A 17-hour flight to Australia was on tap for the Los Angeles Dodgers on their trek to Sydney for MLB’s 2014 Opening Series against the Arizona Diamondbacks.
The team will have a few days to adjust to the time change before they play a meaningful game on Saturday. In order to combat the jet lag, the Dodgers employed some high-end technology that was most recently used by a few Winter Olympic participants.
According to Ken Gurnick of MLB.com, the director of lighting research at Lighting Science Group, Robert Soler, assisted the team to counter the effects:
Soler helped invent an LED lamp for producing biologically-corrected light that increases spectral opponence and minimizes melatonin suppression. It’s a circadian rhythm thing. You can imagine how eyes glazed over when Soler and colleague Eliza Grove tried to explain their breakthrough in the clubhouse the other day.
But Soler got the players’ attention when he translated techtalk to English. According to Soler, his light bulbs, which gradually change from white to sky blue, lessen the effects of jet lag by fooling the body clock into adjusting to the local time clock.
It’s a sleep aid for jet lag, said Soler, who also provided the bulbs to the United States Olympic Ski and Snowboard teams in Sochi. You’d be surprised how well it works.
Soler went ahead of the team to Australia to have the lights installed in the hotel rooms and will travel back earlier to install the lights in the players homes. Along with the lights, the Dodgers also handed out some tips to players for what to do before, on and after the flight. Players had to slowly change their sleep schedules, avoid caffeine and alcohol on the flight and move around the plane. Major league players are used to travel and jet lag, but the flights and time differences aren’t as significant as they are when heading to Australia.
Management wanted to make sure the Dodgers were ready for the two-game series that’ll count in the regular season standings. After Australia, the team will take on the Los Angeles Angels of Anaheim in three exhibition games before heading to San Diego to continue the regular season.
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