The Gay Globetrotter

Jet Lag Symptoms and How to Recover

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If you’ve ever travelled through more than 3 time zones and felt groggy or abnormal, you may have experienced some jet lag symptoms. Jet lag occurs when your body clock goes out of whack due to a sudden change in time zones. If you travel over many time zones at once, you might get jet lagged. Fortunately, there are many preventative measures you can take to regulate your body while travelling. 

What Is Jet Lag?

Jet lag, also known as desynchronosis, is a temporary disorder that causes symptoms such as fatigue and insomnia while our bodies adjust to a new time zone.  We run on a 24-hour cycle called a circadian rhythm. This regulates everything your body does, from sleep patterns, to blood pressure, to body temperature.

Some other jet lag symptoms include:

  • Anxiety
  • Headache
  • Nausea
  • Difficulty concentrating
  • Diarrhea
  • Dehydration
  • Memory loss
  • Irritability
  • Extreme fatigue

When Will I Get Jet Lag?

Jet lag happens when you travel over many time zones at once. It will usually occur when your body needs to adjust to your new timezone. When you first arrive at your new destination, you are the most susceptible to jet lag symptoms. Travellers heading north or south in the same timezone typically experience the fewest problems. If you’re flying East, you’re most likely to experience heavier jet lag symptoms. This happens because you are losing time.

Flying west, you will gain time which may help you a little when adjusting to the new timezone. You are still very susceptible to the symptoms of jet lag while flying west, so make sure you follow some of the tips below to help you through the adjustment period of jet lag, so you can get the most out of your trip.

Remedies for Jet Lag


Flying in the dry atmosphere can dehydrate your body. According to Everyday Health, it is recommended that you drink eight ounces of water for every hour in the air. While I’m packing for my trip, I like to make sure I have some electrolyte powder in my carry on. Try to limit your caffeine and alcohol intake while flying. Both of these can disrupt your sleep pattern and dehydrate your body.

Change your schedule before leaving

Easing into a new sleep pattern prior to your trip will help you to not have to adjust to the new time zone while you’re on your trip all at once. Having the ability to ease into your new schedule will help to get rid of most of the jet lag symptoms. I know that it isn’t always possible to change your schedule prior to your trip due to work or school.

If you are travelling east, try going to sleep earlier and getting up earlier in the morning. If travelling west, try to stay up as late as possible to absorb the sunlight. This will help your body adjust quicker to the new timezone.

Adjust to your new city

As soon as you arrive to your destination, start changing your body over to the new schedule. If its evening, eat dinner. Take in as much sunlight as possible during the day to decrease the amount of melatonin your body makes during the day; you have to help your body through the process of changing it’s internal clock. Take a walk and stay active to increase your brain activity during the daytime. Remember to continue drinking water. I have found that my jet lag symptoms are usually the worst when I am coming home from vacation, rather than leaving. I think this is because of my excitement travelling to someplace new!

Sleeping Aids

Well it isn’t advised to use sleeping medications when overcoming jet lag, I have found that over the counter medications such as melatonin can really benefit my sleep when I am first adjusting to a new timezone. Do not take melatonin if you have consumed any alcohol and make sure you consult your doctor before taking melatonin.

Jet lag isn’t permanent and should not require any medical attention. Do your best to overcome the symptoms as quickly as possible, and you will get the most out of your vacation!

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