What is jet lag?

Jet lag is a disturbance to a person's body clock. Flying through three or more different time zones upsets the 24-hour circadian rhythms to which the body is biologically accustomed. These rhythms help tell our bodies when we should be asleep and when we should be awake. Jet lag means that your body is out of synchronization with the new time zone of your destination.

Other factors during a flight that may cause jet lag include long periods of sitting, oxygen deficiency, decreased air pressure in the cabin, warm cabin temperature, and low humidity.

What are the symptoms of jet lag?

The most common symptoms of jet lag are fatigue, digestive problems, pronounced reaction to alcohol, change in mood and/or judgment, and general difficulty in functioning.

Last reviewed by a Cleveland Clinic medical professional on 09/15/2016.


Cleveland Clinic is a non-profit academic medical center. Advertising on our site helps support our mission. We do not endorse non-Cleveland Clinic products or services. Policy