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Sweet Dreams Are Made Of This? Unusual Travel Gadgets Help You Cope With Jet Lag

(April 2000)

Let's face it: sleeping on planes, trains, buses or cars can be miserable and elusive experiences. I have yet to meet a person who has no trouble sleeping on transportation unless they are lucky enough to be in a first class sleeper seat.

Over the years, many devices and medications have sought to relieve sleep-deprived travelers. Melatonin, inflatable pillows, buckwheat neck pillows, earplugs, and eye masks are just a few of the many remedies. None of them completely blocks out all light or sound, however. My personal favorite is the blanket-over-the-head trick. It works for me on red-eyes, but still I don't quite fall into a restful sleep.

Helmet Head

Leave it to some crazy Californians to come up with a contraption that puts a pillow, mask and earplugs all in one. Check out the Dreamhelmet, a device invented to eliminate all outside nuisances and to help you sleep. Invented for travelers by travelers, the Dreamhelmet costs $29.95. In addition, it also functions as a pillow, and (believe it or not) a hand muff. It comes in three colors and fabrics: blue denim, tan corduroy, and leopard spotted crushed velvet so you can look semi-fashionable while looking like Darth Vader. May the sleep be with you.

Ray Of Light

Understanding how the human body functions with jet lag is the first step toward helping you cope with it. Some companies tout miracle cures for jet lag, including acupuncture, aromatherapy, and special diets. While these options may help relax and soothe the body, they do not offer a cure. One of the most promising and scientifically valid treatments slowly coming to the market is light therapy.

Light therapy is the use of artificial lights to accelerate the adjustment of your body clock. Scientific research has shown that exposure to light at specific times during your body's circadian cycle sets your clock eastward, and at other times, westward. The theory is therefore to seek bright light at the correct time and avoid sunlight at specific times. One product touted as jet lag light therapy is Bio-Brite's Jet Lag Visor, a $339 device that supplies a beam of bright light to help regulate your body clock. While it is pricey, users state it does indeed help minimize jet lag effects. I see this device coming down in price in the near future and not just in visor form.

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