What is Jet Lag – Meaning, Symptoms & Remedies


Last updated on Dec 4th, 2023 by Heena Ganotra

If you have travelled across international borders, you’re probably familiar with the Jetlag meaning. It is often a result of crossing different time zones and the difficulty of adjusting to the new time zone. However, most new travellers want to understand this problem and prepare solutions to help counteract it. What is jet lag and how can you avoid it or overcome it? Let’s explore the problem fully. 

What is Jetlag?

Jet lag is an ailment travellers suffer after a long flight crossing different time zones. The farther you travel away from your original time zone, the most challenging the adjustment can be. 

Jet lag is essentially a condition caused when a person’s circadian rhythm is disrupted. For example, Australia is around five hours and 30 minutes ahead of India. This means that if you take the Melbourne to Delhi flights and you must be present at 10 AM, your body on Indian time needs to be ready at 4.30 AM. 

About Jet Lag Disorder & Its Diagnosis

Jet lag sleep disorder is easy to diagnose and temporary. Unless you travel frequently across different timelines and need to adjust your sleep schedule too often, you shouldn’t experience any problems. 

The human body can usually adjust to the changes in the sleep cycle. If you cross one or 1.5 time zones during your travel, you won’t experience much difficulty adjusting. However, if you travel across two or more time zones, the adjustment period may be longer and more strenuous. 

The feeling of sleepiness, tiredness, and disorientation will dissipate once your body’s internal clock or circadian rhythm adjusts to the new time zone. You may just need to train your body for a couple of days to recover. 

What are some Jet Lag Symptoms?

The jet lag symptoms can vary from one person to another. They often depend on the individual’s ability to adjust. For example, a younger and healthier person may be able to adjust more quickly compared to an elderly traveller. Some of the most common symptoms include:

  • Fatigue due to sleeplessness.
  • Issues regarding sleeping at bedtime in the new time zone. 
  • Daytime sleepiness. 
  • Issues waking up on time in the morning. 
  • Compromised sleep quality.
  • Inability to focus and issues with memory. 
  • Weakness and low productivity. 

These are the most common symptoms but some people do experience other issues like:

  • Dizziness
  • Nausea
  • Stomach upset
  • Anxiety
  • Issues with appetite 
  • Anxiety 
  • Excessive urination during nighttime

People who have travelled eastward across different time zones have a harder time adjusting because they need to wake up earlier than normal. People travelling westward just end up waking up a little too early, which can be a little easier to deal with. 

Fortunately, jet lag treatment is fairly straightforward and the body can adjust in a couple of days. 

How to Get Over Jet Lag?

Once you know what the problem is, you want to look for a solution. There are many jet lag remedies available that can help you regain your energy and enjoy your trip. You can take preventive measures to minimize the impact of jet lag. Prevention is definitely better than a cure for this particular ailment.

1. Before the Trip

The best jet lag remedy is to start preparing for the changed sleep schedule in the comfort of your home. These steps include:

  • Sleep one or two hours earlier for three to four days before your trip. 
  • Practice waking up closer to the daytime of your destination. 
  • If you’re on a short trip that will only last 2-3 days, maintain your original sleep schedule as much as possible. That will reduce the strain of travel on your body. 
  • Pack sleeping aids like chamomile tea or melatonin pills along to help you get better rest.

Following these tips before you travel to your destination will help you avoid some of the symptoms of jet lag. While you can try out a jetlag remedy, it is better to be prepared and make sure your body is in a good state. 

2. During the Trip

There are several things you can do during the flight to reduce the intensity of jet lag. Taking these steps will help you adjust smoothly when you land.

  • Remain awake during the daytime on your flight. Walk around, stretch, and exercise during the trip as much as possible. 
  • Always attempt to sleep as much as possible during the nighttime. You can use eye masks and sleeping aids to help get more peaceful sleep during the trip. 
  • If the cabin is noisy, use earplugs to block out the noise. 
  • Remain hydrated during your travel. Drink ample plain water instead of carbonated or sweetened beverages. 
  • Avoid excessive intake of caffeine and alcohol.

Some people take melatonin for jet lag or sleeping tablets for air travel. However, these solutions aren’t always effective. You can combine both options to get optimal sleep during your flight. 

3. After the Trip

Once you land, there are still some steps you can take to avoid being overwhelmed by jet lag. If you leave the problem unattended, you can even become dizzy from jet lag. Here’s a look at how to minimize jet lag even after your flight has landed:

  • Don’t take a nap as soon as you land. It will be better to stretch your legs and just relax somewhere. 
  • If you have travelled westward like from Australia to India, it will be best to seek some natural sunlight during the evening time to avoid sleeping too early. 
  • If you have travelled eastward, from India to Australia, it will be best to seek some natural sunlight during the mornings to dispel drowsiness. 
  • If you do need to take a nap upon arrival, limit that to around 20 minutes or less. 
  • Avoid sleeping in or sleeping in the middle of the day during the adjustment period. 
  • Spend more time outdoors if possible as your body will naturally adjust to the movement of day and night. 
  • Adopt the sleep schedule of your destination once you land, even if you feel a bit fatigued at first because of it.

You can also look at a jet lag recovery calculator to understand how long you may experience jet lag symptoms. These calculators will give you an idea but take them with a grain of salt. Everyone reacts differently and a jet lag calculator can only calculate averages. 

Some people take jet lag pills to minimize the impact. These pills can help you sleep when you want to remain awake. You can also try bright light therapy for jet lag to adjust your sleep schedule. 


Q. What is Jet Lag?

Ans: Jet lag is the disruption of your natural circadian rhythm when you cross different time zones during air travel. 

Q. How long does jet lag last?

Ans: This depends on factors like your physical fitness, preparation for the trip, duration of the flight, and more. In most cases, the jet lag will last for a few days but some people keep experiencing symptoms for up to a week. 

Q. When is jet lag worse?

Ans: Jet lag is worst when you travel eastward and cross multiple time zones. The most severe symptoms occur during the first day or two after landing. If you take the steps recommended in this post, you can minimize the impact of air travel significantly. 

Q. What does jet lag feel like?

Ans: The symptoms of jet lag can vary from one person to another. Most people experience headaches, fatigue, lack of focus, and sleepiness during the first couple of days. You may also experience dehydration if you don’t drink enough water. 

book flights to India

Now that you’ve understood the jet lag meaning and all its related symptoms, you are ready for your trip. And because we, at MyTicketsToIndia, understand what jet lag does, we try to make it utterly easy for our clients to book tickets. With us, you can be sure of saving hundreds of dollars on your cheap tickets to India. All you have to do is give us a call or join the live chat today!


About Heena View All Posts

A writer by both passion and profession, Heena Ganotra is "half agony, half hope" but all heart. And oh, she has been a book lover from the start! Her love for books is what convinced her to make a career in the wonderful world of words. She loves what she does and is out-and-out a satisfied soul with a wish to spread happiness and kindness in abundance. Insight- Some say she is living the best life anyone could because she reads, writes, travels, and makes merry. They’re right because what else does one really need! :)

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