Stephen J. Schueler, M.D.

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Jet Lag Overview

What is jet lag?
Jet lag is not a disease, but it is uncomfortable and common. Jet lag is caused by a disruption in the body's natural rhythms. Jet lag seems to be caused by a disruption of the "light and dark" cycle, called the circadian rhythm. Jet lag develops when a person experiences a shift in the timing of daylight and darkness, away from that which the person has grown accustomed. Jet lag is more common in those who cross three or more time zones. Jet lag can lead to difficulty sleeping, as well as other symptoms.

What are the symptoms of jet lag?
Symptoms of jet lag may include insomnia, anorexia, constipation, diarrhea, anxiety, excessive daytime sleepiness, headache, heartburn, moodiness, muscle aches, weakness or fatigue, nausea, and poor concentration.

How does the doctor treat jet lag?
There is no specific treatment required for jet lag. Jet lag corrects itself within 4 days, once a person adjusts to the new time zone.

Continue to Jet Lag Symptoms

Last Updated: Aug 27, 2010 References
Authors: Stephen J. Schueler, MD; John H. Beckett, MD; D. Scott Gettings, MD
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PubMed Jet Lag References
  1. Circadian rhythm sleep disorders: part I, basic principles, shift work and jet lag disorders. An American Academy of Sleep Medicine review. Sleep. 2007 Nov 1;30(11):1460-83. [18041480]
  2. Skene DJ, Arendt J. Circadian rhythm sleep disorders in the blind and their treatment with melatonin. Sleep Med. 2007 Sep;8(6):651-5. Epub 2007 Apr 8. [17420154]
  3. Waterhouse J, Reilly T, Atkinson G, Edwards B. Jet lag: trends and coping strategies. Lancet. 2007 Mar 31;369(9567):1117-29. [17398311]
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