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Health Condition

Jet Lag

About This Condition

Jet lag is a disturbance of the sleep-wake cycle triggered by travel across time zones.

Symptoms

Jet lag causes a combination of symptoms, including daytime sleepiness, disorientation, poor concentration, fatigue, gastrointestinal discomfort, headaches, difficulty falling asleep, and frequent waking from sleep. The symptoms can last from a day to a week or longer, depending on the person and the number of time zones crossed.

Other Therapies

Doctors usually recommend one to two days of rest or light activity upon arrival to allow for adjustment to the new time zone. Eating and sleeping patterns should be gradually shifted to fit the local time schedule during this period. In addition, medication schedules used for treating health conditions may need to be based on elapsed time rather than a specific time of day dosing.

References

1. Petrie K, Conaglen JV, Thompson L, Chamberlain K. Effect of melatonin on jet lag after long haul flights. BMJ 1989;298:705-7.

2. Claustrat B, Brun J, David M, et al. Melatonin and jet lag: confirmatory result using a simplified protocol. Biol Psychiatry 1992;32:705-11.

3. Edwards BJ, Atkinson G, Waterhouse J, et al. Use of melatonin in recovery from jet-lag following an eastward flight across 10 time-zones. Ergonomics 2000;43:1501-13.

4. Spitzer RL, Terman M, Williams JB, et al. Jet lag: clinical features, validation of a new syndrome-specific scale, and lack of response to melatonin in a randomized, double-blind trial. Am J Psychiatry 1999;156:1392-6.

5. Petrie K, Dawson AG, Thompson L, et al. A double-blind trial of melatonin as a treatment for jet lag in international cabin crew. Bio Psych 1993;33(7):526-30.

6. Suhner A, Schlagenhauf P, Johnson R, et al. Comparative study to determine the optimal melatonin dosage form for the alleviation of jet lag. Chronobiol Int 1998;15:655-66.

7. Belcaro G, Cesarone MR, Steigerwalt RJ, et al. Jet-lag: prevention with Pycnogenol. Preliminary report: evaluation in healthy individuals and in hypertensive patients. Minerva Cardioangiol 2008;56(5 Suppl):3-9.

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The information presented by Healthnotes is for informational purposes only. It is based on scientific studies (human, animal, or in vitro), clinical experience, or traditional usage as cited in each article. The results reported may not necessarily occur in all individuals. Self-treatment is not recommended for life-threatening conditions that require medical treatment under a doctor's care. For many of the conditions discussed, treatment with prescription or over the counter medication is also available. Consult your doctor, practitioner, and/or pharmacist for any health problem and before using any supplements or before making any changes in prescribed medications. Information expires December 2018.

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