Jet lag refers to the disruption of sleep patterns and other circadian rhythms that result from abrupt changes in time zones. The adverse effects of jet lag may lead to insomnia, indigestion, reduced physical and mental performance and general malaise. The effects of jet lag can be reduced by the use of effective strategies.
Travelers who take medication on a strict time schedule (e.g. insulin, contraceptive pill) should seek medical advice. General measures to reduce the effects of jet lag may include:
- Be well rested before departure and rest as much as possible during the flight. Ensure that you have as much sleep in every 24 hours when traveling as you would at home and use sleep opportunities effectively, including naps. It is not always appropriate to adjust to local time for short trips – if in doubt seek specialist advice.
- Wear loose, comfortable clothing
- Drink plenty of water and/ or juices before and throughout the flight
- Eat light meals and limit consumption of tea, coffee and alcohol before and during the flight
- Short-acting sleeping pills may be helpful in assisting the adjustment of sleeping patterns after arrival. However, use these only under medical supervision and ensure that they are tried and tested at home before using them when traveling
- Stay out in the natural daylight or in brightly-lit areas at appropriate times during the day to help adjust more quickly to the time zone of the destination
IATA Resolution 700/Recommended Practice 1700
IATA In-flight Management Manual, 1st edition issued 1 July 2001
World Health Organization (WHO) International Health Regulations