Flashes of Light May Cure Jet Lag


Many people suffer from jet lag when they travel a lot . It is a condition which may leave you tired and not able to concentrate for several days. Now, researchers have found a new method to combat jet lag. Flashes of light may help reset  your body clock and overcome time differences.

Scientists have found out that flashes of light during sleep may actually send signals to your biological clock. They may help you overcome tiredness and stay awake for longer than usual.

Up to now scientists  used light therapy by letting people sit in front of bright light for hours. The new method suggests that light flashes during sleep is more effective and lets you adjust to a new time zone better.

In a recent experiment 39 people were studied for two weeks. During this period they went to bed and woke up at the same time. Afterwards, the patients had to sleep in a lab where some were exposed  to continuous light for an hour while others were given flashes of light. Researchers found out that those exposed to flashes of light witnessed a two hour change of their circadian system, a person's so-called body clock.

Light flashes travel through eyelids and tell the brain to reset the biological clock. The light fools the brain  into thinking that the day is longer than it really is. The findings show that such a light therapy on the evening before you travel may help you adjust to a new time zone.


While short flights across one or two time zones are usually no problem longer flights or travelling from coast to coast can affect your physical condition. Not only long-distance travellers could benefit from such a light therapy. It could also be used for  night shift workers and people who change their work schedule often.


Light therapy

Light therapy may help you overcome jet lag - Image: Skin58


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  • actually = in fact, really
  • adjust = to make changes so that you can deal with a new situation
  • affect = have an influence on or change something
  • afterwards = after that
  • benefit = help, have a good effect
  • biological clock = your body's natural habit of sleeping, eating, drinking etc... at certain times of the day
  • brain = organ in your head that controls the way you feel, think and move
  • circadian system = the rhythm of people , plants and animals during a 24-hour day
  • combat = fight against
  • condition = situation
  • continuous = without a pause or break
  • effective = if something works well
  • expose = here: to let light shine on you
  • eyelid = piece of skin that is over your eye and which you can open and close
  • flash = to shine brightly for a very short time
  • fool = trick
  • jet lag = the feeling of tiredness you may have when you travel over long distances
  • long-distance = travel a long way
  • night shift = when you work during the night instead of during the daytime
  • overcome = to succeed in managing a problem
  • recent = a short time ago
  • research = to find out more about a topic by carrying out experiments
  • reset = here: to change the time so that you start at the beginning again
  • schedule = plan that shows you when to do things
  • scientist  = a person who has studied science and works in a lab
  • several = a few
  • suffer = here: when your body feels bad
  • therapy = treatment
  • witness = feel, experience