TIMESHIFTER jet lag app

By Tamara Michael
This item appears on page 12 of the November 2019 issue.

During the summer of 2018, I discovered the TIMESHIFTER app, which creates plans to lessen jet lag based on your sleep pattern, chronotype and flight itinerary. TIMESHIFTER is a science-based circadian algorithm app developed with a Harvard Medical School professor who works with astronauts and Formula 1 drivers.

I decided to download it and give it a try.

My November trip to Myanmar for the hot-air balloon festival would be perfect to test the app. After selecting the departure date and providing the airport along with connecting airport information and arrival time in Yangon, TIMESHIFTER calculated my personalized plan.

Colored bars on the screen showed my daily, 24-hour time line, starting three days before departure. Three shades of yellow indicated the amount of light I should be exposed to (Avoid, Some or Bright); brown referred to caffeine (Use caffeine, Avoid caffeine), and blue shades meant sleep (Go to sleep, Take a nap… or nap if you can, that is).

At first glance, it seemed overwhelming, and I thought, ‘No way am I going to be able to follow this.’ But after starting, it was easy to follow, though it was challenging at times when my body wanted to sleep and the app indicated ‘stay awake.’

What was the end result? I experienced very little jet lag and adjusted to the Myanmar time zone quickly without my usual afternoon exhaustion slump. Thumbs up!

(After I got home I was jet lagged but, truthfully, I didn’t even think about using TIMESHIFTER on the return home. Lesson learned!)

The app is free to download on Apple and Android, and the first jet lag plan (one way or round trip) is free, but after that there is a charge. A jet lag plan for an individual trip costs $4.99, or an annual subscription to the TIMESHIFTER service, with unlimited trips, costs $24.99.


Winston-Salem, NC