No-one likes jet lag. More formally defined as flight fatigue, the unpleasant combination of symptoms that follow travelling across time zones (loss of appetite, headaches, insomnia and nausea) can often be so irritating, they render the first few days of a holiday null, whilst you desperately wait to feel back to normal. Dealing with this change in your body is never easy but it’s particularly hard when you’ve got a little one who’s also experiencing the same symptoms to look after. Research shows that whilst babies sleep routines are naturally sporadic, they can be just as affected by changes in timezone as adults. Then, if you are travelling somewhere where your little one may experience jet lag, we advise making sure you are clear on how to minimise their symptoms when you arrive. Here are our top tips…
If there’s only a few hours difference between where you going and where you’ve jetted from, one of the best ways to avoid jet lag is to adjust your little ones sleep schedule by a few hours prior to your trip. If it’s a four-hour time difference, consider shifting their routine in one hour chunks, each day the week before you leave until they are more or less on the new time. It may seem like a lot of work but if you are going to be gone for a while, it’s a good technique to try. If you are travelling as much as 15 hours to a whole day ahead then this is unlikely to have as good an effect. Instead, you’ll need to adjust your little ones routine as soon as you arrive. Whichever method you use, in the week leading up to the trip try and make sure babies are as well-rested as possible since this will make things easier all round!
THINK ABOUT LIGHT AND DARK
When dealing with jet lag, an awareness of light and dark is essential to managing little ones symptoms. Keeping their surroundings dark when they need to sleep and light when they need to be awake, will help reset little ones body clocks and allow them to understand when they should and shouldn’t be asleep. Then, if you find on the first few days of your holiday your little one awakes in the middle of the night, keep them in bed and keep them in the dark. They may want to roll around and play, but don’t treat nighttime as daytime as this will make it harder for them to reset. Similarly, try and keep them awake in the day even if they seem tired. Our star shaped night light, is particularly great for subtly adjusting the light and lets out a soft warm glow, sure to comfort little ones when they feel unsettled.
KEEPING THEM EATING
In the first few days of jet lag your little ones are likely to suffer a loss of appetite, which will can meal times difficult. To ease the symptoms pack all their favourite foods when you travel and try to get them to eat small amounts frequently. Fruits are great as most kids will eat a banana or strawberries. Try to balance the foods over the course of the day so they are getting full, but not overwhelmed. Also try to get them to eat as much as they can before bed time – this will reduce the body’s need to wake up early for breakfast and hopefully help to quicken up their body reset!
DON’T GIVE UP
Last but not least… stay strong! Jet lag is never easy and in those first few days when your baby seems irritable and upset, it may feel like it will never wear off, but we can guarantee it will! The prognosis for jet lag is great and most little ones are back to themselves after around 2-3 days. Just hang in there and try and make the most of being away!