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The Traveller's Magazine
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Travel myth buster is back for another round. This time Finnair is the culprit, for telling its passengers it can cure jet-lag with special headsets. Can these innovative headsets really cure the effects of jet-lag? Let’s find out!

Finnair is ready to launch a new product, one that will no doubt change how passengers feel when they’re leaving Finnair aircraft after a long-haul flight. Their solution to jet-lag? An innovative headset designed to stimulate the brain with projected light beams coming from the ear cavity. Finnair is the first airline to test the technology on their long-haul flights, launching the anti jet-lag headsets at the end of March.

They’re calling it ‘revolutionary’

How does this headset work exactly? Well, the Valkee headset emanates bright lights into the ear canal which is supposed to stimulate the brain and the body’s ‘mainframe,’ helping it adjust to changes more easily.

There’s a whole science behind jet-lag but it’s mostly physiological, caused by the brain not being able to adjust to a (sometimes drastic) change in time zones while travelling long distances. People react to jet-lag differently but the most common symptoms include irregular sleep patterns, headaches and stomach/digestion problems.


The Valkee headset will mimic sunlight and if the headset is used at the right time, early in the day for travellers heading east and later in the day for travellers heading west, then jet-lag shouldn’t take its usual toll. Finnair says,

“The bright light headset simulates the effects of daylight by channelling bright light through the ear canal to very close proximity of the tissue in need of treatment, in the brain. Finnair is an innovative airline and we actively look for new ways to improve the wellbeing and comfort of our passengers.”

For now the anti jet-lag headsets are only available in Business Class on long-haul Finnair flights from Helsinki to Shanghai. The trial will run until the end of April but if the headsets prove effective, you can bet they’ll be available on all long-haul Finnair routes to use and purchase.

As for busting this travel myth, we’ll have to wait for trials to end to see if this headset can or cannot cure jet-lag. What do you think? Is the science right or is it just another placebo? Check out the Traveller’s Blog for more tips on beating jet-lag.

How do you deal with jet-lag? Do you think this headset is legit?


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2 responses to “Travel myth buster: Anti jet-lag headsets

  1. Yes the science is legitimate, however it suffers from the same view all attempts to cure jet lag do. The body clock’s ability to adjust is part of the problem and one of the easier symptoms to recognise but it doesn’t define the whole problem.

    I expect limited success from the trial as the solution gives some relief but does nothing to tackle the other underlying physiological hallmarks of jet lag. For example it was only two years ago that Cephalon tried to convince the FDA to reclassify jet lag as an illness instead of an inconvenience, so they could promote their drug Nuvigil as a jet lag cure.

    1. Thanks for the reply Chris! Can’t imagine jet-lag becoming an actual illness, seems a bit ridiculous! In any case, will be interesting to see how this new trial pans out… I’m a bit sceptic about it but hey, could work!

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