Jet Lag

Jet lag is a disruption of the circadian rhythms common to world travelers. The disorder is caused by rapid travel across multiple time zones, in which the circadian system is not able to adjust to the new environmental conditions. Entrained by the environmental cues of the locality when we travel across time zones into a different environment, our circadian rhythms need several days to readjust to the new locality depending on the number of time zones we have crossed.

Social jet lag is a disruption of the circadian rhythms with similar effects to the time zone travel. The phenomenon is called social jet lag because it is usually due to people social and work schedules during workdays and the weekends that are in conflict with the environmental cues. The side effects mirror jet lag since the circadian system relies on the environmental cues to reset but the daily activities are out of sync with the environment and the internal biological clock.



Jet lag is perhaps the most recognizable of circadian rhythms disruptions. It is also relatively easy to prevent. The symptoms of jet lag cause distress to an increasing number of travelers. Potentially they may experience disturbed sleep, daytime fatigue, poor performance in mental and physical tasks, decreased alertness and headache, depression, disorientation, loss of appetite, and gastrointestinal disturbance. Professional athletes traveling long distances through time zones tend to perform inadequately when their circadian rhythms are out of sync.
Business travelers, pilots, and flight attendants may experience frequent shifts to changing time zones, and it may be practical for them to remain on their home-based schedule.

Social Jet Lag

Social jet lag is defined as circadian rhythms disruption or misalignment imposed by our workday schedule. Our mealtime and sleep schedules are easily altered by our social obligations during the week. In the weekend we often compensate by sleeping longer hours.

More than 85% of working adults and school-aged teenagers suffer from sleeping late and insufficient hours during the weekdays and oversleeping during the weekends. This daily disruption of the circadian rhythms and its effects on the body and behavior is comparable to real jet lag and can cause serious health risks. Studies into social jet lag have found those suffering from the condition are more likely to be depressed, smoke, consume more caffeine and drink more alcohol than average.






Travel Stress in Athletes

Travel across multiple time zones is a common feature of the lifestyle of contemporary international sports competitors. This entails a disruption of the body's circadian timing mechanisms which can cause performance impairment during the period of adjustment to the new time zone. Apart from the decreased ability in mental and physical performance, competitive athletes are also exposed to the additional negative consequences of a shift from the optimal circadian window of performance. To be able to perform at top level, it is crucial that athletes adjust their body’s circadian rhythms in tune with local time.  

Athletes and their coaches and mentors should consider preparing for long-haul flights before traveling across multiple meridians. Circadian rhythms can be adjusted by the use of melatonin treatment and light therapy days before traveling.



Melatonin and Light Therapy

The speed of re-synchronization of circadian rhythms to the new time zone depends on multiple factors, including the number of zones crossed, the direction of travel, the length of the stay and the traveler’s ability to adapt to the new location.
Critically timed exposure to bright light and melatonin administration can help to reduce symptoms of jet lag. Traveling across several time zones necessitates resetting and adjusting to a new daylight schedule.  Natural light exposure has a major influence on the internal circadian clock and is the ideal mechanism for counteracting jet lag. Light therapy, including the use of a light box, a bright full spectrum lamp, may be a viable option for those who travel frequently and are unable to have exposure to natural daylight. Light triggers the release of serotonin in the body which makes us awake, alert and happy.

Critically timed exposure to bright light and melatonin administration can help to reduce symptoms of jet lag.

Correlating the administration of melatonin with the new time zone helps travelers overcome symptoms. Melatonin serves as a "dark pulse" helping to induce nighttime behaviors. In the human body, sleep is initiated during a rise in the concentration of melatonin. Synthesized from serotonin in the pineal gland, melatonin helps to shift human circadian rhythms. An increase in melatonin alerts the body that “biological night” is starting.

The timing of light or melatonin administration should be tailored to the individual’s body clock at the time of departure to gradually shift the body clock to that of the new time zone. For example, traveling east across 6 time zones, from New York City to Oslo, travelers should wake up and go to bed earlier by increments of one hour each day until the day of departure in order to adapt to the destination time zone. During the long flights, the traveler should keep eating, drinking and sleeping schedule that is in sync with the destination. Light exposure delays onset of the circadian rhythms night cycles and could be avoided by wearing Circadian Eyewear sleep glasses.

You also need to eat and sleep one hour earlier than the night before to entrain your circadian rhythms to the destination time zone. This process is reversed when traveling west meaning you have to use the sleep glasses and sleep one hour later each night, granted that you get enough, 7-8 hours of sleep.

To reset your body clock to avoid social jet lag, you should get seven to eight hours of sleep each night on a regular schedule and resist the urge to sleep longer during the weekends. The best remedy for social jet lag is a consistent daily sleep schedule that is not altered too often. Wearing Circadian Eyewear virtual darkness can help formation of better sleep patterns. 



Circadian Eyewear is a medical device which eliminates the blue wavelengths from reaching the retina. Wearing Circadian Eyewear helps entrain the circadian rhythms, regulate sleep duration and quality, and the timely production and secretion of melatonin.

It takes the circadian rhythms approximately one day per time zone to acclimate to the new environment. Traveling east, starting a few days before, wear the Circadian Eyewear tested blue blockers earlier by one hour each day, to sleep and wake up earlier in order to adjust to the destination time zone. For example, if you are traveling across 3 time zones eastwards you need to use Circadian Eyewear from 3 nights prior one hour earlier each night than the night before. Traveling westwards, do the opposite.

For social jet lag wear Circadian Eyewear every night 2 hours before a regularly scheduled sleep time. The best remedy for social jet lag is minimal variation in a regularly scheduled daily sleep time regardless of workdays or weekends. Facilitating production and secretion of melatonin, Circadian Eyewear tested blue blockers are the best remedy which help the synchronization of the circadian system and sleep's quality and duration.  

Circadian Eyewear Collection
Circadian Eyewear



Research from PubMed

Melatonin and its relevance to jet lag.

Amber lenses to block blue light and improve sleep: a randomized trial.

Circadian rhythms, athletic performance, and jet lag.

Travel fatigue and jet-lag.

Jet lag and air travel: implications for performance.

Jet lag: therapeutic use of melatonin and possible application of melatonin analogs.

Jet lag, circadian rhythm sleep disturbances, and depression: the role of melatonin and its analogs.

Jet lag: minimizing its effects with critically timed bright light and melatonin administration.

Light visor treatment for jet lag after westward travel across six time zones.

Jet Lag Current and Potential Therapies.

Experimental ‘Jet Lag’ Inhibits Adult Neurogenesis and Produces Long-Term Cognitive Deficits in Female Hamsters.

Research Sources