Jet-lag: how does it affect you?

Recently we travelled to Ireland with the kids to spend the holidays with family. From door to door the trip was close to 28 hours. The flight itself was 23.5 hours – and we certainly didn’t get our normal sleep like we’re used to. 

The boys have done a bit of travelling and one of the most exciting things for them is having access to their own TV screen and remote now that they’re that bit older. Sleep probably doesn’t excite them as much so when travelling we try to encourage them to get sleep when they can, especially when the lights go down on the plane and the ceiling looks like the night sky. Socks and shoes come off so we’re comfortable. The temperature on the plane can go up and down so I tend to keep the boys in t-shirts and use the blankets the plane provides as they’re quite warm without the boys overheating and waking up cranky. Hydration is key. Even if they feel like they’re not thirsty, once they have a sip they end up drinking the full cup.


What we have discovered is that when travelling long distances to Europe for example, for our family arriving at nighttime works better for our body clocks. The boys stay up a little later than normal and will generally sleep 6 hours on the first night. We experience a couple of early morning wake ups following that so we try to have a short nap through the day if possible (though trying to wake everyone up can be a bit of a struggle as the body wants to sleep longer!!). If the boys won’t sleep in the house because they’re too excited or busy, we hop in the car and that ensures they get at least an hour of sleep.


While you may not feel like it, getting out into the fresh air is essential. Even if you’re in cold weather, fresh air just seems to re-energise the body and mind and dust off any cobwebs. Daylight does wonders for the body. Appetite also differs for the first few days when travelling such a distance. My eldest is not great with eating food on the plane. In fact on this trip he barely ate anything including snacks I had with me. When we arrived in Ireland my youngest ate non-stop for the first few days – apparently he was always hungry! We just went with the flow and tried to give them substantial and filling foods until their appetite went back to normal.


As much as I’d love jet-lag to be over sooner, it takes us about 5 – 7 days to be fully functional and get rid of that lethargic feeling. What are your tips for jet-lag? Does it take you long to get over it?


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