New smartphone app may help travelers beat jet lag
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New smartphone app may help travelers beat jet lag

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Those of you who have ever been on long-haul flights will understand the frustration of jet lag. Now, investigators from the University of Michigan have created an iPhone app that they say offers “shortcuts” to help travelers adapt to different time zones efficiently and quickly.

The researchers of this study, Kirill Serkh and Daniel B. Forger of the Department of Mathematics at the University of Michigan, recently published the details of their creation in the journal PLOS Computational Biology.

Jet lag is a feeling of tiredness and confusion following an aircraft journey. Since our internal body clock is set to a regular rhythm of daylight and darkness exposure, it can be difficult to adapt to differences in such exposure, and our sleep-wake patterns become disrupted.

Such disruption to sleep patterns has been associated with numerous health conditions. Earlier this year, Medical News Today reported on a study suggesting disrupted sleep can speed up cancer, while more recent research found that onset of Alzheimer’s could be triggered by sleep disturbances.

The more time zones a person crosses, the more severe jet lag can become. The condition can affect mood, physical and mental performance, the feeling of hunger, digestion, bowel habits, urine production, body temperature and blood pressure.

To help overcome jet lag, medical professionals recommend taking short naps after arriving at a destination and drinking plenty of water. But according to the University of Michigan researchers, jet lag is a “mathematical problem” that can be solved with their new iPhone app, called Entrain

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