Jetlag could become a thing of the past for fatigued travellers, with new specially designed "sunglasses."
Sleep researchers from Flinders University in Adelaide, Australia, have developed hi tech spectacles that can manipulate and imitate sunlight patterns. The team says the glasses can help travellers adapt to changing time zones by emitting a soft green glow.
The light targets the hypothalamus, which is the part of the brain that regulates sleep patterns, helping the body to adapt to a new time of day.
Named the "Re-Timer", the device is claimed to be the only body-clock adjuster currently available for commercial sale. It launched officially in South Australia on Wednesday.
Jetlag Eliminating Glasses
The technology not only addresses the negative affects caused by long-haul travel: it can also bring relief to shift workers, insomnia sufferers and teenagers. Statistics show that 30% of shift workers experience day-time sleepiness, and a whopping 94% of long-haul flyers feel jetlagged.
Professor Lack, from Flinders University's school of Psychology, said extensive research over 30 years has concluded that green light is one of the best wavelengths for regulating the body clock. This then triggers circadian rhythms in the body.
"Body clocks or circadian rhythms influence the timing of all our sleeping and waking patterns, alertness, performance levels and metabolism," Lack said. "Photoreceptors in our eyes detect sunlight, signal our brain to be awake and alert, and set our rhythms accordingly."
He added that the rhythms are affected through the seasons, irregular working hours and long-haul travel.
Mr Lack said light therapy such as with the Re-Timers, which will retail for £162 in the UK, are more effective than drug alternatives. The mouldable material makes the device very comfortable to use.
He recommends wearing the device for 50 minutes every day for 3 days. If you want to advance your body clock and wake up earlier, Lack says to wear it before awakening up in the morning, or wear it before bed if you want to wake up later.
Commercialization Australia awarded Re-Time a $137,875 Proof of Concept grant in February this year, to help demonstrate the technology's commercial viability.