Health Guide
Drug Guide

Jet lag

What is it?

Jet lag is the feeling of tiredness and fatigue that may come with traveling across time zones.


When traveling across time zones, your body's internal clock gets "out of synch." The pineal gland (in the brain) makes melatonin (a hormone) in response to changes in the daylight. This cyclic production of melatonin can regulate several important functions in the body. If you cross time zones, the body's internal clock can easily and slowly reset itself. With airplane travel, several time zones can be quickly crossed, going faster than the speed with which the body's internal clock can reset itself. This may be a bigger problem when time is lost traveling from West to East.

Signs and Symptoms:

There may be many symptoms with jet lag. These include fatigue, daytime drowsiness, headaches, nausea (upset stomach), and not being able to sleep. You may also not be able to do normal activities.

Wellness Recommendations:

Medical Care:

Sleeping medicine may help you sleep on a long flight. It may also help jet lag symptoms after you arrive at the place you are going.

Dietary Measures:

Herbs and Supplements:

Before taking any herbs or supplements, ask your caregiver if it is OK. Talk to your caregiver about how much you should take. If you are using this medicine without instructions from your caregiver, follow the directions on the label. Do not take more medicine or take it more often than the directions tell you to. The herbs and supplements listed may or may not help treat your condition.


Complementary Therapies:

Other ways of treating your symptoms : Other ways to treat your symptoms are available to you.

Talk to your caregiver if:

Care Agreement:

You have the right to help plan your care. To help with this plan, you must learn about your health condition and how it may be treated. You can then discuss treatment options with your caregivers. Work with them to decide what care may be used to treat you. You always have the right to refuse treatment.


1. Petrie K, Conaglen JV, Thompson L et al: Effect of melatonin on jet lag after long haul flights. BMJ 1989; 298(6675):705-707.

2. Sasaki M: Jet lag syndrome. Nippon Rinsho 1998;56(2):396-403.

Last Updated: 9/15/2016

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