Harvard Women's Health Watch

Travel tips: Ways to minimize jet lag

Travel tips

Ways to minimize jet lag

With the summer come plans for travel, including flying long distances. For many travelers, that means jet lag. People who cross several time zones usually find that ambient light and other environmental cues can make their internal clocks go haywire. They have trouble sleeping, and when they do get sleep, it's shallow and fitful. Other jet lag symptoms include fatigue, irritability, nausea, trouble concentrating, headache, and upset stomach.

In general, it takes a day to adjust for every time zone you've crossed, although the older you are, the longer the adjustment will probably take. Eastward travel, which shortens your arrival day, is more troublesome than flights west, which provide extra hours to catch up in the new time zone. On trips that involve crossing only one or two time zones, you may be able to wake up, eat, and sleep on home time.

There's no sure way to avoid jet lag entirely, but you may be able to reduce its effects and duration. Here's how:

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