sleepWhat is Jet Lag?

Jet lag, also jetlag or jet-lag, is a physiological condition which is a consequence of alterations to the circadian rhythm. Such alterations result from shift work, daylight saving time, altered day length, or as the name implies, transmeridian travel as on a jet plane. They are known as desynchronosis, dysrhythmia, dyschrony, jet lag, or jet syndrome. The condition is generally believed to be the result of disruption of the “light/dark” cycle that entrains the body’s circadian rhythm. It can be exacerbated by environmental factors. (from Wikipedia)

The symptoms of jet lag can be quite varied, though overall, an individual may experience the following:

  • Dehydration and loss of appetite
  • Headaches and/or sinus irritation
  • Fatigue
  • Disorientation and/or grogginess
  • Nausea and/or upset stomach
  • Insomnia and/or highly irregular sleep patterns
  • Irritability, Irrationality


How would a person use melatonin for jetlag? Prevention is the best approach. Treating it after it happens is difficult – and you’ll have to live with the symptoms as well.

When traveling from west to east.
On the day of your flight, take one dose of melatonin between 6 and 7pm your time; you may have to take the melatonin on the plane. On the day you arrive and for the next four days, take one dose of melatonin at bedtime (between 9 and 10pm) local time of where you now are. If you will not be staying in this time zone for four days and will instead be traveling further east, take one dose of melatonin on the day before flying onward, again between 6 and 7pm local time (but not at bedtime). On the day of arrival at your second destination, take one dose of melatonin at bedtime (local time) and for the next four days. When returning, use the suggestions for traveling east to west.

When traveling from east to west.
Things are a little different. For one, melatonin may not help much if you travel less than five time zones to the west. When you are traveling long distances to the west, on the day you arrive, wherever it is you’re going, take one dose of melatonin at local time bedtime and continue to do so for the next four days. Sound familiar? If you wake up before 4am, you may take a little more melatonin (one or one-half dose) so you can get a complete night’s sleep. When returning, use the suggestions for traveling west to east.