Jet Lag:Causes and Treatment

By  ,  Onlymyhealth editorial team
Sep 20, 2014
Quick Bites

  • Jet lag is the body's reaction to travelling between time zones.
  • Factors that contribute to jet lag are air pressure and time zone shift.
  • Even a small amount of alcohol during air travel can lead to jet lag.
  • You need to adjust your sleep schedule over several days to get over it.

Jet lag, also referred to as jet lag disorder, is a sleep disorder that affects travellers traversing through time zones. The effects of jet lag can affect one for several days and even a week. This occurs owing to desynchronisaton of circadian rhythms while traversing meridians. In other words, it is a condition in which an individual struggles to adapt to the shift in time.


jet lag causes



There are several factors that contribute to passengers experiencing jet lag, including atmosphere, alcohol consumption and air pressure.

Time Zone Travel
– The most common factor to cause jet lag is time travelling across time zones. It throws the body’s internal clock out of sync, and leaves one in a sluggish state. If a person crosses more time-zones, the effects can be severe.

Atmosphere – Air pressure and the air on board planes is dry which can cause discomfort for people (especially who live in humid weather conditions). One of the common complications related to atmosphere on planes is headaches in passengers. To cope with the created atmospheric pressure, it is advised to drink more water before and during the plane trip.


jet lag treatment


Beverages – Even a small amount of alcohol during air travel can lead to jet lag or increase the effects of jet lag. Similar to alcoholic beverages, those beverages that are high in caffeine can also cause stomach discomfort. Moreover, juices with a high acidity level can also be abrasive and leave passengers feeling uncomfortable.



The following things may help you get over a jet lag.

  • Set your watch to local time if you haven't done so.
  • Eat a protein breakfast, such as an omelette. A protein breakfast will keep you up.
  • Get out in the sun for the body to soak up natural sunlight.
  • Get outdoors for some physical activity or workout to keep your body moving.
  • If you are feeling slugglish in the afternoon, take a short nap (for not more than 2 hours).
  • Go to bed at the time you usually do even if you feel like sleeping at 6. Just hold out until at least 8 a.m. so that you won't wake up too early in the next morning.
  • If you have arrived in the evening/night, eat a high-carbohydrate meal as it will make you drowsy.
  • If you aren't sleepy when it is time to go to bed, consider different ways to induce sleep including a hot bath with lavender oil, a cupful of chamomile tea or a massage.


For several days, there can still be the disparity between your internal body clock and the time zone you've travelled to. The recommended method of getting over jet lag remains adjusting your sleep schedule over several days.


(Image source:Gettyimages)

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