Home > Health Library > 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.
have jet lag.
You can't cure jet
lag, but you may be able to reduce the symptoms using the hormone supplement
melatonin and sleeping pills. Other treatments besides medicines have not been
studied or have been studied very little, but they may be worth trying.
Melatonin is a hormone that your body
makes. It regulates the cycle of sleeping and waking. Normally, melatonin
levels begin to rise in the mid- to late evening, remain high for most of the
night, and then go down early in the morning.
may help "reset" your biological clock. Studies show that it has reduced the
symptoms of jet lag for people flying both east and west.1
Suggestions about times and dosages vary among
researchers who have studied melatonin. Doctors recommend that you:
The safety and effectiveness of melatonin have not been
thoroughly tested. Taking large doses of it may cause sleep disruption and
daytime fatigue. If you have
epilepsy or are taking
blood thinners such as coumadin (Warfarin), talk to
your doctor before you use melatonin.
The sleeping pills eszopiclone (Lunesta) and zolpidem (Ambien) have been
studied for jet lag. They may help you sleep despite jet lag if you take them
before bedtime after you arrive at your destination.
You may have side effects of headaches, dizziness, confusion, and feeling sick
to your stomach.
None of the things in the
following lists have been proved to reduce jet lag, but some people find them
If you have an important event, try
to arrive a few days early so your body can adjust to the new time zone.
Herxheimer A (2008). Jet lag, search date June 2008. Online version of BMJ Clinical Evidence: http://www.clinicalevidence.com.
November 18, 2013
Kathleen Romito, MD - Family Medicine & Lisa S. Weinstock, MD - Psychiatry
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