This Is Your Body on Jet Lag

You can’t avoid it, according to science. But you can make it less of a drag.

Illustration: Mark Wang

“Exposure to bright light gently nudges the body clock so that our sleep period is pushed back into the nighttime.”

The symptoms, and how to lessen them

The main affliction of jet lag, as anyone who has ever experienced it can attest, is an intense desire to sleep during the daytime or stay awake at night. Jet lag can also contribute to moodiness, digestive distress, trouble concentrating, and generally feeling subpar — likely all the result of a lack of sleep as well as uncomfortable sitting positions, air quality, and pressure. According to the American Academy of Sleep Medicine, these symptoms tend to feel worse as people get older.

Writer and editor in New York City.

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