Jet lag disorder – Symptoms and causes – Mayo Clinic


Jet lag, additionally referred to as jet lag dysfunction, is a brief sleep downside that may have an effect on anybody who shortly travels throughout a number of time zones.

Your physique has its personal inside clock (circadian rhythms) that indicators your physique when to remain awake and when to sleep. Jet lag happens as a result of your physique’s clock continues to be synced to your authentic time zone, as an alternative of to the time zone the place you’ve got traveled. The extra time zones crossed, the extra possible you might be to expertise jet lag.

See more: How to deal with jetlag

Jet lag may cause daytime fatigue, an unwell feeling, problem staying alert and gastrointestinal issues. Jet lag is momentary, however it may considerably cut back your trip or enterprise journey consolation. Luckily, there are steps you may take to assist forestall or reduce jet lag.

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Signs of jet lag can range. You could expertise just one symptom or you’ll have many. Jet lag signs might embody:

  • Disturbed sleep — similar to insomnia, early waking or extreme sleepiness
  • Daytime fatigue
  • Problem concentrating or performing at your typical degree
  • Abdomen issues, constipation or diarrhea
  • A basic feeling of not being effectively
  • Temper adjustments

Signs worse the farther you journey

Jet lag signs normally happen inside a day or two of journey for those who’ve traveled throughout not less than two time zones. Signs are more likely to be worse or last more the extra time zones that you’ve got crossed, particularly for those who journey in an easterly path. It normally takes a couple of day to recuperate for every time zone crossed.

When to see a health care provider

Jet lag is momentary. However for those who’re a frequent traveler and regularly wrestle with jet lag, you might profit from seeing a sleep specialist.

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A disruption to your circadian rhythms

Jet lag can happen anytime you cross two or extra time zones. Jet lag happens as a result of crossing a number of time zones places your inside clock (circadian rhythms), which regulates your sleep-wake cycle, out of sync with the time in your new locale.

For instance, for those who go away New York on a flight at 4 p.m. on Tuesday and arrive in Paris at 7 a.m. Wednesday, your inside clock nonetheless thinks it is 1 a.m. Which means you are prepared for mattress simply as Parisians are waking up.

And since it takes just a few days to your physique to regulate, your sleep-wake cycle, together with most different physique features, similar to starvation and bowel habits, stays out of step with the remainder of Paris.

The affect of daylight

A key affect in your inside clock is daylight. That is as a result of gentle influences the regulation of melatonin, a hormone that helps synchronize cells all through the physique.

Sure cells within the tissue behind your eye (retina) transmit the sunshine indicators to an space of your mind referred to as the hypothalamus.

At night time, when the sunshine sign is low, the hypothalamus tells the pineal gland, a small organ located within the mind, to launch melatonin. Throughout daytime, the other happens, and the pineal gland releases little or no melatonin.

You could possibly ease your adjustment to your new time zone by exposing your self to sunlight within the new time zone as long as the timing of sunshine is completed correctly.

Airline cabin strain and ambiance

Some analysis reveals that adjustments in cabin strain and excessive altitudes related to air journey might contribute to some signs of jet lag, no matter journey throughout time zones.

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As well as, humidity ranges are low in planes. If you happen to do not drink sufficient water throughout your flight, you may get barely dehydrated. Dehydration may contribute to some signs of jet lag.

Threat components

Components that enhance the probability you may expertise jet lag embody:

  • Variety of time zones crossed. The extra time zones you cross, the extra possible you might be to be jet-lagged.
  • Flying east. You could discover it tougher to fly east, whenever you “lose” time, than to fly west, whenever you acquire time.
  • Being a frequent flyer. Pilots, flight attendants and enterprise vacationers are probably to expertise jet lag.
  • Being an older grownup. Older adults may have extra time to recuperate from jet lag than do youthful adults.


Motorcar accidents brought on by drowsy driving could also be extra possible in people who find themselves jet-lagged.


A couple of fundamental steps might assist forestall jet lag or cut back its results:

  • Arrive early. When you’ve got an necessary assembly or different occasion that requires you to be in prime kind, attempt to arrive just a few days early to provide your physique an opportunity to regulate.
  • Get loads of relaxation earlier than your journey. Beginning out sleep-deprived makes jet lag worse.
  • Progressively alter your schedule earlier than you allow. If you happen to’re touring east, attempt going to mattress one hour earlier every night time for just a few days earlier than your departure. Go to mattress one hour later for a number of nights for those who’re flying west. If potential, eat meals nearer to the time you may be consuming them at your vacation spot.
  • Regulate vibrant gentle publicity. As a result of gentle publicity is likely one of the prime influences in your physique’s circadian rhythm, regulating gentle publicity might enable you to alter to your new location.

    Basically, publicity to gentle within the night helps you alter to a later than typical time zone (touring westward), whereas publicity to morning gentle may help you adapt to an earlier time zone sooner (touring eastward).

    The one exception is if in case you have traveled greater than eight time zones out of your authentic time zone, as a result of your physique would possibly mistake early morning gentle for night nightfall. Your physique may additionally mistake night gentle for early morning gentle.

    So, for those who’ve traveled greater than eight time zones to the east, put on sun shades and keep away from vibrant gentle within the morning, after which permit as a lot daylight as potential within the late afternoon for the primary few days in your new location.

    When you’ve got traveled west by greater than eight time zones, keep away from daylight just a few hours earlier than darkish for the primary few days to regulate to the native time.

  • Keep in your new schedule. Set your watch to the brand new time earlier than you allow. When you attain your vacation spot, attempt to not sleep till the native nighttime, irrespective of how drained you might be. Attempt to time your meals with native mealtimes, too.
  • Keep hydrated. Drink loads of water earlier than, throughout and after your flight to counteract the dehydrating results of dry cabin air. Dehydration could make jet lag signs worse. Keep away from alcohol and caffeine, as these can dehydrate you and have an effect on your sleep.
  • Attempt to sleep on the aircraft if it is nighttime at your vacation spot. Earplugs, headphones and eye masks may help block out noise and lightweight. If it is daytime the place you are going, resist the urge to sleep.
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