Using Math to Battle Jet Lag

Travelers who cross many time zones most likely have experienced jet lag. Symptoms of jet lag include having trouble sleeping at night and the inability to stay awake during the day. This occurs due to the body’s internal time clock not being able to synchronize with local environmental cues.

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Researchers at the University of Michigan have developed a software program that uses timed light exposure to reset a person’s internal time clock. The program indicates the precise time to administer light exposure treatments, such as a blast of bright light, to counter the effects of jet lag. Based on a mathematical computations, researchers simulated sleep-wake schedules and the subsequent light interventions for realigning internal clocks with local time. They found that the mathematical computation resulted in quicker design of schedules and improved performance.

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