Ever struggled with jet lag?
Jet lag is caused when the sleep-wake and light-dark cycle shifts too quickly for the circadian clock in your brain to keep up, disrupting almost all biological systems in your body, and often making the start and end of any trip feel exhausting.
On January 17, we celebrate National Lose the Jet Lag Day. As we start making travel plans for the year ahead, it’s the perfect day to learn more about jet lag science and how to “timeshift” to adjust more quickly to new time zones so you can experience more fulfilling and productive travel.
This day is sponsored by The United Family of Cards from Chase, which helps people get the most out of travel by giving them better experiences through card rewards and benefits.
On National Lose the Jet Lag Day, we acknowledge jet lag’s significant human and financial costs – from poor concentration and reduced productivity to less enjoyment and weakened immune function. According to United’s partners at Timeshifter®, the key to beating jet lag the scientific way is to properly time light exposure and light avoidance, which are the most important time cues for resetting the circadian clock. Coupled with advice on sleep and nap timing and optional caffeine and melatonin use, Timeshifter’s jet lag app which will help reset your body clock more quickly than normal so you don’t miss a beat when you travel.
Let’s celebrate with Chase and United by learning how to avoid jet lag to make this an even more exciting and productive year of travel!
National Lose the Jet Lag Day timeline
The Federal Aviation Administration (FAA) published its first study on Jet Lag, 14 years after jet passenger service was born.
Learn more here.
The term "jet lag" was first used in a Los Angeles Times article on February 13, 1966.
The Nobel Assembly at Karolinska Institute awarded the 2017 Nobel Prize in Physiology or Medicine jointly to Jeffrey C. Hall, Michael Rosbash, and Michael W. Young for their discoveries of molecular mechanisms controlling the circadian rhythm. Learn more here.
According to the International Air Transport Association (IATA), there were 448 million long-haul passengers in 2018, and according to a survey conducted by Conde Nast Traveler, 93% of long-haul travelers struggle with jet lag.
Timeshifter launched its first version of their jet lag app. The app is now the most-downloaded and highest-rated jet lag app in the world.
United Airlines becomes the first airline in the world to offer a science-based jet lag solution to their passengers.
The United Family of Cards’ new cardmember miles bonuses launch. See current offer details in FAQ section below.
Based on more than 80,000 post-flight surveys, 96.4% of travelers who followed Timeshifter's advice said they didn’t struggle with severe or very severe jet lag. Travelers who didn’t follow their Timeshifter advice were 16 times more likely to report very severe jet lag.
The United Family of Cards from Chase debuts National Lose the Jet Lag Day to shine a light on jet lag science and help travelers adjust rapidly to new time zones!
National Lose the Jet Lag Day FAQ
What is the best way to tackle the underlying cause of jet lag?
Use the Timeshifter app to create personalized jet lag plans based on your sleep pattern, chronotype, itinerary, and personal preferences. The app was developed with world-renowned scientists based on the latest research in sleep and circadian neuroscience. Based on more than 60,000 post-flight surveys, travelers who followed Timeshifter’s advice versus travelers who didn’t follow their Timeshifter plan were 16 times less likely to report very severe jet lag.
How to Celebrate National Lose the Jet Lag Day
Book a United Flight
The United Family of Cards invites anyone interested in traveling to book a United flight to a destination that crosses two or more time zones. Book a flight here.
Learn More About the United Family of Cards from Chase
Each card from The United Family of Cards from Chase is unique. However, all allow Cardmembers to earn miles, special benefits and unmatched experiences. Special benefits may include United Club access, free checked bags, flight credits and discounts, among others. If you decide to become a United Cardmember, you'll get rewards everywhere you go and with every purchase you make. Take the first step and learn more.
A Few Facts About Jet Lag, According To Timeshifter
Jet Lag Symptoms
There are several symptoms of jet lag, including: fatigue, sleepiness, digestive upsets, impaired judgment and decision-making, memory lapses, irritability, apathy, and weekend immune function. These symptoms often result in reduced productivity, compromised safety, and less enjoyment.
Flying East or West Makes a Difference
Whether you find it easier to travel east or west depends on your chronotype (whether you are an early bird or a night owl)! When we travel west, we need to delay our circadian clock to a later time and lengthen our day. When we travel east, we need to advance our circadian clock to an earlier time and shorten our day. Night owls (about 75% of people) have a circadian clock with a day length longer than 24 hours, so they find it easier to travel west, as they are 'going with their clock', not against it. Early birds (about 25% of people) have a circadian clock with a day length shorter than 24 hours. This is the equivalent of naturally traveling a little bit east every day and so they find it easier to travel east.
Controversial Use of Medications
Sleep meds might knock you out on the flight, or help you fall asleep faster in the hotel, but they don’t shift the circadian clock and could lead you to miss seeing light at the right time, which is the real scientific solution to tackling the underlying cause of jet lag. Sleeping medications are not necessary if light-dark exposure is timed properly to reset your circadian clock — once the clock is reset, you should be able to sleep at your normal time.
The Key to Quick Adaptation is Timed Light Exposure
Surprising to many, light is the most important time cue for resetting your circadian clock. Managing when to see light and when to avoid light is critical to adapting to new time zones quickly. The right light exposure at the right time can significantly accelerate your adaptation. Seeing light at the wrong time — as often recommended by non-experts — will make your jet lag worse.
Tips to Take on Jet Lag, According to Timeshifter
Make a Plan
With the Timeshifter jet lag app, you get personalized jet lag plans based on your sleep pattern, chronotype, itinerary, and personal preferences for caffeine and melatonin use.
Manage Light Exposure
The right light exposure at the right time can significantly accelerate your adaptation. Seeing light at the wrong time will make your jet lag worse.
Using caffeine “little and often,” and then stopping after lunch, will optimize the benefits and minimize the negative effects on sleep.
These statements have not been evaluated by the Food and Drug Administration. Timeshifter is not intended to diagnose, treat, cure or prevent any disease, and is intended for healthy adults, 18 years of age or older. Timeshifter's jet lag app is intended only for passengers — not for flight crew on duty.
National Lose the Jet Lag Day dates