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Jet Lag (Time Zone Change Syndrome)

What is jet lag (time zone syndrome)?

Jet lag (time zone change syndrome) often results in symptoms including difficulty initiating or maintaining sleep, excessive sleepiness, and a lack of daytime alertness following rapid travel across multiple time zones.

What causes jet lag?

The primary cause of jet lag is crossing time zones. People who have a fixed daily routine often suffer jet lag the most.

What are the symptoms of jet lag?

The symptoms begin within one or two days after air travel across at least two time zones. Jet lag symptoms include:

  • Insomnia
  • Excessive sleepiness
  • Decreased daytime performance
  • Tired muscles
  • Headaches
  • Moodiness
  • Altered appetite

How can jet lag be prevented?

Some of the following tips might help you to fight the effects of jet lag:

  • Reset your watch for the new time zone.
  • Control sleeping, including naps, to optimize sleep at the appropriate time in your new locale. It is a wise idea to limit your sleep to no more than two hours immediately after arrival.
  • Remember that daylight can help reset your internal "clock." Take a one-hour walk as soon as you get up.
  • Avoid excessive caffeine.
  • Avoid social isolation.
  • Practice good sleep hygiene.

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Can't find the health information you’re looking for?

This information is provided by the Cleveland Clinic and is not intended to replace the medical advice of your doctor or health care provider. Please consult your health care provider for advice about a specific medical condition. This document was last reviewed on: 2/28/2007...#12145