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April 2011    Download the Entire Issue (PDF) Available to the Public Vol. 26, No. 4   RSS Feed for Undercurrent Issues
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Cure Jet Lag Without Drugs

from the April, 2011 issue of Undercurrent   Subscribe Now

Natural light can cure jet lag? Studies on seasonal affect disorder and on circadian rhythms yielded this useful information for traveling divers: Jet lag can be cured, or your body re-set, simply by using full-spectrum light. It has been codified into something like a slide rule (a free download at www.bodyclock.com), and depends on your preferred wake-up time and the number of time zones you're traveling east or west.

When you get on the plane, set your watch to destination time, and from that point on, follow the schedule of exposure to three hours of full-spectrum light, followed by three hours of no light. On a long trip, say New York to Hong Kong, it means that you need to have full-spectrum light entering your eyes at a time when the cabin is dark. In pre-9/11 days, I would ask if I could sit with the pilots, who were happy to have company. Now you need mechanical help.

I use a full-spectrum light visor that makes me look a little like Geordi La Forge from Star Trek: Next Generation, but I'd rather look spacey than feel lousy. During the blocks of no light, I wear a super-dark visor. Trips with more than six or seven time zones crossed require a second day of following the light exposure rules. I buy my light visors from BioBrite (www.biobrite.com), and have used them for years. Even after trips crossing 12 time zones east or west, I have been ready to dive on the second day. The Jet Lag Visor is $299, but worth it.

For me, the real test is the gut - - not a gut feeling, but what your gut does, if you get my drift. Using light therapy, I stay on schedule. What my dive buddy and I love about the system is first, it really works, and second, there are no drugs involved. I have given my jet lag kit to a colleague who traveled to Tokyo, Paris, then India for a series of talks, and he couldn't believe it. This system really works, folks.

- - Mel McCombie

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