Could eye drops ease or even cure jet lag symptoms?

(WXYZ) - Jet lag is often an annoying side-effect of traveling to different time zones or working night shifts. Your body wants to stay on its original sleep schedule and can be slow to adjust. 

But scientists may have discovered a way to treat jet lag. 

A new group of cells located in our eyes have been linked to the body’s response to light changes. Researchers at the University of Edinburgh believe there’s a potential for developing eye drops to get rid of jet lag.

The retina is the tissue lining the back of our eyes and it’s sensitive to light. It communicates information to a part of our brain which coordinates our circadian rhythm, our internal body clock.  

Researchers were able to interfere with this signaling in a study with lab rats.

For those like me who head to different time zones and want to lessen their jet lag, here are my prescriptions:

  • Before traveling, try to be well-rested. Starting out sleep deprived can worsen jet lag.
  • Once you’re on the plane, set your watch to the new time and try to not sleep until it’s nighttime in the destination that you’re heading to.
  • Drink plenty of water before, during and after the flight. Dehydration worsens jet-lag symptoms.
  • Melatonin or sleeping pills may help. But they may not lesson your jet-lag symptoms. Talk to your doctor first to find what’s right for you.

Short-term jet lag can lead to indigestion, disrupted bowel function, daytime sleepiness, difficulty sleeping at night, and reduced physical and mental performance. 

Long-term sleep disruption can cause several health problems, including gastrointestinal and cardiovascular diseases, depression and increased risk of cancer.

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