Jet Lag, what is it and how to minimize its effects?

Jet Lag, what is it and how to minimize its effects?

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The human body works according to the cycles of day and night from a mechanism called circadian rhythm or biological clock, which regulates aspects such as: sleep pattern, diet, blood pressure, hormonal level and temperature throughout the day. That is, it is responsible for the entire functioning of the organism during wakefulness and rest. With this in mind, this biological clock sometimes tends to negatively affect a person's health due to abrupt changes such as schedule, this phenomenon is known as jet lag.

For this reason, I will explain what the jet lag and how its effects on the health of a frequent traveler to different time zones can be minimized.

What is the Jet Lag?

Also known as: hourly decompensation, time zone syndrome or time lag disorder. It is an imbalance in the biological clock of the person suffering from it, producing serious repercussions on the waking cycles (that is, the moments when a person is awake) and sleep.

This occurs due to the difficulty of the organism to adapt to a different time zone than it is accustomed, for this reason usually occurs mainly in people who travel long distances. This disorder has symptoms such as: abnormal sleep-wake pattern, constant fatigue, difficulty concentrating (and memory), digestive problems (eg, vomiting, loss of appetite, constipation or diarrhea), mood swings and general feeling of discomfort

With this in mind, a person presenting Jet Lag can show that the symptoms get worse as the time difference increases from the place of departure to the place of destination. The duration of this disorder can be from one day to 15 days (approximately), this tends to vary in each person.

How to minimize the effects of Jet Lag?

To know how you can minimize the effects of Jet Lag we must take into account 3 moments of the flight: before, during and after. Experts suggest that before the flight you should be rested, exercise, have a healthy diet; in people who are under medical treatment it is suggested that they visit their specialist to plan what behaviors or management plan they should have on their trip and the adaptation to the destination time zone, which can be carried out through the daily routine change a hour (before or after) normal three to four weeks before your trip.

Secondly during the flight it is recommended exercise legs (while sitting) and make displacements when the belt use signal has been turned off (this is done every 2 hours). In addition to this to prevent dehydration do not drink alcohol or caffeine (since these substances alter the sleep pattern), it is suggested instead consume a lot of water to counteract the effects of the dry environment inside the plane. Also make stops on the trip (especially if it is too long) and try to adjust the hours of sleep on the plane so that they coincide with the schedule of the destination.

Finally, after the flight, the most important thing is to adapt mentally and physically to the local time in all aspects (food, wakefulness, sleep, etc.).

In conclusion…

We must prepare in advance and organization when we want to make a trip where there is another time zone, that is, when you travel to a place that has the same schedule as where you reside it is not necessary to do this preparation because the jet lag will not be evident. Keep in mind that at the level of physical, emotional and mental health there can be serious repercussions if we take this adaptation to the change of time zone lightly, not only in the short term but in the medium or long term.

For this reason, if you want to enjoy the experience of going to know a new place, be responsible for it and organize your times so that you arrive a few days in advance, especially if you have commitments to make at the destination. Each person has a different functioning so the adaptation process will be different in each one, the fundamental thing is that you rely on a doctor so that your process is done in the best possible way. Remember that ... The idea is to prevent and not have to regret!


  • University of the Andes Clinic (2017). What is a biological clock?. Extracted from: //
  • University of the Andes Clinic (2018). What it is and how to fight jet lag. Extracted from: //
  • Mayo clinic (2019). Jet lag disorder Extracted from: //
  • Sanitas (2019). Jet Lag Extracted from: //