Is jet lag a choice?

Is jet lag a choice?

Although this year’s football season has ended, the social media chatter about the romance between pop music icon Taylor Swift and Kansas City Chiefs tight end Travis Kelce continues. One video catches the couple referencing Swift’s international travel from Tokyo to Las Vegas. Kelce asks, “How do you not have jet lag right now?” for Swift to respond, “Jet lag is a choice.”

Unfortunately, jet lag isn’t a choice. The temporary sleep disorder occurs when your normal circadian rhythm, or sleep-wake cycle, is disrupted when you travel to a new time zone.

“You can’t really control feeling the impact of jet lag, but there are ways you can make it easier on your body, including staying hydrated and avoiding alcohol and heavy meals,” explains Dr. Yelena Tumashova, a sleep medicine physician at Advocate Health Care.

Jet lag can cause physical and mental symptoms including, trouble falling or staying asleep, daytime drowsiness, irritability, trouble concentrating, nausea and sometimes even gastrointestinal problems.

If you’re not an experienced international jet setter like Swift, Dr. Tumashova says there are some fast, effective ways to reverse jet lag:

  • Prioritize sleep ahead of your trip
  • Drink a lot of water
  • Exercise in the morning
  • Drink coffee in the morning to adjust to new circadian rhythm
  • Expose yourself to light during the day in the new time zone
  • Adjust to a new sleep schedule by avoiding naps
  • Avoid alcohol and heavy meals
  • Take melatonin at new bedtime
  • Avoid stress

Some people are more prone to jet lag that others. “People who have bad sleep habits or have untreated sleep apnea are more likely to experience the condition,” says Dr. Tumashova.

If you have concerns about your sleep habits, contact your primary care doctor.

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About the Author

Anna Kohler
Anna Kohler

Anna Kohler, health enews contributor, is a public affairs specialist for Advocate Health Care and Aurora Health Care. She received her Bachelor of Science in public relations from Illinois State University and has worked in healthcare public relations and content marketing for over five years. In her free time, she enjoys working out, exploring new places with her friends and family, and keeping up with the latest social media trends.