- time zone change syndrome
What is going on in the body?
What are the causes and risks of the condition?
What can be done to prevent the condition?
- adjusting the body's internal clock in advance. For instance, people can start adjusting their daily schedules to match the time zones they will travel to before travel takes place. People can set their watches to the new times a day before travel, and begin eating, sleeping, and working as if they were already there.
- eating light and drinking plenty of fluids. Before the flight, a high-protein, low-calorie meal is advised. The amount of salty and fatty foods eaten should be limited. Dry air during the flight can cause
dehydration, so people are advised to drink plenty of non-alcoholic fluids. Water is best, and many experienced travelers bring their own bottles of water with them.
- exercising frequently. Even getting up periodically and walking up and down the aisles of the plane can help, which may be the only exercise possible. Sitting in a cramped airplane seat for an extended time is uncomfortable for everyone. During a stopover, people may want to take a few minutes and leave the plane to go for a brisk walk around the terminal, if possible.
- getting enough sleep. People may want to try sleeping on the plane or plan to arrive at their destinations in time to catch a nap before starting activities. Mild sedatives or melatonin may help some people get sleep during travel.
Upon arrival, the most important cue to adjusting the body clock and turn on the body's own melatonin secretion at the right time is light
after a westward flight, to stay awake while it is daylight at the destination and to try to sleep when it gets dark;
- after an eastward flight, to be awake but avoid bright light in the morning, and to be outdoors as much as possible in the afternoon.
Another option is to use either melatonin or a short acting sleep medication such as zolpidem (i.e., Ambien, Ambien CR), temazepam (i.e., Restoril), or triazolam (i.e., Halcion). Melatonin taken at bedtime works both by shifting the body clock and by causing a hypnotic effect. A hypnotic medication treats one symptom by providing sleep, but it does not shift the circadian body clock.
How is the condition diagnosed?
Long Term Effects
What are the long-term effects of the condition?
What are the risks to others?
What are the treatments for the condition?
What are the side effects of the treatments?
What happens after treatment for the condition?
How is the condition monitored?
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Mayo Clinic Family Health Book, Second Edition, 1996, Published by William Morrow and Company, 1350 Ave. of the Americas, New York, NY 10019