Updated September 23, 1998

What is Time Zone Change Syndrome?

Time zone change (jet lag) syndrome consists of varying degrees of difficulties in initiating or maintaining sleep, excessive sleepiness, decrements in subjective daytime alertness and performance, and somatic symptoms (largely related to gastrointestinal function) following rapid travel across multiple time zones.

What are the symptoms?

The symptoms begin within 1 or 2 days after air travel across at least 2 time zones. A discernable disruption of the normal circadian sleep-wake cycle is present.

How can I avoid these symptoms when traveling?

It is important to adapt yourself to the routine of your destination as soon as you board your flight.

Things to avoid that will slow down your adaptation:

Diagnostic Classification Steering Committee, Thorpy MJ, Chairman. International Classification of Sleep Disorders: Diagnostic and Coding Manual. Rochester, Minnesota: American Sleep Disorders Association, 1990.

Kryger, Meir H., Roth, Thomas, Dement, William C. Principles and Practice of Sleep Medicine, 2nd Edition. Philadelphia, Pennsylvania: W.B. Saunders Company, 1994.

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