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Researchers Create 'Body Hack' App That Shortcuts Jet-Lag Recovery [Video]

Update Date: Apr 11, 2014 10:02 AM EDT
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Researchers have revealed a different kind of jet-lag mobile app that equips previously unknown shortcuts to help travelers snap their internal clocks to a new time zones as efficiently as possible.

"Overcoming jet lag is fundamentally a math problem and we've calculated the optimal way of doing it," said Danny Forger, a professor of mathematics at the U-M College of Literature, Science, and the Arts. "We're certainly not the first people to offer advice about this, but our predictions show the best and quickest ways to adjust across time zones."

The app released for iPhone is called Entrain and is believed to be the first to take a numbers-based approach to "entrainment" - the scientific term for synchronizing circadian rhythms with the outside hour.

The basic idea around the app is that light from the sun and in wavelengths appear to out eyes as the color blue, is actually the strongest signal to regulate circadian rhythms.

Few shortcuts that the app offers include custom schedules of light and darkness depending on the itinerary.

The schedules boil down to one block of time each day when you should seek the brightest light possible and another when you should put yourself in the dark, or at least in dim light. You don't even have to be asleep, read the press release.

"The way other approaches get these points to line up again is by inching along on the outside of the circle, sometimes pushing you towards and sometimes pulling you away from the target. But our schedules can just cut through the middle," said Olivia Walch, a mathematics doctoral student who built the app in the press release. "This is almost like a body hack to get yourself entrained faster."

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