Due to the nature of the human internal clock — sleep-wake cycles called the circadian rhythm — jet lag is common when traveling over three or more time zones. For every time zone crossed traveling eastward, it takes roughly one day to fully adapt to the destination time zone. Adaptation is typically quicker and easier for westward travel. It takes about a day to adapt for every 1.5 time zones crossed while traveling westward, so crossing six time zones would take about four days to adapt.
Symptoms of jet lag and travel fatigue often include excessive daytime tiredness, difficulty getting to sleep or maintaining sleep, and a lack of concentration or motivation during the day. You may also feel crabby or generally unwell, or have headaches, constipation or diarrhea.
The long haul
While there's no way to completely avoid jet lag and travel fatigue, use the steps in the table below to optimize and accelerate your adjustment to your new time zone.
Tips for less lag
Before you go
Get good sleep during the nights leading up to travel.
- Go to bed 30 to 60 minutes earlier for three nights before travel and avoid evening light, including electronics.
- In the morning, expose yourself to bright, natural light.
- Go to bed 30 to 60 minutes later for three nights before travel.
- Wake up later than usual, if...
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