Expert Advice

The Astronaut’s Cure for Jet Lag

by Darlene Fiske
All images courtesy of Timeshifter.

What would you do to never again suffer jet lag? (As much as we would?) Sleepers, rejoice: The scientific solution you've been dreaming about might be a download away.

Fear and loathing used to take over my body when traveling internationally. Back in my 20s, no big deal: I’d take a nap and get discombobulated on my time zones. (All in the name of adventure!)

But now, not in my 20s, every moment matters. From the second my plane touches down in a foreign land, I want to maximize my time. (Don’t we all?)

A few years ago, I found a solution to jet lag, and it hasn’t failed me since. People don’t believe me when I talk about it. Maybe they don’t want to put in the work. But the work is minimal and the reward is maximal, so I don’t see what the problem is.

My secret weapon? The Timeshifter app.

Here's how it works:

1. Sign up. Your first “shift” is free. And after, that it’s $24.99 per year. About the price of five coffees at a foreign airport. (Which, hello?! Total bargain. What would you pay to not ever have jet lag again?)

2. You input your dates of travel and flight information, answer a few questions (Are you a night or morning person? Do you like caffeine? Are you into melatonin?), and — presto! — it creates your plan.

3. You wait. A few days prior to departure, the app sends your first assignment. And by “assignment,” I mean suggestions for bedtime, wake time, caffeine time, and — the most important – exposure to light time (or not, if you’re going into night hours).

4. You follow the rules. I’m a rule follower and a Virgo, so this part is easy for me. Maybe not so much for other people. Yes, Timeshifter might suggest you stay awake when you are really (really, really) tired. And vice versa: It will ask you to sleep when you are not tired. If you can’t sleep, it’s okay, as long as you follow the recommendations for light exposure. Yes, that might mean turning on a light when everyone around you is sleeping. It's okay. They will survive. And you will thrive.

The app based on the latest circadian neuroscience was developed by working with NASA astronauts, who remain loyal users, along with Formula 1 drivers and Olympic athletes. Here’s one more name to drop: Timeshifter’s chief scientist, Steven W. Lockley, Ph.D., is also a neuroscientist at Brigham and Women’s Hospital and an Associate Professor of Medicine in the Division of Sleep Medicine at Harvard Medical School. 

In other words, this isn’t some fly-by-night, shady Silicon Valley tech bro nonsense.

My first time using Timeshifter was on a 19-hour flight to Singapore to attend the Global Wellness Summit. Every summit attendee had been gifted a trial subscription to prepare for our overseas travels. I needed to be ready to go from the get-go, which was going to be a challenge since the time difference between Singapore and Austin is a total flip-flop of day and night.

Reader, I had no jet lag. You can imagine how grateful I was when I met Mickey Beyer-Clausen, co-founder and CEO of Timeshifter, at the summit, where it was first introduced to the wellness industry. Now every time I run into him (always overseas), I brag that I’m becoming the best timeshifter around. I’m hooked.

If it's good enough for space travel, it's more than good enough for me. Then again, the proof is in the shut-eye.

We make every effort to ensure the information in our articles is accurate at the time of publication. But the world moves fast, and even we double-check important details before hitting the road.