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New Technology at 2019 CES Las Vegas May Get You Sleeping Better and Help You Avoid Jet Lag

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LTD gave some basics in dealing with Jet Lag last year, but today we will go into more detail about the science behind jet lag and what new technological innovations may help you sleep better and avoid jet lag!

Remember, if you have questions related to your health, always consult your doctor or medical professional. The information presented here is informative only and is not medical advice.

CES Las Vegas is the world’s gathering place for all those who thrive on the business of consumer technologies. It has served as the proving ground for innovators and breakthrough technologies for 50 years — the global stage where next-generation innovations are introduced to the marketplace.

Owned and produced by the Consumer Technology Association, it attracts the world’s business leaders and pioneering thinkers.  One of the latest areas of innovation and very visible at 2019 CES was health related concepts.  With sleep being one of the greatest concerns of travelers, it is no surprise that we saw many new exhibitors with sleep enhancing products.

Jet lag, also known as circadian desynchrony, is a sleep disorder in which there is a mismatch with the body’s natural circadian rhythm and the external environment as a result of rapid travel across multiple time zones. This common problem affects all age groups but may have more pronounced effects on the elderly, whose recovery rate is slower than that in young adults.

Many factors, such as the number of time zones crossed and the direction and timing of flights, play a role in the severity of jet lag

Circadian rhythms are biological rhythms that drive changes within humans. For example, we have circadian rhythms of alertness and body temperature. Usually these rhythms align with the environment’s natural light and dark cycle: peak drowsiness occurs around 5:00 AM, when it is often dark out. Jet lag occurs when our rhythms no longer align with the environment. Flying from Vancouver to Moscow — 12 hours ahead — means that peak drowsiness occurs at 5:00 PM, when one would usually want to be alert.

Our internal clocks are regulated by “Zeitgebers” which are rhythmic cues in the environment that synchronize the internal body clock to the earth’s 24-hour light–dark cycle. Light is the strongest Zeitgeber; other non-photic Zeitgebers include temperature, social interaction, pharmacological manipulation, exercise, and meal timing.

A multitude of factors, such as the number of time zones crossed and the direction and timing of flights, play a role in the severity of symptoms experienced by travelers. You may notice some are affected more than others because there is much individual variability in each person’s ability to adapt. Travelers usually experience symptoms after air travel across at least two time zones. Symptoms may include disturbed sleep, daytime fatigue, decreased ability to perform mental and physical tasks, reduced alertness, and headaches. Sleep disturbances typically last for a few days, but they can persist for as long as one week if the change in time zones is greater than eight hours. Eastward travel is associated with a longer duration of jet lag than westward travel.   More serious side effects have included cognitive deficits, gastrointestinal disturbances, and an increased risk of cancer, infertility, and heart disease.  And as you may have experienced, as the body’s internal circadian “clock” adapts to the new time zone,  jet lag diminishes.

Strategies to minimize the effects of jet lag include adjusting the sleep schedule according to the new location during the days preceding the trip. This approach may be helpful for travel that lasts for more than a week, but it does not appear useful for short-term trips. Both alcohol and caffeine can adversely affect quality of sleep when they are consumed a few hours before bedtime; caffeine intake should be planned to enhance daytime alertness. When passengers are traveling, they are advised to avoid alcohol, especially while they are being treated for jet lag.

Treatment may include non-pharmacological therapy alone or non-pharmacological therapy combined with nutraceuticals or medication therapy. A non-pharmacological approach, including adequate exercise, hydration, and appropriate timing of exposure to bright light, can aid in the adjustment to a new time zone. Nutraceuticals and over-the-counter therapies like melatonin,  caffeine, or Benadryl are commonly used, or your medical provider can decide if prescription agents are appropriate for you.

Light Therapy

Sunlight has a major influence on the internal circadian clock. Traveling across several time zones requires resetting and adjusting to a new daylight schedule. Natural light exposure is the ideal mechanism for counteracting jet lag. For those who travel frequently and are unable to have exposure to natural sunlight, light therapy may be a viable option. Light synchronizes the body clock by exposing the eyes to an artificial bright light that simulates sunlight for brief periods at planned times during the day. Various modalities include a light box, a lamp, and a light visor.

Bright light exposure is the most powerful way to cause a phase shift — an advance or delay in circadian rhythms. Light in the early morning makes you wake up earlier (“phase advance”); light around bed time makes you wake up later (“phase delay”).

Calculating when to seek and avoid light depends on the number of time zones crossed, direction of travel, and usual wake and sleep times. These calculations can be done automatically online, or manually by following some rough guidelines:

  1. Estimate when your body temperature reaches a minimum. If sleeping 7 or fewer hours per night, assume this is 2 hours before your usual wake time. If sleeping more, assume this is 3 hours before your usual wake time.
  2. Determine whether you need to advance or delay your circadian rhythms. If you are flying east (to a later time zone), such as from Los Angeles to New York, you will need to phase advance. Otherwise, if you are flying west, you will need to phase delay.
  3. If you need to phase advance, avoid light for 4 hours before your body temperature minimum, and seek light for 4 hours after it. Otherwise, do the opposite.
  4. Shift your estimated body temperature minimum by one hour earlier per day if phase advancing, or one and a half hours later per day if phase delaying.

Melatonin

Melatonin’s utility in the management of jet lag has been the subject of many studies.When making travel plans, particularly over a distance of five or more time zones, travelers should take melatonin on the day of travel at the projected nighttime hour in the new time zone and on subsequent days in the new time zone. In the case of flights that cross seven to eight time zones, it may be beneficial to initiate melatonin one to three days before the intended day of travel in order to better acclimate the traveler to the new time zone.

Common adverse effects of melatonin have included daytime sleepiness, dizziness, headache, and loss of appetite and these are more common when you use doses above 5 mg, so doses ranging from 0.5 mg to 5 mg are recommended to use for phase shift of your sleep.

Melatonin Plus Light Therapy

Combining melatonin and light therapy at appropriate times can mitigate the symptoms of jet lag. The timing of light or melatonin administration should be tailored to the individual’s body clock at the time of departure to gradually shift the body clock to that of the new time zone.  For example, with a three-to six-hour hour eastward time zone change, such as from New York City to Paris, France, travelers should receive bright light on the day before and on the day of departure in order to advance (shift) rhythms. They should avoid evening light exposure, which delays circadian rhythms.

Melatonin should be administered in the mid-afternoon of the departure city (at approximately 3 p.m.) to mimic an approximate bedtime in the destination city (at approximately 9 p.m.). On the day of arrival, travelers should avoid evening light and should take melatonin at the new bedtime in the destination city. Circadian rhythms should advance by one to two hours each day with time zone changes, and melatonin can be taken one to two hours earlier each day until the traveler has adjusted.

A phase delay may be easier if the time zone change is close to 12 hours. In this case, the traveler would want evening light exposure, avoiding daytime light exposure and taking melatonin in the morning to promote a phase delay.

Caffeine

In a review studies of persons with jet lag or shift work, caffeine improved concept formation, reasoning, memory, orientation, attention, and perception when compared with placebo. For these reasons, caffeine is a common remedy for treating sleepiness induced by jet lag and who doesn’t love a good cup of coffee when we get to our destination?

Benadryl

To date, no studies of OTC Benadryl for use in jet lag syndrome have been conducted, even though this is the most common OTC agent used for insomnia. Side effects include daytime sleepiness, cognitive impairment, dizziness, blurred vision, and dry mouth and throat. Self-medication is a common problem that can result in adverse outcomes, especially in older adults. The use of Benadryl should be avoided in elderly persons, who are often more sensitive to its side effects.

It’s not surprising that in view of this information, techies have been eager to develop the best products for delivering light or sleep therapy to road warriors.  The 2019 Las Vegas CES had many exhibitors doing just that:  showing their versions of light therapy in all shapes and sizes hoping to provide the best cure for jet lag or just providing ways to get you sleeping better even before you go.  If you understand the things that affect your sleep and work on improving it even before you leave for that great getaway, your ability to phase shift will be even better!

 Sleep wellness products at the 2019 CES Las Vegas

1.  Pocket Sky

Designed and made in Austria, this slim wearable unit its portable. Two weeks‘ of
Smallest and lightest wearable dispensing light on the go. One-size-fits-all. Plug & play. Automatic wireless charging.

Designed, engineered and made in Austria. Treatments are 20 minutes per day with recommended therapy for travel on their website.

Flying east: Start a couple of days before your journey. Get up earlier and indulge yourself with pocket sky. After your arrival use pocket sky in mid morning for another few days, readjusting your inner clock by two hours each day.

Flying west: Use pocket sky in the late afternoon for a couple of days before departure. Upon arrival use pocket sky early in the afternoon.

Courtesy of Pocket-sky.com

2.  DreamOn

Using pulse wave therapy to mimic brain patterns seen during deep sleep, DreamOn claims to provide help with sleep regulation.  DreamOn utilizes low-frequency pulses to gently activate your body’s natural sleep process and guide your mind to rest.  Each state of mind (awake, light sleep, deep sleep, etc.) has a unique signature — commonly known as a brainwave.
Brainwaves can be manipulated to mirror the pattern of an external signal in a process called Entrainment. By emitting the low-frequency signal of deep sleep via gentle pulses on your skin, DreamOn encourages your brain to replicate that signal, sending you into a deeper sleep, faster.  Using DreamOn as a means of sleep phase advancement.

Courtesy of DreamOn.co

3. Kokoon

Their ergonomic bluetooth headphones aid, protect and monitor sleep by applying EEG sensing capabilities. Kokoon raised just under $2m on Kickstarter in 2015 and have their first device hit the market in early 2018.
Using Sensors to make your audio intelligent, Kokoon adapts to you and your environment; quietening as you fall asleep and learning what’s helping you rest and relax. By using Integrated EEG Sensors, Kokoon uses movement and EEG data to understand your relaxation and sleep.
Kokoon’s Sleepguard technology alters your audio if you fall asleep to ensure you’re not disturbed.

This system will use a smart phone app to monitor your data to see how you respond to their audio, and learn what works for you.

Kokoon learns as you listen and over time and delivers personalized recommendations that work for you. Use Kokoon to aid your sleep wherever, whenever.   By improving your sleep regulation before, during and after travel,  jet lag may impact you less.

Courtesy of Kokoon.io

4.  Kryo Sleep Performance System

Sleep experts agree the ideal sleep temperature is between 60-68 degrees. Kryo is a mattress topper that can make that happen.  Kryo is a water-based, app-controlled cooling mattress topper that actively cools down to 60℉  (16℃) improving your REM and deep sleep by as much as 20%.  Kryo’s integration with the leading sleep tracking devices, including Fitbit, Jawbone UP and Misfit, uses your sleep data to improve your REM and Deep Sleep over time. Kryo’s warm awake feature will help you drift from drowsy dreams to a more natural awakening instead of an abrupt alarm.

Courtesy of Chili Technology

5.  Moona

If you feel temperature is an issue that may be affecting your sleep and don’t want to use an entire mattress pad, maybe a temperature-regulated pillow may be enough.  Moona uses a similar concept as Kryo, but provides the ability to help regulate your temperature during the night and waking hours without affecting whomever may be sharing your bed.  Body temperature can be affected through your head and scalp, so using a pillow may be enough for you.

Courtesy of getmoona.com

6.  Umay Rest

If you are someone who uses meditation regularly or want to try it to sleep,  consider Umay, 2019 Innovation Award Honoree by CES for “Tech for a Better World”.  Umay’s patented technology is based on decades of research on thermal therapy to help restore eye health; combined with our proprietary Thermal MeditationTM, Umay helps digital device users find stress relief and reset the effects of screen time by resting the mind and restoring the natural function of our eyes.Designed to naturally fit into your bedtime, wellness routine or anytime time discreetly during the day. Umay Rest® is portable and comes complete with a USB charger so you can continue with your day wherever you are.

Courtesy of twitter.com/umaycare

7. URGONight

URGONight, the first non-invasive daytime brain training solution for a better sleep, is named as a CES 2019 Innovation Award Nominee in the Wearable Technology category.  Developed by neuroscientists and sleep experts, URGONight uses the same technology previously only available to clinics and sleep researchers. Now, EEG-feedback therapy for sleep is available in the comfort of your own home.  Learn to Sleep Better Without Wearing Anything to Bed at Night
This non-invasive brain training solution uses an electroencephalogram (EEG) measurement device + Personalized brain exercises on an app.

Courtesy of URGONight.com

8. Wellnest HABITLUM

This is a smart sleep light which helps user to fall asleep easier, while tracking and analyzing their biometric data during sleep. Our mobile App is able to track, record, and analyze user’s sleeping behavior, so they can adjust their sleeping routine to improve their overall sleep quality.  HABITLUM is designed to adjust sleep hormones and chemicals, such as melatonin, using light tailored to your needs.

Courtesy of Wellnestgroup.com

CONCLUSION

Jet lag is a sleep disorder common to travelers of all age groups. The disorder is caused by rapid travel across multiple time zones, where our circadian system is not able to adjust to the rapid shift in time zones. The speed of resynchronization of circadian rhythms to the new time zone depends on multiple factors, including the number of zones crossed, the direction of travel, and the traveler’s ability to adapt to the new location. Factors exacerbating jet lag symptoms include sleep deprivation, prolonged uncomfortable sitting positions, air quality and pressure, stress, and excessive caffeine and alcohol intake. Jet-lagged travelers may experience disturbed sleep, daytime fatigue, poor performance in mental and physical tasks, decreased alertness, and headache.

A wide array of prescription and OTC products have been the focus of study in the management of jet lag and technological innovators are rapidly producing new products that may assist in our ability to get a good sleep at baseline and hopefully use these products to phase shift our internal clocks before, during and after our travel.

Make Meaningful and Healthy Travel Happen!

About the Author Michelle

I am a travel maniac! Because I travel so much around the world, I look for solutions to make my travel easier. I get asked all the time about the travel gadgets I use or my recommended items. It makes me happy to share these things with you to make healthy and meaningful travel happen!

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