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Can Babies Get Jet Lag?

Jet lag is a type of extrinsic circadian rhythm sleep disorder that happens when a person travels from one time zone to another. In fact, one of the major concerns of people when travelling is how are they going to adjust their sleep-wake cycle when they already passed through many different time zones. Babies, just like anyone else, can experience jet lag. However, there is nothing to worry about if your baby is experiencing jet lag, since jet lag is only temporary and your baby can easily adapt to the new time zone he or she is in.

Adjusting Babies to Jet Lag

Adjusting Babies to Jet Lag

Jet lag in babies is similar to jet lag in adults. Jet lag in babies are characterized with inability to fall asleep at night, feeling tired or looking tired all throughout the day, and inability to wake up early in the morning. Babies’ circadian rhythm can easily adjust to the new time zone, wherein babies’ body will automatically adjust to the new time zone by resetting the circadian rhythm to the current location’s daytime and nighttime. Even though babies’ circadian rhythm can easily adjust to the new time zone, as parents, you can still do something before the trip to help your baby’s adjustment to the new time zone smoother and faster.

What to Do Before the Trip

  1. Slowly adjust your baby’s sleep schedule to the new time zone where you are travelling. You can slowly adjust your baby’s sleep schedule by several minutes every night, to slowly adjust his sleep schedule to the new time zone. The lesser time difference of your baby’s sleep schedule with the new time zone, the easier it will be for your baby to adjust.
  2. If your baby has a special sleeping aid (pillow, blanket, stuffed toy, etc.) be sure that you will bring it with you in your trip. Special sleeping aids can help your baby get comfortable in falling asleep.
  3. Never change your baby’s sleep schedule drastically days before the flight. Remember, babies who fly tired is very hassle and stressful.

What to Do On the Airplane

  1. As much as possible, stick with your baby’s sleep schedule even when in the plane. If your baby’s naptime falls on your flight, then allow your baby to sleep.
  2. Always keep your baby hydrated during the flight. Keeping your baby hydrated all throughout the flight can help in keeping your baby energized until you reach your destination.
  3. Adhere to your baby’s regular feeding schedule. Do not allow your baby to get hungry.

Baby and the New Time Zone

As much as possible, bring your baby outdoors, where he or she can see and get exposed under the sunlight. The sunlight is very important in adjusting your baby’s circadian rhythm to the new time zone and shortening his or her jet lag.