What is Jet lag?
Jet lag is a temporarily condition which occurs when you travel through multiple time zone and it disrupts your normal sleep pattern. Symptoms usually improve within a few days as your body adjusts to the new time zone.
What are the various symptoms of Jet lag?
The main symptoms are sleep-related. They include:
- Difficulty sleeping at bedtime and waking up in the morning
- Tiredness and exhaustion
- Finding it difficult to stay awake during the day
- Poor sleep quality
- Concentration and memory problems
Jet lag can also be associated with indigestion, constipation, diarrhoea and bloating.
What can I do to manage the condition?
- Staying with usual eating and sleeping timing
- If the trip is short (2 to 3 days), it may be better to stay on “home time” and eat/sleep at the times you would at home.
- Melatonin is a chemical released by the body in the evening to let your brain know it’s time to sleep. Hence, when you are travelling though different time zone, melatonin may not be released enough. Melatonin supplements can be used for short term jet lag and to adjust sleep cycle, while the body adjust itself to the new time zone.
- Medications/Sleeping pills
- Medicines are not usually needed for jet lag. Symptoms often improve after a few days as your body clock adjusts to the new time zone.
- Sleeping tablets may be helpful if you’re having problems sleeping (insomnia). They can be addictive so it is
While jet lag cannot be prevented, but there are things you can do to minimize its effects.
Before you travel:
- Get plenty of rest
- Relax before going to bed and follow good sleep practices
- Gradually change your sleep routine – start going to bed and getting up an hour or two earlier or later than usual (in line with the time of your destination)
- Do not eat large meals, exercise, use electronic gadgets, or drink alcohol or caffeinated drinks before bedtime
After you arrive:
- Change your sleep schedule to the new time zone as quickly as possible
- Set an alarm to avoid oversleeping in the morning
- Have some outdoor activity during the day – natural light will help your body clock adjust
- Do not go to sleep until a reasonable hour for your new destination
Want to find out more?
- You can visit your nearest Unity Pharmacy and approach our pharmacists or staff on duty for more information.
- Jet Lag – NHS. (2017, August 10). Retrieved from https://www.nhs.uk/conditions/jet-lag/