As adults, most of us have experienced jet lag and the effect it has on our sleep and wakefulness.
Jet Lag is a condition that results in a disturbance or imbalance in our body’s natural “biological clock” which is caused by traveling to different time zones.
Our bodies operate on a 24- hour cycle called Circadian Rhythms. These rhythms are influenced by the rising and setting of the sun, exposure to natural sunlight and help dictate when we sleep and when we are awake.
When we travel to a new time zone we arrive at our destination much quicker than our bodies are able to adapt. It takes a few days for our circadian rhythms to adjust and shift our biological schedule. This lapse is called Jet Lag.
Babies and children are certainly no exception and will also feel the effects of jet lag. Here are some tips on how to handle their sleep and help them adjust.
1-Make sure your baby is well rested before your trip. Give yourself enough time to get your child on a consistent sleep schedule and use sleep training techniques to iron out any sleep issues before you leave. This will help ensure that your child is well rested and make it easier to adapt to the new time zone.
2-Set your watch to the local time as soon as you arrive. Get your child onto local time as quickly as possible. It will take a few days to adjust so it’s ok to be more relaxed with your schedule. Follow your baby’s cues, however start to get them sleeping on their usual schedule but in local time sooner than later. Resist the urge to compare what time it is “at home”
3- Comforts of home. Bring your child’s bedtime items from home. Their sleep sac, or blankies. Their favorite lovie and bedtime story books and I always advise my clients to travel with either a portable black out shade or some good quality garbage bags and tape ,so that we can ensure a sleep conducive environment wherever you are.
4- Get Outside! One of the best ways to help your body clock adjust is to have exposure to natural sunlight during wakeful hours . On the other side of that coin, you will want to be in reduced lighting or darkness during evening hours .
Enjoy your time and don’t worry too much about schedules while you are away, you will simply get back on track when you get home .Travelling with children doesn’t have to be stressful. Implement these simple tips and give it a few days to kick in and before you know it you will have to do it all over again upon your return!