Re-Timer resets body clock to counter jet lag
By Darren Quick
November 20, 2012
It’s taken a few years, but the LED light glasses developed at Australia’s Flinders University that first attracted our attention back in 2003 are finally seeing a commercial launch. Now called Re-Timer, the wearable device emits a soft green light onto the eyes to reset the body’s internal clock to counter jet lag, improve the alertness of shift workers and make waking up in the morning easier.
Like the Litebook and Glo Pillow concept, the Re-Timer mimics the benefits of sunlight by using light to stimulate the part of the brain responsible for regulating our 24-hour body clock. The result of 25 years of sleep research at Flinders University, the device is worn like a pair of sunglasses that emit light rather than blocking it.
“Body clocks or circadian rhythms influence the timing of all our sleeping and waking patterns, alertness, performance levels and metabolism,” said Psychologist Professor Leon Lack, the device’s chief inventor. “Photoreceptors in our eyes detect sunlight, signal our brain to be awake and alert, and set our rhythms accordingly. These rhythms vary regularly over a 24-hour cycle. However, this process is often impaired by staying indoors, traveling to other times zones, working irregular hours, or a lack of sunlight during winter months.”
Lack says that his teams’ studies have shown that green light is one of the most effective wavelengths for advancing or delaying the body clock and that the Re-Timer is currently the only wearable device available that emits light of this wavelength. He adds that the device’s light therapy is a safer and, in many cases, more effective treatment for altering sleeping patterns than drug alternatives.
For those looking to advance their body clock forward, Leak recommends wearing the Re-Timer for 50 minutes each day for a period of three days after waking in the morning. To delay the body clock and wake up later, the same period of use should be used, but just before going to bed.
The device weighs 75 g (2.6 oz) and is designed to be worn over reading glasses so as not to inhibit reading or working. Its lithium ion battery is recharged via an included USB cable with a full charge powering the device for roughly four hours.
The Re-Timer can be ordered online for AUD$249 (US$258), with the site also providing a frequent flyer calculator that indicates the best times to use the device to minimize the effects of jet lag based on your particular flight.
The video below highlights the benefits of the Re-Timer.