If you're about to go on holiday or a business trip, the last thing you want to worry about is jet lag. Unfortunately, it is a very common problem for travellers, whether they only do so occasionally or often. The term jet lag refers to the disturbance to normal sleep patterns and associated disorientation that occurs when you travel through three or more time zones, disrupting your body clock (circadian rhythm). It can affect anyone who travels through time zones on an aeroplane, even seasoned travellers, regardless of age or gender.
Although there is no medication specifically designed to treat jet lag, melatonin-based treatments can regulate when you sleep and when you feel awake, which can reduce the symptoms associated with jet lag. We offer a jet lag treatment pack to help you to stay alert when you travel. You can buy this pack here at HealthExpress after you have completed our free online consultation
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Jet lag is an extremely common condition that is an often unavoidable consequence of long distance air travel. Flying through different time zones disrupts your natural body clock, which controls things like your sleep patterns and when you get hungry. When this disruption occurs, your body may take some time to adjust, causing you to experience associated symptoms. Such symptoms include drowsiness and a general lack of energy. These symptoms tend to become more pronounced as more time zones are passed through.
The most common symptom of jet lag is disturbance to your normal sleep pattern. You will likely feel tired but still have difficulty falling asleep at the correct local time. Symptoms can include loss of appetite, feelings of disorientation, irritability, clumsiness, lack of energy, headaches and indigestion. Symptoms will differ from one individual to another, and they tend to vary in severity depending on how many time zones have been crossed and the length of distance travelled.
In simple terms, jet lag is caused when an individual travels through several time zones via air travel. This occurs because of the disruption to your circadian rhythm. Your circadian rhythm, commonly referred to as the body clock, maintains your body's natural routines, such as when you want to eat and sleep. Your body depends on this routine to function properly, and an integral part of it is when your body is exposed to light and darkness throughout a 24 hour cycle. Travelling through time zones so quickly, as is the case with air travel, disrupts this regular rhythm. Your body needs time to adjust to the change. Factors such as whether you travel east or west and oxygen levels in the aeroplane are also believed to have an effect.
There is no way to guarantee that you will not get jet lag, but it is possible to reduce its effects if you are prepared. Before you travel, you can prepare for the sleep disruption by going to bed either an hour earlier or an hour later, depending on your direction of travel. Try to reduce the stress that can be related to air travel, as this can worsen jet lag symptoms. Checking in online, for example, can be a helpful way of reducing flight-related stress and anxiety. During the flight itself, make sure you are well hydrated and try to keep your alcohol and caffeine intake limited.
Some people choose to take sleeping tablets when they reach their destination to help them sleep, but there are drawbacks of this form of treatment, such as the risk of developing an addiction. You should speak to your doctor if you are considering using sleeping tablets to help avoid jet lag.
"Jet lag is an uncomfortable condition that affects people who travel across different time zones. Although it's not entirely avoidable, there are ways to help you adjust quicker to the time in your new destination."Dr Hilary Jones
HealthExpress Medical Advisor
There hasn't as yet been any medication that has been specifically developed as a treatment to avoid jet lag and there is no guaranteed jet lag cure. However, it is known that a hormone called melatonin which is produced naturally in the body plays an important role in regulating when you sleep and when you feel awake. The effects of jet lag can be reduced when this hormone is increased. Melatonin-based medications are not officially licensed to be used for this purpose, but they can be prescribed "off-label" by a doctor, if the doctor feels this form of treatment to avoid jet lag is necessary and will be beneficial.
Step 1 - Simply complete our online consultation which will be reviewed by one of our registered UK doctors. View the medical questions here
Step 2 - They will be able to recommend a range of beneficial treatments. You will receive a diagnosis in a secure email.
Step 3 - If deemed suitable, you will have the access to login, directly to your personalised member's area, from where you will be able to place your order and receive it the next working day.
If you want to avoid jet lag using a jet lag treatment, you may wish to consider the Jet Lag Treatment Pack that is available to order online here at HealthExpress. If you wish to do this, we ask that you first complete an online consultation which will be assessed by a doctor. This is completely free and puts you under no obligation to purchase any treatments. All of our orders are sent using free next-day delivery, so you can be sure you will receive your medication before you travel.