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Could Eye Drops Cure Jet Lag?

Also known as circadian desynchrony, jet lag is defined as a sleep disorder in which there is a mismatch with our body’s natural circadian rhythm and the external environment caused by the rapid travel across different time zones.

It’s so prevalent in fact, 93% of long haul travellers experience jet lag according to a Conde Nast survey.

Those who suffer from jet lag experience symptoms such as daytime fatigue, disturbed sleep, reduced alertness, headaches, as well as inability to perform mental or physical tasks to their full potential. Note that it is not just a short-term hurdle; epidemiological and animal studies show that it can cause long-term consequences, like cognitive deficit, GI disturbances, even cancer and heart diseases.

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Taking all of this into consideration, it is understandable that people are constantly on the lookout for a solution which would minimise or completely prevent the symptoms of jet lag.

 

Fighting Jet Lag

Over the years, some of the possible measures of prevention included getting a good night sleep prior to the departure, light meals, melatonin supplements, etc. Still, many travellers claim they are in need of a more effective and instantaneous solution.

A study conducted by the University of Edinburgh showed that eye drops could be a potential cure for jet lag. Namely, researchers have found a new group of cells in the retina which sends impulses directly to the brain region responsible for the body’s internal clock.

The fact is, all live beings respond to changes in light and dark caused by the day/night shift, and these circadian rhythms are generated by the internal biological clock. The clock is controlled by the SCN (suprachiasmatic nucleus) which is affected by the signals coming from our environment, including information received from retina regarding the light.

 

Scientifically Speaking…

The newly-found cellular group, known as ganglion cells, is responsible for sending information on the changing intensity of the light to the part of the brain which controls sleep impulses.

Researchers demonstrated that retina contains vasopressin-expressing cells that communicate with the SCN exclusively and are in no connection with our regular vision. Vasopressin represents a crucial element for the restoration of our body’s internal clock (for instance, in cases when we travel long distances or work night shifts).

 

In other words…

Edinburgh researchers have discovered a particular class of cells in our eye which showed to be sensitive to light and involved in the regulation of our biological clock. Discovering a cellular group which sends information on the intensity of light, we are one step closer to being able to manipulate our internal clock. So far it seems new-age eye drops for jet lag might just be the tool we will be using when looking to take control over our body in order to dictate its response to light (that is, time) changes.  

 

The bottom line

Reactions to jet lag vary from one individual to the other. Frequent flyers are advised to pay attention to their body’s response and learn to adapt their habits accordingly. Nevertheless, more proactive solutions like eye drops or cognitive enhancers are always welcome, and we are looking forward to further research which will highlight the most effective weapon to fight jet lag. So far, animal trials have been a real success and the future seems bright for humans, as well.

What is your take on this? Can you see the pharmaceutical industry discovering the ideal mixture of ingredients for eye drops that will become a powerful cure for the unwanted jet lag symptoms?

In case you couldn’t tell, we at Lucid are passionate about body betterment, neuro-enhancement, productivity & focus. To be kept up to date on any other blogs or infographics, add yourself to our community mailing list.
Hendrik Kruizinga

Hendrik is the Co-Founder and Chief Product Officer at Lucid. He avidly pursues great design, experiential products and the a daily dose of betterment.