Jet Lag Disorder


Jet lag is a temporary condition that often resolves without treatment within a few days, though symptoms can sometimes persist longer. For frequent travelers, various strategies including light therapy, medications, and natural remedies can help mitigate the effects of jet lag.

  • Light therapy: Light therapy helps adjust your body’s internal clock to a new daylight schedule, facilitating sleep and wakefulness at appropriate times. This method uses devices that emit bright light mimicking sunlight, such as light boxes, desk lamps, or visors. It’s particularly beneficial for business travelers with limited daylight exposure.
  • Medications: These sleeping pills can be used during flights and for several nights after to adjust to a new time zone. Side effects may include nausea, vomiting, amnesia, and morning sleepiness. Medications are recommended for those who do not benefit from other treatments.
    • Nonbenzodiazepines: Includes zolpidem, eszopiclone , and zaleplon.
    • Benzodiazepines: Includes temazepam and midazolam.
  • Sunlight: Exposure to sunlight is the most effective natural method to reset your internal clock. Morning light aids adjustment to earlier time zones, while evening light helps with later ones. Planning light exposure before and after travel can enhance adjustment.
  • Caffeine: Caffeinated beverages like coffee and soft drinks can counteract daytime sleepiness. It’s advisable not to consume caffeine after midday to avoid sleep disturbances.
  • Alternative medicine:
    • Melatonin: Acts as a sleep aid by signaling darkness to your body. Timing is crucial; take it nightly for eastward travel and in the morning for westward travel to adjust to local time. Side effects are rare but can include dizziness and headaches.
  • Additional remedies
    • Exercise can also help alleviate jet lag effects.
    • Before trying herbal supplements or other alternative therapies, consult your health care provider to avoid interactions with other medications.