Symptoms of jet lag can vary. You may experience only one symptom or you may have many. Jet lag symptoms may include:
- Disturbed sleep — such as insomnia, early waking or excessive sleepiness
- Daytime fatigue
- Difficulty concentrating or functioning at your usual level
- Stomach problems, constipation or diarrhea
- A general feeling of not being well
- Mood changes
Symptoms worse the farther you travel
Jet lag symptoms usually occur within a day or two of travel if you've traveled across at least two time zones. Symptoms are likely to be worse or last longer the more time zones that you've crossed, especially if you travel in an easterly direction. It usually takes about a day to recover for each time zone crossed.
When to see a doctor
Jet lag is temporary. But if you're a frequent traveler and continually struggle with jet lag, you may benefit from seeing a sleep specialist.
Aug. 01, 2015
- Weir RE. Jet lag and shift work. Sleep Medicine Clinic. 2014;9:561.
- Herxheimer A. Jet lag. http://www.uptodate.com/home. Accessed June 24, 2015.
- Kryger MH, et al. Shift work, shift-work disorder and jet lag. In: Principles and Practice of Sleep Medicine. 5th ed. St. Louis, Mo.: Elsevier Saunders; 2011. https://expertconsult.inkling.com. Accessed June 23, 2015.
- Longo DL, et al., eds. Sleep disorders. In: Harrison's Principles of Internal Medicine. 19th ed. New York, N.Y.: The McGraw-Hill Companies; 2015. http://www.accessmedicine.com. Accessed June 24, 2015.
- Weingarten JA. Air travel. Chest. 2013;144:1394.
- Jet lag. American Academy of Sleep Medicine. http://www.sleepeducation.com/essentials-in-sleep/jet-lag. Accessed June 27, 2015.
- Sack RL. Jet lag. The New England Journal of Medicine. 2010;362:440.
- Sateia M. Jet lag disorder. In: International Classification of Sleep Disorders. 3rd ed. Darien, Ill.: American Academy of Sleep Medicine; 2014. http://www.aasmnet.org/EBooks/ICSD3. Accessed July 6, 2015.