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Today in Health & Wellness
HEALTH CONDITIONS

Jet Lag

Overview
Symptoms
Risk Factors
Commonly Prescribed Drugs
Treatment and Management
Doctors to Consult
Overview

Common Name/Other Name

Desynchronosis; flight fatigue; jet lag disorder; rapid time zone change syndrome

Jet lag or desynchronosis is a common disorder among travelers. It occurs when a person travels across time zones. The rapid change disrupts the circadian rhythm of the body and the body has to adjust to the new local time zone the traveler is in.

Although temporary, jet lag can cause fatigue, impaired sleeping pattern and in some cases, gastrointestinal problems.

Symptoms
  • Disturbed sleeping patterns such as insomnia or excessive sleepiness (hypersomnia)
  • Daytime fatigue
  • Irritability
  • Stomach problems
  • General discomfort
  • Difficulty in concentrating or functioning
Risk Factors
  • Traveling across three or more time zones.
  • Flying east. It is more difficult to adjust if you are going east where travelers "lose time".
  • Occupation. Those who frequently travel like pilots and flight attendants are more prone to jet lags.
  • Alcohol consumption can worsen the effects of jet lag.
  • Sleep deprivation and stress prior to travel.
  • Age. Older people may take more time to recover from jet lag.
Commonly Prescribed Drugs
  • Melatonin
  • Sleeping pills like benzodiazepines and nonbenzodiazepines may help with insomnia.
Treatment and Management
  • Try adapting to your new schedule before leaving. Move your sleeping time according to the time zone of the location you are traveling to.
  • Avoid alcoholic and caffeinated drinks. These may cause dehydration and trigger jet lag. Stay hydrated with water instead.
  • Do not take a nap as soon as you arrive at your destination no matter how tired you are. Adjust your sleep according to the new time zone.
  • Take a hot bath before sleeping. This helps ease sore muscles from travel and help you relax. It also helps induce sleep.
  • Bright light. Regulating light exposure according to the time zone of your destination to help your body adjust easier to the change.
Home Remedies
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