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Step 1 of 6
Action Set
Sleep Problems: Dealing With Jet Lag

You can't wait to go to your sister's wedding and see family and friends. But you're not so thrilled at the idea of the long cross-country flight from California to North Carolina.

You feel fine for a while after you get there. But later that night, you have trouble sleeping, even though you're tired. And your stomach is giving you problems.

You have jet lag.

  • Jet lag happens when you fly across one or more time zones. Most people need to cross three time zones to notice jet lag. The more time zones you cross, the worse jet lag may be.
  • Jet lag may make it hard for you to fall asleep, stay asleep, or stay awake during the day. It also can make you feel weak, or you may lose your appetite. You may not be able to have a bowel movement (constipation), or you may have diarrhea.
  • Jet lag can happen to anyone. Your age, fitness, health, and how often you fly don't make a difference in whether you get it.
  • Jet lag usually is worse when a person flies east rather than west. In other words, it will be worse when a person goes from the United States to Europe than from Europe to the U.S.
  • Jet lag makes you feel bad, but it isn't serious. Most people get better 3 to 4 days after their flight.
  • The supplement melatonin may help relieve the symptoms of jet lag. Sleeping pills may help too. But both of these also have downsides.

how.gif  How can you deal with jet lag?

Up Next in This Action Set:


  1. Herxheimer A (2008). Jet lag, search date June 2008. Online version of BMJ Clinical Evidence:

ByHealthwise Staff
Primary Medical ReviewerKathleen Romito, MD - Family Medicine
Specialist Medical ReviewerLisa S. Weinstock, MD - Psychiatry

Current as ofNovember 14, 2014

WebMD Medical Reference from Healthwise

Last Updated: November 14, 2014
This information is not intended to replace the advice of a doctor. Healthwise disclaims any liability for the decisions you make based on this information.

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