According to a new research published in the Journal of Clinical Endocrinology and Metabolism, a single light-box and over-the-counter drug Melatonin can help the travelers a lot to avoid jet lag. These two simple interventions reset the circadian body clock before crossing several time zones. Besides this, the treatment can also help the people who suffer from delayed sleep phase syndrome (DSPS). DSPS is a persistent condition that results from a misalignment between a person’s internal biological clock and the outer social environment.
The study researchers studied 44 healthy adults (24 males and 19 females) and they are randomly assigned one of three treatments- placebo, .5 mg Melatonin or 3 mg Melatonin. Participants were assigned a strict eight-hour sleep schedule that was similar to their earlier sleep pattern. Moreover, they had to remain in bed, in the dark, trying to sleep throughout the eight hour scheduled sleep/dark period. On the 7th day, each person was given a baseline phase assessment, starting seven hours before and three hours after their beginning bedtime. The people then slept in the lab and were awakened at their scheduled wake time. The participants continued on this sleep pattern through out the 10th day of the study.
The days 11th and 13th marked the treatment period of the study, during which the participants slept in the dark, temperature-controlled bedrooms. Each afternoon, all the persons received either .5 or 3 mg Melatonin or placebo. The study ended with the final assessment on the 14th day.
The study results revealed that those given melatonin experienced larger phase advances that are 2.5 hours in .5 mg group and 2.6 hours in 3 mg group as compared to 1.7 hours with placebo. Besides this, the participants did not experience jet lag type symptoms. On the basis of these results researchers recommended the use of .5 mg melatonin along with morning intermittent bright light for resetting the biological clocks.