Jet Lag and Its Impact on Sleep

Jet Lag and Its Impact on Sleep

Jet lag is a common condition that affects travelers. It is caused by the difference in the time zones between the location of departure and the destination. The effect of jet lag on the body can be devastating. It can cause symptoms such as fatigue, nausea, headache, and general malaise. Jet lag may also cause sleep disturbances. This article will explain the symptoms of jet lag and its impact on sleep, the causes, and how to overcome it.

What Is Jet Lag?

Jet lag can occur when a person’s sleep-wake patterns become disturbed. This may lead them to feel drowsy, tired, irritable, lethargic, and slightly disoriented.

The American Academy of Sleep Medicine defines jet lag as a syndrome that involves either excessive daytime sleepiness or an inability to sleep after traveling through two or more time zones.

The body can adjust naturally to 1 to 1. 5 changes in time zones per day, but symptoms can arise if a person crosses two or more time zones in one day. The more time zones an individual crosses in a short period, higher the chances of severe jet lag symptoms.

This effect tends to be greater when traveling eastward rather than westward, while symptoms are usually most severe on the day after arrival at a destination.

Some older research suggests that jet lag symptoms may become more challenging as people become older. This could be because circadian rhythms change with age.

However, not everyone gets jet lag — research suggests that around 1 in 3 people might not experience it.

What Is Circadian Rhythm?

Your body follows a certain pattern called circadian rhythms on a single day. When to sleep and when to wake up are determined by these rhythms. Your hormones, digestion, and body temperature are some of the body processes that they affect.

Your brain is the one that guides your body’s rhythms. Light is one of the factors that can affect these rhythms. When light enters your eye, cells send a message to your brain that melatonin, a hormone that helps you sleep, can no longer be produced.

How Does Jet Lag Occur?

Jet lag occurs when lane travel crosses three or more time zones. As time zones are crossed, symptoms could be more pronounced. Jet lag is worse when traveling east than it is when traveling west, according to frequent travelers. Jet lag is related to the direction of travel because it is easier to delay your internal clock. On flights that do not cross multiple time zones, jet lag does not occur.

Some people on long-distance flights don’t get jet lag. The severity of jet lag can be influenced by multiple factors.

  • Trip details: Jet lag can be caused by a number of things, including the total distance, amount of layovers, the direction of travel, local daylight hours, length of time at the destination, and other specifics of a trip.
  • Arrival time: It’s possible that when you arrive at your destination, your rhythm will be affected. Jet lag is reduced with afternoon arrivals compared to early morning arrivals, according to some travellers.
  • Age: Jet lag can be caused by a person’s age, but studies have found mixed results. Some research on pilots found that jet lag was worse in younger people than it was in older ones.
  • Sleep before travel: Jet lag can be caused by poor sleep in the days leading up to the flight.
  • Stress: Jet lag isn’t just a problem for those who fly across time zones you can also feel tired from stress.
  • Use of alcohol and caffeine: There are many reasons why people drink alcohol and caffeine on flights, and these substances often affect the brain in ways that can disrupt sleep.
  • Past history of jet lag: People who have experienced jet lag before are more likely to have it again.
  • Individual variation: Some people are more likely to experience rhythm problems on long-distance flights than others.

Jet lag is not always easy to predict, but it’s important to know that it can affect anyone at any time and that the symptoms can vary from mild to severe. Jet lag occurs when more than three time zones are crossed during a flight.

Symptoms of Jet Lag

There are different symptoms of jet lag. You can either have one or many symptoms.

Jet lag symptoms may include:

  • A general feeling of not being well
  • Mood changes
  • Daytime fatigue
  • Disturbed sleep — such as insomnia, early waking, or excessive sleepiness
  • Stomach problems, constipation, or diarrhea
  • Difficulty concentrating or functioning at your usual level

How to Come out of Jet Lag?

A cure for jet lag hasn’t been found. Most jet lag symptoms can be treated alone. It is possible that your symptoms will go away in a few days.

It’s possible that making healthy choices will help jet lag symptoms go away sooner. You get to your destination after arriving.

Get some sun: 

It’s best to get out in the daylight, as the sun will. It is your body that knows when it is time to sleep. Artificial light sources can give you the same benefits if you cannot get outside.

Adjust your sleep-wake schedule: 

It’s possible to solve jet lag by getting on the sleep-wake schedule.

Focus on getting quality sleep: 

It is a good idea to sleep on the plane. This will help you adjust to a different time zone.

There are more drawbacks to prescription-strength sleeping pills than benefits when it comes to treating jet lag. Discuss your needs with your healthcare provider.

 Avoid new foods: 

Jet lag can be alleviated by choosing foods that your body knows how to digest for a day or two.

Drink lots of water:

The effects of dehydration can be mitigated by drinking plenty of water. If you have any questions about water safety, you should choose bottled water. Coffee and alcohol can make you more dehydrated, so avoid them.


Jet lag is when you experience a change in your internal clock. The body goes into a temporary state of disarray and can cause symptoms such as fatigue, irritability, and poor concentration.

It depends on how far you are traveling. For example, if you are flying from New York to Los Angeles, it takes about three days for the effects of jet lag to go away.

The best way to prepare for jet lag is to get plenty of rest before you leave. Also, try to drink lots of water and eat light meals.

When you arrive at your destination, try to stay awake as much as possible and go to bed early. Try to go to sleep at the same time every night and wake up at the same time every morning.


Jet lag is a common complaint among travelers, especially those who fly long distances. Jet lag is caused by a shift in the body’s internal clock. The body clock controls our sleep and wake cycles. When we travel eastward across the time zone, our internal clock is delayed. This delay can cause us to feel tired, have difficulty sleeping, and experience other symptoms. However, if you are able to adjust your schedule so that you can stay in the same time zone for your entire trip, you can avoid the jet lag symptoms.

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