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World first device to stop sleep struggles

  • 22 November 2012
  • Written by 
  • Published in Health

Australian scientists have launched a world first wearable wrist device that resets your body clock.

Invented by sleep researchers at Flinders University in South Australia, the portable device helps high flyers beat jet lag, keeps shift workers more alert and gets teenagers out of bed in the morning by re-timing the body's internal clock.

Known as Re-Timer, the device is worn like a pair of sunglasses and emits a soft green light onto the eyes.

Chief Inventor Professor Leon Lack said “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.

“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.

“Our extensive research studies have shown that green light is one of the most effective wavelengths for advancing or delaying the body clock, and to-date is the only wearable device using green light.”

According to Lack, people who suffer from a mistimed body clock lie in bed for hours frustrated they cannot fall asleep, and in the morning they wake fatigued which limits their performance during the day.

Professor Lack said he recommends wearing the glasses for three days for 50 minutes each day after awakening in the morning to advance the body clock i.e. fall asleep and wake up earlier. Or if falling asleep and waking up too early is the problem, wear them for 50 minutes before bed if you want to delay your body clock i.e. wake up later.

“The glasses have been designed to be user friendly and comfortable to wear so people can go about their normal activities wearing them at work or at home,” Professor Lack added.

Based on 25 years of university research and development, Professor Lack said the Re-Timers are the most advanced bright light therapy devices now on the market.

“I’m a strong advocate for light to treat mistimed body clocks because it is safer and in many cases more effective than drug alternatives," he said.

South Australian Minister for Manufacturing, Innovation and Trade Tom Koutsantonis said Re-Timer is an outstanding example of the type of home-grown innovative product the Soth Australian Government is aiming to encourage through its Manufacturing Strategy.

“Manufacturing Works is a strategy for ensuring local firms can successfully transition into becoming globally competitive manufacturers,” Mr Koutsantonis said

“Re-Timer is a high-value product for a niche market, which competes on value for money, rather than solely on cost and has been developed in collaboration between SMR and Flinders University with support from State Government funding.

“This successful collaboration is evidence of what can be done when our manufacturing companies link with major research institutions for commercial outcomes and is exactly the kind of partnership we are promoting with the Innovation Voucher Program.

“I congratulate SMR and Re-Time on this fantastic innovation and I wish both companies ongoing success as they begin exporting the product,” he said.

Re-Timer is available from today at $249, from the Re-Timer website.


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