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Sunglasses Can Really Pull a Fast One on the Biological Clock, and Set a Lag in the Build Up Of Jet Lag

by Medindia Content Team on April 9, 2006 at 2:21 PM
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Sunglasses Can Really Pull a Fast One on the Biological Clock, and Set a Lag in the Build Up Of Jet Lag

If you find passengers on long haul flights sporting sunglasses, don't be surprised. They don't mean to be running for cover nor are they wearing it to enhance their looks! Sunglasses have always afforded creative utility benefits and perhaps will score very high in the range of its use. There is one more out of the hat use of sunglasses that has titillated the ingenious minds of scientists, who have revealed that sunglasses can help reduce jet lag. Now passengers on the long flights are being goaded into wearing sunglasses to bring down the fatigue and jetlag.

In a path breaking research, Scientists in Edinburgh have discovered that people can adjust their body clocks to different time zones by adjusting their exposure to light. The biological clock, when disturbed causes jet lag, which is felt as fatigue, sleepiness and muscle incompetence.

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Edinburgh Sleep Centre initiated a study for British Airways that monitored more than 1,000 passengers.

Dr Chris Idzikowski, director of The Edinburgh Sleep Centre, said that the experiment revealed that the recovery time was more than 24 hrs for every hour of time difference when you travel to the west, with out the use of sunglasses.
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He said: "The biological clock is 20,000 nerve cells in the brain; it is a physical thing and not made up like many people think. When passengers are traveling west it's like a long day for the biological clock but when flying east, the clock tries to go into reverse which is obviously harder."

Dr Idzikowski has planned out a jet lag chart to enable passengers to be aware when they should wear the sunglasses in his words, "The internal body clock steps up at dawn which is when we can manipulate exposure to light, and it's a way of fooling the biological clock. I have used this technique on a flight but you have to be aware of immigration officials as they can ask you to take them off, which weaken the outcome."

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