media release

Shedding light on preventing jet lag

January 02, 2013

Jay Olson,
Marianne Meadahl, PAMR, 604.209.5770;

Simon Fraser University researcher Jay Olson says travellers who adjust their exposure to light prior to travel may bypass jet lag. Calculating just how to do that is the premise of his new, free website,

Olson, a psychology teaching assistant, pulled details from myriad jet lag studies to create a way to calculate a prevention response, available on his website. An article on Olson’s approach appears in today’s Scientific American: Mind Matters.

“Most people experience jet lag when travelling across time zones. But with a few simple steps it may be completely preventable,” says Olson.

Jet lag occurs when the body clock does not sync with the destination’s time zone. Olson says evidence shows that light exposure at the right times can shift the body clock, and therefore prevent jet lag.

“The hard part is calculating when to seek or avoid light, since these times differ for each person and each trip,” says Olson, whose website does the calculations automatically and tailored to individual needs.

”By shifting the body clock before the trip or shortly after arriving, people can prevent or at least reduce jet lag.”

Olson also studies how magicians influence people in a bid to learn more about memory and decision-making.

Simon Fraser University is Canada's top-ranked comprehensive university and one of the top 50 universities in the world under 50 years old. With campuses in Vancouver, Burnaby and Surrey, B.C., SFU engages actively with the community in its research and teaching, delivers almost 150 programs to more than 30,000 students, and has more than 120,000 alumni in 130 countries.


Simon Fraser University: Engaging Students. Engaging Research. Engaging Communities.

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