Relieve time change syndrome

Jet lag, also called time change syndrome, is a temporary disturbance of the sleep-wake rhythm caused by traveling across multiple time zones. The body has difficulty adjusting to the new time and it can lead to fatigue, sleep disturbances, poor concentration, confusion, loss of appetite or even depression.

The body has a natural rhythm, called the Circadian rhythm, which is regulated by the internal clock. This rhythm keeps us feeling awake at certain times and asleep at others. Traveling across multiple time zones can upset this natural rhythm because the internal clock cannot adjust to the new time as quickly as the external time signs.

Prevent jetlag

Alleviate jetlag

The severity of jet lag varies greatly from person to person and also depends on the number of time zones crossed. The further east-west you travel and the greater the time difference, the more severe the jet lag usually is.

There are many methods that can be used to alleviate jet lag. Some of these methods include:

  • Adjusting the sleeping and eating rhythm a few days before the trip to the new time. Go to bed earlier or stay up later.
  • Avoiding caffeine and alcohol before and during the flight
  • Movement and daylight during the flight and while at the destination
  • Use of sleep aids or melatonin (only under medical supervision).

There is no particular method that is guaranteed to get rid of jet lag, each person reacts differently to the time difference, it is important to simply try out for yourself which method works best.

What is the circadian rhythm?

The circadian rhythm, commonly referred to as the "internal clock," is a physiological and behavioral control mechanism that operates naturally in our bodies. It is a 24-hour cycle that controls numerous functions such as hormone production, metabolism, sleep-wake cycles, and body temperature. These activities, which are influenced by environmental factors such as light and temperature, are regulated by a small group of brain cells called the nucleus suprachiasmaticus in the hypothalamus (SCN).

Our sleep-wake cycle is strongly regulated by the circadian rhythm. It helps regulate the release of the hormone melatonin, which makes us feel more awake during the day and tired at night. Similarly, the rhythm also helps control the release of cortisol, a hormone associated with stress and alertness.

Other physiological functions such as digestion, urine production, and body temperature are also influenced by the circadian rhythm. All living things, including bacteria, humans, and even plants, have these cycles. In animals, the SCN is just one of several signals and internal processes that influence the circadian rhythm, including feeding behavior, body temperature, and chemical signals.

Disturbances in this pattern can lead to sleep disturbances, depression, and other health problems. It is critical to our overall health and well-being. Jet lag, shift work, artificial light at night and other environmental factors can disrupt the circadian rhythm. One way to reset the circadian clock is to gradually change sleep patterns, expose yourself to natural light at certain times, avoid artificial light in the evening and at night, and have a regular sleep and wake rhythm.

Can medication be used to alleviate jetlag?

There are medications that can help relieve jetlag. One active ingredient in medications is melatonin, a natural hormone produced by the pineal gland in the brain that regulates the body's sleep-wake patterns. Melatonin can help the body adjust more quickly to the new time zone by affecting the internal clock and making it easier to fall asleep. However, it is important to note that melatonin should only be taken under a doctor's supervision and with caution, as it can have some adverse effects and interactions.

There are also other medications used to treat sleep disorders, such as benzodiazepines or antidepressants. These medications can help relieve difficulty falling asleep caused by jetlag, but they should also only be used under a doctor's supervision and there are risks and adverse effects to be aware of as well.

Medications are by no means the first choice for treating jet lag and there are many non-drug methods that can help relieve jet lag.

How long does jetlag usually last?

The severity of jetlag varies from person to person and also depends on the number of time zones crossed. The further east-west you travel and therefore the greater the time difference, the more severe the jet lag will be felt.

Generally, it takes about a day for each time zone crossed to adjust to the new time. For example, if you are flying from New York to London where there is a 5 hour time difference, it may take about 5 days to adjust to the new time. Although everyone's body reacts differently, on average it takes most people about a week to adjust to a time difference of 6 to 9 hours. It should be noted that the change from daylight saving time to winter time occurs at different times in different regions, so an hour can be added or taken away.

However, there are also cases where it takes longer or the symptoms are more severe. Some people have longer-term problems with jet lag and may feel tired or unbalanced for weeks or even months. If this is the case, you should contact your doctor to discuss the possible reasons and consider further treatments if necessary. This can also be caused during the time change. Here the change is only one hour, but even this small change can cause problems for some people.

There are also cases where one can adapt to a new time faster, this mostly depends on the individual body's ability to adapt. If you adjust to the new time before the trip and use non-drug methods, it can help to shorten the jet lag.

Is jetlag dangerous?

Jet lag is usually not dangerous, although it can be unpleasant. It results from the change in time in different time zones and can cause symptoms such as fatigue, sleep disturbances, difficulty concentrating and changes in appetite. These symptoms are usually temporary and subside on their own once the body adjusts to the new time. In some cases, however, jet lag can be particularly uncomfortable, such as for people who suffer from certain medical conditions or take medication. In such cases, you should consult your doctor to determine if you need to take any special precautions.

Is jet lag dangerous for children?

Jet lag is normally unpleasant at best, but in principle not dangerous, even for children or young people. Jet lag is a temporary condition that occurs when the body skips a time zone and therefore has to adapt to the new time. It is also known from the daylight saving time changeover. However, children may have more difficulty adjusting due to their younger age and associated more sensitive bodies, and may exhibit symptoms such as fatigue, irritability, sleep disturbances and digestive problems. But everyone knows their child and knows immediately when something is wrong.

To minimize jet lag in children, parents can try to gradually change their children's sleep schedule before a trip (yes we know how impossible this will be for many children) to prepare them for the time zone of the destination. During the trip, they can also make sure their children drink enough and have enough rest and activities to help them adjust. However, if symptoms worsen or persist for more than a few days, it is advisable to seek medical attention, although we expect symptoms to resolve quickly.


Almost everyone who has ever flown from Europe to Asia or to North or South America knows jet lag. However, it is neither dangerous nor a health problem. However, the vacation fun can suffer a lot if the sleep pattern no longer fits and you spend half the vacation to recover from the journey and is tired. Therefore, even in the greatest stress consciously prepare for the vacation, the same game is then to be observed on the return. If it is possible, you should plan some vacation before and after the trip, so that you can prepare on the one hand, but also recover on the other. Then you return refreshed and fit to the workplace or the children to school.

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