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Special Mask Fights Jet Lag
March 31, 2015   
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A special mask designed by three young Poles can help travelers enjoy a good night’s rest and cope with the effects of a lack of sleep after a long plane trip. The NeuroOn mask also helps elderly people adjust their circadian rhythm. It’s enough to put it on and go to bed.

Research on thermonuclear fusion being conducted internationally aims to demonstrate that it is economically feasible to develop power plants using such a source of energy. Special Mask Fights Jet Lag.

The mask can be a godsend for many people suffering from sleep problems. “Research carried out in the United States has shown that more than 25 percent of the population in that country has trouble sleeping, falling asleep and waking up refreshed,” says Kamil Adamczyk, one of the designers of the mask.

One of the main uses of NeuroOn is to tackle the effects of a jet lag, which occurs when you travel by plane, especially from west to east, across more than four time zones. So far, there is no effective treatment for this problem.

The NeuroOn device is also designed to help deal with so-called shifted sleep phase syndrome, which often affects elderly people. They go to bed at 8 or 9 p.m. and get up at 3 or 4 a.m, due to an accelerated sleep phase. “Our device makes it possible to regulate the circadian rhythm,” says Adamczyk, who works for the Intelcliniccompany.

The mask monitors brain waves, eyeball movements, muscle tension, the blood oxygen level and pulse to determine a person’s sleep phase and affect his or her circadian rhythm by using light therapy and built-in light-emitting diodes. Pulsed light with an appropriate wavelength is used for this purpose. It affects sensors in the brain, making it possible to move a person’s sleep phase forward or backward.

The mask is controlled by an application on the user’s mobile phone, to which data such as the duration of sleep, place of departure and the destination, in addition to biological parameters, is fed. NeuroOn calculates a plan of exposure to light and determines when the user should avoid sunlight.

The mask ensures comfort and isolation from external light. It can be easily used at home with no special training. All you have to do is put it on and go to sleep.

The key to the work of the whole system is melatonin, a hormone produced in the brain that helps us fall asleep. Researchers have found that there is an inverse correlation between the level of melatonin and body temperature, which changes regularly during sleep. Using an appropriate algorithm that takes into account data such as body temperature and light intensity, it is possible to calculate the level of melatonin in the blood of the person using the mask. When this level is the highest, it is necessary to stimulate the brain with light.

“We can cheat the body a bit. If we imitate sunlight in the right way... we can control the circadian rhythms,” says Adamczyk.

The human body can adapt to the environment because special light receptors help us understand what environment we are in. If you put a person in a dark cave, it will turn out that his or her circadian rhythms last longer than 24 hours, Adamczyk says. This also explains why our body adapts to the time zone even when we fly to the other end of the world. After some time we know when to sleep and when to wake up.

The designers of the NeuroOn mask raised more than $400,000 for putting their idea into practice through a popular crowdfunding site at the beginning of last year. A year earlier, during the international Le Web conference—which brings together entrepreneurs and influencers who shape the future of the internet—their project was hailed as the most innovative startup in Europe.

Olga Majewska
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