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New device to benefit shift workers

Researchers from Flinders University have launched a world first wearable device that resets the body’s internal clock, which may put an end to irregular sleep patterns.
The device, known as Re-Timer, is worn like a pair of sunglasses and emits a soft green light onto the eyes, and will help keep shift workers more alert.
Chief inventor Professor Leon Lack said that the light from Re-Timer stimulates the part of the brain responsible for regulating the 24-hour body clock.

“Body clocks or circadian rhythms influence the timing of all our sleeping and waking patterns, alertness, performance levels and metabolism,” Lack said.

“Photoreceptors in our eyes detect sunlight, signal our brain to be awake and alert, and set our rhythms accordingly. These rhythms vary regularly over a 24-hour cycle. However, this process is often impaired by staying indoors, travelling to other time zones, working irregular hours, or a lack of sunlight during winter months.”

He said 25 years of sleep research has led him to discover that green light is one of the most effective wavelengths for advancing or delaying the body clock, and is the only wearable device using green light on the market.

Lack recommended wearing the glasses for three days for 50 minutes each day either after awakening in the morning to advance the body clock, or before bed for those wanting to delay the body clock to wake up later.

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