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Prescription Jet Lag Treatments
Jet lag is when your normal sleep pattern is disturbed after a long flight. It usually improves within a few days as your body adjusts to the new time zone.
Jet lag cannot be prevented as such but there are things you can do to reduce its effects. If you are planning a long-distance trip we can help find the treatment that's right for you.
To order prescription jet lag treatment online, simply complete a short assessment and select your preferred treatment option. Our UK-based GP’s will then review your assessment and prescribe the most suitable treatment for you.
Treatments for Prescription Jet Lag
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After a long-distance flight across several time zones, jet lag can disrupt your regular sleep pattern, leaving you feeling disoriented and lethargic due to your ‘body clock’ struggling to adapt to a new time zone.
Jet lag is a condition that occurs when taking a long-distance flight across several time zones. Our need for sleep and level of alertness is dependent on a mechanism called the circadian cycle. The circadian cycle can be disrupted when our ‘body clock’ is out of sync with the local time of the destination. The circadian cycle takes cues from the outside world and is affected by the time of day and level of light outside. If you arrive at a destination during daylight whilst your ‘body clock’ is tuned to it being night time, you may find difficulty adapting to the local time.
Travellers usually find the impact of jet lag whilst travelling west is easier to tolerate than travelling east. This is because the circadian cycle adapts to the conditions better if you are required to stay up for longer to adjust to local time. Travelling east, you will have to sleep earlier to adjust to local time compared to having to stay awake longer when travelling west.
In the UK, melatonin is only licensed to treat insomnia but not for jet lag. However, a large scientific review has endorsed the use of melatonin to treat jet lag.
Melatonin can help travellers overcome the symptoms of jet lag. It’s a hormone that occurs naturally in the body and is involved in regulating your sleep-wake cycle. Taking Melatonin can help your body adjust to a new time zone more quickly.
One Melatonin tablet should be taken at night for up to 5 days. It should be taken at the time you usually go to bed. It should not be taken before 8pm or after 4am.
Alcohol can impair your ability to get to sleep and worsen the symptoms of jet lag. You should therefore avoid alcohol while taking Melatonin.
Patient information leaflet:
Tips to overcome jet lag
It is difficult to avoid jet lag entirely when travelling through several time zones, however there are steps you can take to ease the jet lag and overcome it quicker. Starting our journey well-rested can help. Whilst on the plane, you can try to adjust your body to your destination's time zone by only sleeping when it’s night time at your destination. Once arriving at your destination, immediately try to adjust to the local time zone.
Common side effects of Melatonin (affects 1-10% of the population)
For a full list of side effects, please read the patient information leaflet.
The risk of jet lag symptoms increases with the number of time zones crossed when travelling. Travellers will not usually experience any jet lag until they cross at least three time zones.
Jet lag symptoms include:
- Disturbed sleep cycles
- Digestion problems (nausea, diarrhoea, indigestion)
- Changes in appetite
- Feelings of disorientation
- Sore muscles
- Memory problems
These symptoms should go away within a couple of days but if you’ve crossed several time zones, the symptoms may remain for several days.