What is jet lag? Symptoms, solutions and more

Anyone who has ever suffered from jet lag knows how much it can affect our regular routine.

Jet lag can affect people of all ages and is the result of your internal body clock not being able to adjust immediately to a new time zone. The world is divided into 24 different time zones and jet lag occurs when your body’s natural clocks are disrupted after crossing these time zones.

TEMPUR looks at hints and tips on the best ways to overcome jet lag…


While generally not a serious issue, jet lag can be a huge inconvenience – especially if you need to get back into the swing of your usual routine or make the most of a holiday.

Symptoms include:

  • Insomnia
  • Waking up early
  • Feeling more sleepy than normal
  • Daytime tiredness
  • Struggling to concentre
  • Generally feeling low
  • Mood changes


Thankfully there are several steps we can take to minimise the effects of jet lag…

Resisting the urge to nap

It’s important that our bodies adjust to our new time clock as quickly as they can, to save us from sleepless nights. In this sense, as hard as it might be, try not to nap throughout the day. Staying awake means your body can adjust quicker to your current time zone.

To make this process simpler, consider altering the time you go to sleep to align with the time of your destination for a few days before departure. This is known as advancing your body clock.

If this isn’t an option or you are still struggling to stay awake, there are various steps you can take such as:

  • Going for a walk
  • Taking part in a physical activity
  • Sitting out in the fresh air
  • Getting out in the light

Sunlight and artificial light, in particular, are effective stimulants for resetting your biological clock.

Sleep environment

When it’s time to go to sleep, make sure your sleeping environment is at its best. Make sure you are in a dark and quiet environment. Light and noise stimulate our bodies and can lead to a restless night.

It’s also important to maintain a regulated temperature throughout your sleeping period. If your bedroom gets too hot or cold during the night, then you are more likely to wake up, which means maintaining this temperature for the duration of your sleep is key. Your room should be around 23°C which research suggests is the optimum temperature for sleep.

Your sleep surface and comfort are also important factors in encouraging healthy sleep. TEMPUR have a range of memory foam mattresses designed specifically for optimum comfort to help you get a great night’s sleep.

Food and drink

Steer clear of large meals that are high in fat and salt. They are harder to digest and can result in restlessness and poor sleep. Also, try and drink plenty or water and avoid caffeinated drinks. As much as you may crave a coffee, remember that caffeine is a stimulant and will make it even harder to sleep.

If you are a frequent traveller and are really struggling with jet lag, make sure you consult your doctor who may be able to further advise you.

Do you have any further hints or tips to overcome jet lag? Let us know below

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