For air travelers who don't easily adapt to changing time zones, a good night's sleep upon landing is one step closer: A team of researchers has found a new drug with the potential to alleviate jet lag.
Researchers from Monash University in Australia, the Brigham and Women's Hospital in Boston, Harvard Medical School and Vanda Pharmaceuticals found that the drug, tasimelteon, acts on the brain's melatonin receptors, which are involved in circadian-rhythm processes.
"It improved the ability to fall and stay asleep when bedtime was shifted earlier by five hours," says Monash University's Dr. Shantha Rajaratnam, likening this to travelling east and setting back the clock by five hours. He said the drug could also ease sleep disorders caused by shift work.
In their paper, published in The Lancet, the researchers say tasimelteon is still under study.