The Cleveland Clinic

Sleep Disorders: Sleep and Travel

Jetlag can occur when people travel quickly across several time zones, causing their internal biological rhythm to be out of synch with the new destination time. Sleep problems tend to be more common when people travel from west to east as it is more difficult to advance than to delay sleep time.

Coping With Jetlag

It is important to adapt yourself to the routine of your destination time zone as soon as possible. The following suggestions might help you avoid sleep problems when traveling:

  • Several days before traveling, try to gradually adjust your sleeping habits to the destination time zone.
  • As soon as you board the flight, reset your watch for the new time zone.
  • While on board, control sleeping including naps.
  • Drink plenty of fluids to avoid dehydration. Dehydration makes it more difficult for the body to adjust to the new rhythm.
  • Limit your sleep to no more than two hours immediately after arrival. Remember that daylight can help reset your internal "clock."
  • Take a one-hour walk as soon as you get up in the morning.
  • Avoid excessive caffeine, alcohol and tobacco.
  • Avoid social isolation.
  • Practice good sleep habits while away.

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