jet lag

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Jet Lag Syndrome - Symptoms, Prevention and Treatments

Jet lag is a common disorder, affecting one's sleep habits after traveling between time zones and staying for a period of time. Normal circadian rhythms are disrupted resulting in jet lag.


It can take up to a week or more to get over the symptoms which may include irritability, depression, difficulty sleeping at the new sleep time, daytime sleepiness, loss of appetite, insomnia, disorientation and fatigue.


Jet lag may be minimized by avoiding large meals or dehydration, limiting caffeine and alcohol consumption during the flight, optimizing exposure to available sunlight following arrival from either direction of travel, breaking up the journey with a stop-over, and careful use of melatonin prior to desired sleep time (source: CDC).


Usually people that are prone to this are often given sedatives by their doctors to help them sleep through the flight and to wake up without the effects of jet lag when they land in their destination.

Ways to recover quicker from jet lag may include proper diet and nutrition, exercise, and sleep. Sunlight, according to some doctors may help reset your body's clock back in synch.

Persons traveling eastward should seek bright light in the morning, while those traveling westward should seek bright light in the afternoon. Adjustment after westward travel may be less difficult, as the traveler may more easily stay awake in the daylight as long as possible. In general, the more time spent outdoors in the first several days following travel, the faster the adjustment to the new time zone (source: CDC).

Brain and Mental Health

References and Sources: Medline, Pubmed, National Institutes of Health

last update: May 2009

This information is not intended to be a substitute for professional medical advice. You should not use this material to diagnose or treat a health condition or disease without consulting with your healthcare provider.
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