Causes and symptoms of jet lag

The body clock is set for regular light and dark cycles. This lets you know when it is time to eat, sleep, wake up, and perform other functions. By changing time zones, this clock goes out of sync. Air travel conditions can also contribute to jet lag . Symptoms of jet lag can vary, but often include:

• fatigue
• Sleep disturbances such as insomnia, daytime sleepiness, or waking up very early
• Difficult to focus
• Headaches
• Upset stomach, diarrhea, or constipation

Symptoms last only a few days. You should wait about a day to recover for each time zone crossed. For example, if six time zones were crossed, it may take almost 6 days to get used to the new schedules. You may not be able to completely avoid jet lag, but try taking some steps to help reduce symptoms:

• Start adjusting your sleep-wake cycle before the trip. Change your schedules a few days before.
Get plenty of rest before the flight. If you start the trip tired, it will cost you much more to recover.
• Drink lots of fluids during the flight. It will help you stay hydrated.
• Avoid alcohol and caffeine. Both alcohol and caffeine can make you dehydrated. Also, alcohol can make you drowsy.
• On the plane , reset your watch to the time zone of your destination. Act accordingly: if it is night, try to sleep.