Jet Lag (Holistic)

About This Condition

Traveling across time zones can trigger jet lag, a common condition that usually goes away within several days. According to research or other evidence, the following self-care steps may be helpful.
  • Rest easy with melatonin

    Improve sleep quality and avoid daytime drowsiness by taking 0.5 mg of this natural hormone at bedtime for four days after arriving at your destination

  • Take time to adjust

    Give your body a chance to adapt to a new time zone by relaxing and limiting your activity for the first day or two


About This Condition

Jet lag is a disturbance of the sleep-wake cycle triggered by travel across time zones.


Jet lag causes a combination of symptoms, including daytime sleepiness, disorientation, poor concentration, fatigue, gastrointestinal discomfort, headaches, difficulty falling asleep, and frequent waking from sleep. The symptoms can last from a day to a week or longer, depending on the person and the number of time zones crossed.


What Are Star Ratings?
2 Stars
Take under medical supervision: 0.5 mg daily at bedtime for four days after arriving at your destination
Taking melatonin at bedtime may improve sleep quality and daytime alertness.

Melatonin is a natural hormone that regulates the human biological clock and may be helpful in relieving symptoms of jet lag, according to some, though not all, double-blind studies. One double-blind trial, involving international flight crew members, found that melatonin supplementation was helpful when started after arriving at the destination but not when started three days before leaving. Another double-blind study compared various amounts and forms of melatonin taken at bedtime for four days after the flight by people who traveled through six to eight time zones. Fast-release melatonin supplements were found to be more effective than the controlled-release supplements. A 5 mg and 0.5 mg fast-release melatonin were almost equally effective for improving sleep quality, time it took to fall asleep, and daytime sleepiness.

2 Stars
Pine Bark Extract (Pycnogenol)
150 mg per day for seven days, beginning two days before travel
In controlled studies, Pycnogenol taken for two days before and five days after air travel led to milder symptoms that lasted for a shorter period of time, compared with untreated control groups.
In controlled studies, 150 mg of Pycnogenol was taken for two days before and five days after air travel. Jet lag symptoms were milder and lasted for a shorter period of time compared with untreated control groups.

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