What is jet lag?

Jet lag is also known as “time zone change syndrome”. People suffer from jet lag after having traveled rapidly across time zones, or in other instances where their sleep is disrupted. Changes to schedules due to work, for example, can cause similar symptoms.

When it comes to business travel, jet lag can seriously disrupt the productivity of travelers while also becoming a risk to health.

What are the symptoms of jet lag?

Jet lag is an unpleasant experience that can often cause a person to suffer from headaches, insomnia, and irritability. In some cases, the individual may experience confusion and mild depression, as well as a loss of appetite and stomach issues ranging from diarrhea to constipation.

How can jet lag be avoided?

Travelers can use a variety of techniques in an attempt to avoid suffering from jet lag. These include:

  • Avoid drinking alcohol and caffeine during the flight which can exacerbate symptoms.
  • Drink lots of water and stay hydrated.
  • Change the time on watches and phones to the time in the target destination.
  • Regularly stretch and walk throughout the flight.
  • Tackle sleepiness on the flight by strategically timing naps that will not affect the overall sleeping schedule.
  • Time flights so that the established sleeping schedule is not affected.
  • After arriving, sleep at the time in the target destination and “power through”.
  • Avoid heavy meals and physical exertion after landing.
  • Adapt as quickly as possible to the local timetable.

How can jet lag be treated?

If a traveler finds that they are suffering from jet lag, there are currently no known treatments. Travelers will find, however, that if they enjoy a generally healthy lifestyle (good physical fitness and diet) the symptoms they experience will be less severe.

Is jet lag worse flying from west to east?

Yes. This is because when travelers fly to the east hours are taken away from the day, giving the body less time to adjust. Flying to the west means that the body has more time to adjust and acclimatize with the new time zone.

What length of flight causes jet lag?

Generally speaking, travelers will not experience jet lag after having crossed just one or two time zones. Flights longer than this, however, can cause travelers to experience those symptoms. Naturally, the longer the flight the worse the symptoms will be.

Related Questions

Does jet lag get worse with age?

The general health of the traveler plays a significant role in determining just how severe the symptoms will be. Travelers aged over 50 may find that they are more susceptible to the effects of jet lag, but the general health of the traveler is the key factor.