Jet Lag can be an annoyance that’s hard to get over–do I stay up really late one night? Do I nap? Should I be eating right now?
An app promises to help us get past that. This app, called Entrain, aims to help travelers manipulate their circadian rhythm through the use of light.
This app can help you start adjusting ahead of time. I like that idea because when I flew to Hawaii last, it took me about four days to adjust. Four days! I couldn’t even stay awake long enough to make it to a 8:00pm stargazing event we bought tickets to.
Entrain is released by the University of Michigan and is available in the iTunes store. The Android version is in development.
There’s a FAQ on the Entrain website that answers some of the science-y questions you may have, such as:
Q. Where do the recommended schedules come from?
- A. The schedules are computed using techniques from the theory of optimal control. The big idea is that, given equations describing the human circadian clock, we can ask what light stimulus moves that clock from one “phase” to another in the least amount of time. A detailed explanation of the math involved can be found in the paper presenting the schedules, available here.
The name Entrain itself is a technical term referring to the adjustment to a new circadian rhythm.