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How Does Jet Lag Affect Sleep?

How Does Jet Lag Affect Sleep?

You may have heard of the term jet lag before, but what is it, exactly? Jet lag, in the most simple terms, causes a temporary sleep disturbance to a person after they have endured a long fight. This isn't something that is a cause for concern as the effects disappear quickly; however, jet lag symptoms can cause difficulty sleeping, poor concentration, and problems with memory.

If you are travelling to a destination with a different time-zone, or even globe-trotting across multiple time zones, then your body will feel confused as it will be used to your regular routine and time. For instance, if you've travelled from the UK and land in Singapore, the time difference is 8 hours ahead. When you'd be getting ready for dinner at home, your body will be telling you to go to sleep in Singapore.This could be very disorientating and leave you feeling jet lagged!

It can all be very confusing, so here at Happy Beds, we've taken a closer look into the mysterious world of jet lag!.

What are the symptoms of jet lag?

Symptoms of jet lag can range from person to person and you may not be feeling like your usual self! Some of the jet lag symptoms can range from nausea and changes in appetite to mood shifts. If you're feeling out of sorts, block out time for self care and rest. This is very important!

Feeling jet lagged or not sure what to look out for when you're on your travels? Here are some of the common symptoms and jet lag cures to keep an eye out for. Hopefully, when you're next on the move you'll know a few handy tricks to take care of yourself during the long travel hours.

Difficulty in sleeping

plane seats

According to the NHS, the most common symptoms of jet lag are: trouble falling asleep and waking up in the morning, overall sleepiness and exhaustion, disturbed sleep, and difficulty concentrating.

Sleep is an essential part of our routine, and a quality night's sleep results in better concentration, an ability to focus more, clearer skin, and even an improved mood. One thing that can interrupt your sleep and make you tired during the day is feeling jet lagged. By feeling lethargic, nodding off in the day, or struggling to sleep at night, you are affecting your ability to feel your best and are preventing a successful day.

Mood changes

We all experience mood changes, whether that's due to increased stress, lack of exercise, or even the weather. However, feeling jet lagged can greatly affect our moods by causing feelings of irritability, sensitivity, or varying moods. From feeling overly tired to needing more sleep, jet lag symptoms can take its toll for a number of days at least.

The effects of jet lag can impact your mood substantially; you may feel more irritable, anxious, or distracted due to tiredness and your body adjusting to new time zones!

As well as this, jet lag can exacerbate mood disorders and existing conditions so it's important to keep track of any changes to see if there are simple ways to either prevent them, or reduce their impact.

Digestive problems

Jet lag can also affect digestive problems in numerous ways as you could be left feeling overly hungry or lose even your appetite altogether.This is because jet lag can impact gut issues in several ways, whether by creating new issues or exacerbating existing ones. Just some of the stomach issues that jet leg can affect include producing a lack of appetite, increased levels of nausea, constipation, or irritable bowel syndrome.


Alongside all the other body issues that jet lag symptoms can cause, fatigue can perhaps one of the most of the most annoying for frequent travellers! Fatigue is the feeling when you are very tired, making everything feel a little sluggish which can affect both the mind and the body itself.

It can make working immediately after travelling a hard experience, as your body may not be able to keep up with the usual demands you make on it! If you also experience pre-existing sleep problems anyway, such as insomnia, then this can also worsen the effects of jet lag!

How can you combat the effects of jet lag?

There's no set jet lag cure, but there are numerous ways that you can reduce jet lag symptoms to feel stronger and less affected. If you're feeling the impact of jet lag, we've got you covered with ways to help deal with the symptoms!

Jet lag medication

woman in bed

Just like with motion sickness, there is a potential jet lag cure that helps to combat the effects of jet lag and gives you a better night's sleep. Superdrug, for example, has made jet lag tablets readily available to support your sleep this year. These melatonin tablets are a natural hormone that naturally controls your sleep cycle, letting your body know when it's time to go to sleep and when to wake up. The tablets are an easy way to help your body's internal clock adjust to the time change and when you go to sleep.

They are said to help you fall asleep faster and prevent waking up throughout the night. Taking melatonin at different times can be an effective way of preventing and minimising the symptoms of jet lag. Common recommendations suggest that if you're soon to be travelling on a long haul flight, ingest a tablet a few days before you take off.

Avoid caffeine

glass of coffee

There's a reason why many people love to drink a coffee or tea in the morning to get ready for the day! Caffeine alerts your body, encouraging you to stay awake, and it can also cause a buzz in your system. This means that caffeine is a good, and cheap, way to preventyourself from falling asleep.

Whilst this can be beneficial to those starting work, it may not help in the case of jet lag. So, instead of grabbing your morning coffee, consider switching it to a large glass of water. Staying completely hydrated, with water in particular, can make falling and staying asleep much more comfortable.

Practice good sleep hygiene


Practicing proper sleep hygiene can be a jet lag preventative and a mild jet lag cure. It is a welcome addition to your nightly routine, jet lag or no jet lag! Try some of these soothing ways to make your nighttime routine more comfortable to help you rest before and after your travels.

Whether it's on the plane or in the comfort of your hotel room, minimising background noise is essential for getting a good night's rest. Use noise-cancelling headphones or earplugs to block out the external noise and help you drift off to sleep.

It's not just noise that will keep you up at night. By wearing eye masks, you can block out any harsh light that might prevent you from staying asleep. The quality of sleep you get before or after a long flight is critical to minimising the impact of jet lag. It's also important to plan when you nod off and try to keep bedtime the same time for a few days before and after your trip.

Get a restful sleep after a long journey

How have you found long travels and keeping up with your usual routine? We hope that these ways offer a little peace of mind when you're on your next holiday - interested in learning more fun facts about sleep? Discover more about the origins of some of our favourite and necessary sleep products too. Or why not learn more about the effects of a poor night's sleep and more tips on how to prevent it from happening!

Have you been battling jet lag? Come and let us know your best tips for managing the effects on our social pages. Head to our Twitter, Instagram, and, Facebook to get in touch with us!

Sleep off jet lag with a Happy Beds bed