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Light exposure control can avoid jet lag: Canadian researcher


11:14, January 04, 2013

(File photo)

VANCOUVER, Jan. 3 (Xinhua) -- Travelers can reduce or even prevent jet lag by adjusting their exposure to light before or shortly after traveling, a Canadian researcher said earlier this week.

Jay Olson, a psychology teaching assistant in Simon Fraser University, pulled details from myriad jet lag studies to create a way to calculate a prevention response that is available on his website(

"Most people experience jet lag when traveling across time zones. But with a few simple steps it may be completely preventable," said Olson, who became interested in how to prevent jet lag after sleeping through the first week of afternoons on a Europe trip.

Jet lag occurs when the body clock does not sync with the destination' s time zone. Olson said evidence shows that light exposure at the right times can shift the body clock, and therefore prevent jet lag.

To seek light, travelers can expose themselves to bright and continuous light by going out in sunlight or using a commercially-available portable light box. To avoid light, they can stay indoors away from sunlight, or wear dark sunglasses, according to Olson.

"The hard part is calculating when to seek or avoid light, since these times differ for each person and each trip," said Olson, whose website does the calculations automatically and tailored to individual needs.

The free website requires the users to type in the departing and arriving places and time, as well as the usual sleep and wake up time. It then gives detailed suggestions on when to seek or avoid light.

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