We have this expression in Flemish, ‘reizen is altijd een beetje lijden’, to travel is always to suffer (a little). It’s the whole process of travelling, the fact of having to pack (and unpack), the stress that you might miss a plane or train, the fact that you nearly have to undress completely when you go through security, or maybe you just hate driving or getting stuck in traffic. Reasons enough to suffer!
But there is one extra factor that might cause annoyance, that is the jet lag.
After my previous post the urge to fly away, a friend asked me if I know the time shifter app, which he had successfully used in one of his overseas trips. I checked the app’s website and there you find the exact same information as in my previous post : you need to shift your circadian rhythm when traveling through time zones, but instead of calculating the average temperature minimum as I suggested (as Andrew Hubberman suggests), you just download an app.
Which is what I did. The download and the first trip are free. After that you must pay about 9,99$ per trip or 24,99$ for a full year. (they also have business plans for companies).
It’s pretty easy to use. You fill in your flight information, and answer a few questions, and you are set to go. Important : make sure to do that a few days before you fly, as you start shifting your circadian cycle a few days ahead of your travels.
When it’s time to start shifting, the app sends you notifications, telling you what to do, going from ‘in 30 minutes expose yourself to light’ to ‘in 30 minutes start winding down’, etc, advise you either follow or ignore.
I decided to follow the advise completely, which is pretty easy all together, but what I found extremely interesting is how to deal with light during your flight. The app tells you when to be in the dark or in the light, when to have a nap etc. I used to be that person who slept during the whole (13h) flight, now I was awake most of the time, listening to a thrilling audiobook while having an eye mask on.
Nonetheless, I had my circadian clock shifting 7h with no trouble at all. Not feeling miserable for a moment, not being tired. No jet lag pains for me this time!
Here is my review :
It’s pretty easy to use. It tells you what you need to do and it is not really difficult.
If you follow the suggestions, it works great.
They have a chat service 24/7 in case you are having problems with the app.
You can chose wether you use melatonine or not. I chose not to.
They assume that at the moment you wake up and go outside go outside to get bright light that there actually is light. That is not always the case. And even though there is always artificial light, it is not as effective as the sun. I have now traveled east from autumn to spring. I have yet to test the app traveling towards a dark winter…
It does not do its job for people with a rigid schedule. The less you follow it, the less it will help you, as you can well expect. It is not for everybody.
I find it a very easy tool to address jetlag.
It is well worth the money. Especially the pay per trip is convenient or those who travel occasionally, but the year plan is best for those traveling more than once a year.
-take an eye mask and/or sunglasses
-take something to do in the dark, like an audiobook, podcasts, music…
Download the app, and try it out ourself! The first try is for free!
Photo by Deva Darshan on Unsplash