Jet lag could be cured by eye drops, study finds

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Anna Pollitt
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You drink water, try to get some sleep and ditch caffeine, but it’s rare to venture into a new time zone and fully escape the alcohol-free hangover of the skies; jet lag.

A holiday mood killer and business meeting no-no, it happens when we mess around with our circadium rhythms, aka the body’s biological clock. This explains why pulling an all-nighter results in a similar feeling drowsy, fuzzy feeling to stepping off a plane after a long-haul flight.

Now, British scientists have discovered cells in the retina that send light signals to the part of our brains controlling our biological clocks. It’s a breakthrough they hope will lead to the creation of eye drops that will regulate those signals and banish jet lag.

Published in the Journal of Physiology, lead researcher Mike Ludwig, Professor of Neurophysiology at the University of Edinburgh, said: “Our exciting results show a potentially new pharmacological route to manipulate our internal biological clocks.”

However, Ludwig admitted the eye drop cure is a “long way off.”

In the meantime, the NHS advises these three key steps to swerving the condition:

  • Establish a new routine: eat and sleep in sync with your new time zone
  • Avoid napping on arrival: try to stay active until it’s bedtime in your destination 
  • Avoid arriving at night: spending time outdoors in natural light will help your body adjust to a new routine

Images: iStock


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Anna Pollitt

Anna is a freelance writer and editor who’s been making her dime from online since 2007. She’s a regular at, ITV News and Emerald Street and moonlights as a copywriter and digital content consultant.