Jet Lag

Definition

Jet lag is best described by a disruption of the body’s own 24-hour clock. Frequent travelers for example, experience changes in time zones resulting in jet lag. Shift workers may also experience jet lag. For example, individuals working the night shift after keeping a daytime work schedule

Is there any treatment?

Here are some tips to help prevent jet lag:

  • Maintain a sensible bedtime schedule prior to your trip. Don’t avoid sleeping in order to make yourself tired.
  • Consider going to bed earlier for a couple of nights before leaving if you are traveling east. Go to bed later for a couple of nights if you are traveling west.
  • For short trips, maintain a schedule of eating and sleeping at your usual time, if possible, while at your destination.
  • Drink plenty of liquids, but avoid alcohol and caffeine.
  • If you exercise regularly, continue to do so at your destination. Avoid exercising late in the evening because it can keep you awake.
  • For important events or meetings at your destination, try to arrive in advance to have time to adjust to the time difference.

Melatonin, a hormone sold in supplement form at health food stores, may help decrease jet lag. Try taking 1-3 milligrams of melatonin at bedtime for several days once you arrive at your destination.