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What is jet lag?

Jet lag is the fatigue you may feel after flying across several time zones. The rapid travel disturbs your normal body rhythms.

How does it occur?

Each person has an internal body clock that determines when sleeping, waking, and hunger occur in a 24-hour period. When you travel across several time zones, your "day" is longer or shorter than 24 hours. Your body is out of sync with the local time zone. Your normal body rhythms cannot adjust quickly to this shorter or longer day, which results in jet lag.

Not all jet lags are the same. Traveling eastward, which shortens your day, is more difficult than flying westward, which lengthens it.

What are the symptoms?

The symptoms of jet lag may include:

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How long will the effects of jet lag last?

West-to-east trips may require 1 day of recovery for each time zone crossed. East-to-west journeys may require 1 day of recovery for each one and a half time zones crossed. For example, when you cross 3 time zones flying east, it might take 3 days to recover, but when you fly west, it may take no more than 2 days for your body to catch up.

The adjustment can be eased by breaking up a long journey with a stopover. If you have an important event or meeting to attend at your destination, try to get there 2 or 3 days early.

What can be done to help prevent jet lag?

The following can help reduce the symptoms of jet lag:

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