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What Is Jet Lag, and How To Beat It Fast

Learn how to conquer jet lag and make traveling easier with a few simple solutions and healthy habits that you can try next time you travel.

Jet lag feels awful, but it’s an unavoidable part of a high-mileage lifestyle. If you’re constantly hopping on flights and moving from timezone to timezone, you’ve probably experienced your fair share of jet lag symptoms over the years after reaching your destination. It’s a common problem for anyone who flies often, but jet lag can affect anyone who gets on a plane and travels into a new time zone.

Whether you’re already familiar with jet lag and its symptoms or you’re here because you’re experiencing jet lag for the first time, we’re here to fill you in. In this post, we’ll walk you through what jet lag is, what its symptoms are, and how to recover quickly so you can get back to your itinerary.

The Basics of Jet Lag

Traveling by plane can often mean leaving your time zone and entering a different one. Depending on how far you’re flying, that might mean experiencing dramatic time changes.

Even flying across the United States already changes time by three hours. For example, if you took a plane from Georgia to California and arrived at midnight EST, you’d be stepping into the terminal at nine PM PST. That’s a big change.

Even undergoing a three-hour time change is a lot for your body’s clock to handle. If you’re used to being asleep at midnight on the East coast and arrive on the West coast in the middle of the evening, it’s bound to disorient you and affect your sleep schedule. That disorientation, along with a few other uncomfortable symptoms, is known as jet lag.

What Causes Jet Lag?

While you already know that major timezone changes cause jet lag, there’s more to the equation than that. Several other factors like the direction you travel and pressure changes may make jet lag worse, and they may even be the primary causes for your uncomfortable symptoms.

Eastward Flights

If your flight is headed east and includes even a time zone change or two, you’re much more likely to experience the symptoms of jet lag. That’s because traveling east often means heading into a part of the world where the clock is turned forward in comparison to where you live.

The result? Tiredness, grogginess, and feeling disoriented and confused because your internal clock has yet to adjust.

Pressure Changes

When you fly, you might experience jet lag symptoms due to the difference in air pressure between the cabin pressure and the pressure at sea level. Ascending to high altitudes in a plane forces your body through several significant pressure changes, which might make you feel a bit disoriented and sometimes a little sick.

This potential cause of jet lag is independent of traveling through time zones, since everyone who flies undergoes these air pressure changes. That means that you might experience the classic jet lag symptoms even if you traveled from north to south and stayed in Central Time.

What Are the Symptoms of Jet Lag?

Different people react to timezone changes in slightly differing ways, but there are a few common symptoms that jet-lagged individuals usually encounter.

Irritability and Mood Changes

Humans need their sleep. When something happens that disrupts your natural circadian rhythm, you’re likely to feel a bit grumpy. A major timezone change can make you irritable, even if nothing seems to be wrong.

Dealing with mood changes due to jet lag can be tough, and it’s important to cut yourself some slack. No one likes having their sleep cycle messed up by travel, and it’s especially difficult to handle major changes. The best way to manage irritability and mood changes due to jet lag is resting up and giving yourself time to adjust.

Sleep Problems

Depending on your destination time zone, you might experience an array of sleep issues while jet-lagged. Some people deal with insomnia due to jet lag, especially when entering a time zone where it’s later rather than earlier. Others may feel excessively tired, even during the day, after traveling into a time zone where the time is earlier than at home.

When you’re jet-lagged, you may find yourself waking up much earlier or later than you normally would because your sleep-wake cycle is working to adjust to your new time zone. Even if you typically love sleeping in late, jet lag may make you think it’s later in the day than it is. This means you might be stuck awake and wandering around the hotel until everyone else gets up.

Sleepiness During the Day

In addition to trouble sleeping at night, jet lag can also cause excessive daytime sleepiness. Your body needs time – often several days – to adjust to a new place with a different clock, and feeling fatigued during this adjustment period is very normal.

Sleepiness during the day is one symptom of jet lag that is particularly hard to avoid. However, drinking a cup of coffee or tea, going on a brisk walk, and getting plenty of nutrient-dense foods in your body can help you combat fatigue.

Digestive Issues

Traveling can disrupt your normal routines, which can affect you in some unexpected ways. One of the most common symptoms of jet-lag is stomach problems, which often develop due to changes in how you’re eating, sleeping, and using the bathroom.

When you go somewhere new, it often means new foods, new schedules, and a faster pace of life than you’d normally have at home. All of these changes may affect your digestive system and regularity, making it harder to eat and go to the bathroom the way you normally would. The results of these changes are often symptoms like constipation, diarrhea, indigestion, and nausea.

Avoiding digestive issues while traveling is tough, but it isn’t impossible. Some common recommendations for a happy stomach while you travel include:

  • Avoiding too much nutrient-absent food: Maintaining a healthy diet while traveling can be hard. When you’re at home, the grocery store is nearby, along with restaurants that you trust to give you nutritious meals. When you’re on the road, you’re often stuck with whatever food is available, which isn’t always the healthiest. When you can, however, avoiding excessive amounts of food can help you avoid an upset stomach.
  • Staying hydrated: Dehydration and stomach troubles go hand-in-hand, and getting enough fluids while you travel is an absolute must. If you’re severely dehydrated and suffering from jet lag, try booking a re-hydrating IV therapy session (https://www.iveeapp.com/).
  • Exercising: Sitting still on a plane for hours doesn’t give your body much of an opportunity to process and digest food. Getting some light exercise after your flight is over may help to “get things moving” and stave off some of the digestive issues associated with jet lag.

Feeling Jet-Lagged? Here’s How To Beat the Symptoms

If you’re stuck with the symptoms of jet lag and need to recover quickly, getting the relief that you need isn’t as hard as you may think. Below are common recommendations for making a speedy recovery from jet lag.

Get Some Extra Sleep

The simplest – and often the most effective – solution for jet lag is getting as much sleep as possible when you need it. Your body needs time to adjust to a new place, and trying to push through the exhaustion may end up making you feel worse.

Consider giving your body plenty of extra time to acclimate to the time change, and getting enough light exposure during the daylight hours in your new location to help your inner biological clock reset and resync.

When you don’t have time to rest and need to jump right into your travel itinerary, maintaining healthy habits is a must. You may not be able to get as much sleep as you need, but you can still take care of yourself in other valuable ways. Hydration, nutrition, and a bit of exercise are all incredibly helpful when you’re on a tight schedule and can’t rest.

Consider Trying IV Therapy

As you’ve learned, dehydration, lack of sleep, and other factors can make jet lag worse. When you’re feeling tired and disoriented, and are lacking the fluids and nutrition that your body needs, wellness IV therapy from ivee is an easy way to rehydrate while getting energy-supporting nutrients to put some pep back in your step.

IV therapy is a simple, convenient, and effective way to help restore your body’s fluid levels and give you a nutrient boost to support your well-being. It can be a big help with a case of jet lag, especially if you’re feeling particularly under the weather and need to be back on your feet, fast.

Plus, ivee’s team of Registered Nurses can bring your IV treatment straight to your hotel, in-law’s house, or wherever your travels have brought you.

We offer a wide array of options each formulated with its own distinct benefits. However, there’s one in particular that is commonly ordered to help combat symptoms of jet lag: The Refresh.

Formulated with a saline or lactated ringers solution, B-complex vitamins, vitamin B12, L-Carnitine, Magnesium, and vitamin C, the Refresh is a common choice for people experiencing jet lag. It’s shown to help increase feelings of energy, calm your nerves, enhance your mood, and rehydrate your body.


Jet lag is a term used to describe the feelings of grogginess, daytime drowsiness, mood changes, and sleep difficulties that can come with traveling across time zones.

Avoiding jet lag is nearly impossible if you travel by plane, but that doesn’t mean you can’t manage the symptoms. With help from innovative treatments like IV therapy or even just implementing healthy habits like drinking enough water and trying to get some extra sleep, you can work to combat those feelings of grogginess and be ready to tackle your travel agenda in no time.


Jet Lag: Symptoms: Causes, and How to Cope | Sleep Foundation

Jet Lag: What is it, Symptoms, How Long Does it Last & Treatment | Cleveland Clinic

Dehydration | MedlinePlus

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