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With millions of people travelling around the world every year, many of them crossing several timezones at a time, jet lag can play havoc with your body clock as it struggles to keep up with the changes. It affects your natural sleep pattern and though this will tend to improve naturally after a number of days, the biggest issue for many comes when they have travelled somewhere for a holiday and spent the first 3 to 5 days unable to sleep - or unable to stop sleeping - as this can have a very detrimental affect on the overall experience.
Your ‘body clock’ is naturally regulated by the day and night cycle of the country you are in. When night falls and it gets dark, the chemical melatonin is released in your brain which gets the body and mind ready for a night of rest. Whilst the sun is up throughout the day, melatonin is suppressed and its production is prevented meaning you stay awake. This is how your body clocks naturally regulates itself.
If you have travelled to a country where nightfall and sunrise occur at a different time to your home country, or you have travelled through a number of time zones, then your body clock will be altered and the symptoms, which make you feel either wide awake when you should be sleepin, or exhausted when you should be awake, are known as jet lag.
Jet leg has a number of symptoms and depending on how many time zones you have travelled through, you may experience none, one, or all of them and to different degrees of severity until your body is attuned to the new time zone.
Aside from the disturbances to your sleep pattern you may find that you feel fatigued throughout the day, weak, restless, disorientated with poor concentration, memory issues and nausea. It can also affect your digestive system resulting in indigestion, constipation or diarrhoea, as well as bloating
Sleeping pills prescribed from your doctor can assist you in getting to sleep during a period of intense jet lag during which you may be struggling to get to sleep, though they should only be used on a short term basis.
Melatonin tablets can also be prescribed to help you in adjusting to your timezone and can reduce the time it takes for this to happen. Melatonin is the same hormone, which your body produces naturally to regulate your wake/sleep cycle and as such, this jet lag treatment can be very effective as they adjust your circadian rhythm, bringing you back in line with the timezone of the country to which you have travelled.
Jet Lag treatments generally involve simple things you can do yourself such as minimising your caffeine and alcohol intake and staying well hydrated during the peak period you are suffering from jet lag. Taking some light to moderate exercise has also been shown to assist you in adjusting to your new time zone.
Holding off on sleeping until the time is ‘right’ no matter how tired you may be feeling is also a very effective way to overcome jet lag.
The jet lag medication Circadin ‘tops up’ your body’s level of melatonin when it is struggling to produce enough due to a change in time zones. The tablets have been shown to be effective at supporting you in falling asleep and waking up at an appropriate hour rather than staying awake all night and wanting to sleep all day.
90% of the patients who took melatonin in trials for jet lag after travelling across 5+ time zones found that their jet lag symptoms were decreased. It also showed that the more time zones crossed, the better the melatonin jet lag treatment worked.
Melatonin supplements such as Circadin, are safe and effective to take as a treatment for jet lag as confirmed in the Cochrane review.
It has been shown that taking a melatonin supplement at the wrong time can result in shifting your internal body clock in the ‘wrong direction’ and as such, it is crucial you follow the directions which come with your prescription as well as any recommendations given by your Click Pharmacy doctor or GP.
It is not safe to take melatonin if you take the blood thinner warfarin or suffer from epilepsy but if you feel that Circadian may be beneficial for your travels, then book a free and confidential online appointment to discuss the safety of the treatment before buying a prescription.
You can purchase this treatment online once you have completed an online assessment. The answers you give will be checked over by one of the Click Pharmacy experts who will be able to confirm if this medication is safe for you to use based on other health conditions you may already have and other medication you currently take.
They will also be able to assist you in deciding whether it is necessary to take such a medication by discussing how far you are travelling and the number of time zones you will be crossing through. Once you have been prescribed Circadin, you can purchase your medication online via the Click Pharmacy website and it will be sent out to you via next day delivery where possible.
Circadin allows your body to get back into its sleep cycle more quickly and effectively than if it were trying to do it without the additional melatonin release. Fast release forms of melatonin pass through the system quickly and can cause a peak in blood pressure whereas Circadin, with its prolonged release formulation, continues to release the melatonin over a longer period of time mimicking a more natural pattern to help you sleep more deeply. In this way it also helps keep nocturnal blood pressure even.
You should notice the effects of Circadin after around an hour due to the brain’s sensitivity to even low doses of melatonin at the start of the night.
Side effects are not common from Circadin though drowsiness can occur and as such, it is not wise to drive or use machinery after taking it.
Other studied side effects have been found in around 1 in 10 patients in every thousand. These include but are not limited to:
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