.30pm followed by a 2-hour inflight meal service, and then arriving at Copenhagen at 12:30 pm the next day. It would take him almost a week to adjust, and he would have trouble getting up in the morning and would wake up on the second night between 1-2am and not be able to fall back asleep for hours.
Mickey has over 10 years of experience in developing apps to help people improve their mental performance and well-being. In 2009, his company, Mental Workout joined forces with Virgin Atlantic to create an app called “Flying Without Fear.”
With Timeshifter, Mickey and his team, which includes Dr. Steven Lockley, a renowned expert in circadian rhythms, sleep and jet lag, has synthesized a plethora of neuroscientific research to help combat jet lag.
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Shedding light on jet lag
What are some jet lag myths and misinformation out there?
Most people apply generic routines that will not help them tackle the underlying cause of jet lag, and might even make their jet lag worse! For example, getting as much sleep as possible inflight can actually be counterproductive if done at the wrong time. Food or exercise, contrary to common belief, don’t do much to adjust you to a new time zone.
The key to overcoming jet lag is all about light exposure. “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,” he says.
Their website explains: “Generic jet lag advice is, well… generic. It won’t reduce your jet lag and can make it worse. Each traveler and trip is different and requires a personalized approach taking your sleep pattern, chronotype, flight plan, and a range of personal preferences into account.”
Timeshifter is based on the latest research in sleep and circadian neuroscience developed with a leading expert in the field of circadian rhythms, Harvard Medical School Associate Professor Steven Lockley, Ph.D.
What works? Can you beat jet lag?
Jet lag can be history if we “proactively shift the circadian clock in our brain,” explains Mickey. But how do we do that?
Two things matter: light exposure and optionally melatonin. The idea is to shift the circadian clock to a new time zone by timing when we are exposed to light and when we avoid light.
The app offers tips like when to expose yourself to light and what type, dose, and time to potentially take melatonin to effectively beat jet lag. When Timeshifter tells you to see light when you’re in a dark room/airplane, just turn on any available lights and/or increase the brightness of your computer/tablet.
When Timeshifter tells you to avoid light, and you can’t avoid it because you’re out in the sun or in a brightly lit room, just put on your favorite sunglasses. By following Timeshifter’s advice, you can adjust 3-4 times faster to a new time zone.
Who’s using it?
Luxury resort company Six Senses is offering the app to its hotel guests to ensure they maximize their vacation time. Under Armour is recommending Timeshifter to elite athletes to accelerate recovery and reduce the effects of jet lag to give them a new competitive edge.
As Mickey said throughout our conversation, it’s all about timing. And if the timing is off, beating jet lag is a losing battle.
Have you tried the Timeshifter app? We would love to know what you think!