ABC Medical Center > Jet lag disorder

What is Jet lag disorder?

21:56 - 4 May , 2021


This temporary condition is also known as jet lag or time change syndrome, expressing itself in physical and psychological symptoms due to the imbalance between circadian rhythms or the body’s internal clock and the time of travel by air, passing various time zones quickly, and preventing the adaptation to the new time zone. Obviously, the greater the distance and the number of time zones crossed, the more intense the symptoms will be.

This disorder is caused by the alteration of circadian rhythms, affecting sleeping and waking habits.

Jet lag disorder causes tiredness during the day, general discomfort, stomach and intestinal disorders, and lack of concentration, causing discomfort when traveling.

When the internal and external clocks become out of sync, an imbalance occurs because the internal clock always prevails with its own rhythms in activities such as sleeping, staying alert, eating, and working hours, which causes an imbalance.

Signs and symptoms Jet lag disorder

  • Difficulty staying alert
  • Constipation or diarrhea.
  • General discomfort.
  • Insomnia.
  • Daytime sleepiness
  • Tiredness.
  • Lack of energy.
  • Concentration problems.
  • Mood changes.

Potential risks:

  • The more time zones you cross, the greater the disorder. 
  • Traveling east increases symptoms. 
  • If you make constant trips, the effect increases.
  • The older you are, the slower the adaptation to the new schedule.

Jet lag disorder is a condition that lasts a few days, since normally your body adapts to the new schedule without the need for treatment, although sometimes it can last longer.

If you are used to flying periodically and experience severe symptoms on each trip, we recommend that you see your doctor so that they can prescribe the optimal treatment for you, which could include:

  • Light therapy or phototherapy:
    Sunlight significantly influences the regulation of your internal clock, so subjecting yourself to lamps that resemble sunlight from time to time can help your body not suffer and adapt more quickly to the new schedule. Also, if possible, you can take sunbaths that can achieve the same effect.
  • Drugs:
    They may prescribe sleeping pills to help you fall asleep when it’s time to sleep and you can’t. However, there are risks of side effects such as nausea, vomiting, memory problems, confusion, and daytime sleepiness.
  • The most common are benzodiazepines and benzodiazepine analogs. Your doctor will determine which medication is appropriate for your specific case.

At the ABC Medical Center Internal Medicine Department we offer health care services with the highest quality and safety, from prevention, diagnosis, timely treatment, and monitoring of infectious, respiratory, endocrinological, dermatological, rheumatic, nephrological, gastrointestinal, and hematological pathologies, of chronic-degenerative diseases and acute conditions, through a comprehensive and multidisciplinary model.


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  • topdoctors.es
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  • mayoclinic.org
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  • medigraphic.com

How can we help you?

    The dissemination of the content of this material is for informational purposes only and does not replace, under any circumstance or condition, a consultation with a specialist doctor, for which the ABC Medical Center is not responsible for the different use that may be given to it. If you require more information related to the subject, we suggest you contact the specialist doctor you trust directly.