September 25, 2023
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Touring with infants and younger youngsters might be tremendous rewarding but in addition tremendous exhausting. Along with the precise planning, touring, adapting to new meals, sleep environments, and so forth, touring over time zones means jet lag. For these of us who’ve struggled to get our little one to adapt to sunlight financial savings time, adapting to much more hours could not appear very tempting.

Don’t quit your touring plans simply but, although! There are methods to each forestall and mitigate extreme jet lag in infants and toddlers and as well as, younger youngsters seem to adapt extra simply than adults do.

jet lag in babies and toddlers

Jet lag in infants and toddlers does happen however might be prevented and mitigated with good planning and actions upon arrival. Right here’s what to do!

Stopping and Mitigating Jet Lag in Infants and Toddlers

What Is Jet Lag?

Jet lag is a sort of sleep problem. The physique’s inner sleep “clock” is out of sync with the native time of the journey vacation spot. The daylight and darkness hours are totally different from what the physique is accustomed to, inflicting an individual to really feel awake or sleepy on the incorrect instances.

Jet lag signs are extra seemingly when touring from a Western to an Japanese timezone or when the time distinction is greater than three hours. It will possibly trigger a child who usually sleeps via the evening to wake often. Toddlers could turn out to be cranky or have extra tantrums till they’ve adjusted to the brand new time zone.

The Circadian Rhythm

Our sleep cycles are depending on a traditional functioning “physique clock” generally known as the circadian rhythm. It is a 24-hour cycle that’s managed by the suprachiasmatic nucleus within the hypothalamus space of the mind. It responds when our eyes sense gentle or darkness and sends the suitable indicators to organs all through the physique. Totally different organs operate extra through the daytime than whereas sleeping.

To ensure that the circadian rhythm to operate correctly, the suprachiasmatic nucleus should regulate physique temperature and the discharge of melatonin and cortisol. These three parts permit sleep to happen on the applicable time.


This pineal gland hormone helps us to go to sleep. It’s suppressed by daylight, vivid indoor lights, and blue gentle emitted from screened units.


This adrenal gland hormone helps the physique handle bodily and psychological stress. There are decrease quantities of cortisol within the bloodstream at evening time. Ranges enhance simply previous to waking and peak through the mid-morning hours.

Physique Temperature

Usually, physique temperature is decrease through the night hours, which helps with sleep onset.

Toddler And Toddler Circadian Rhythms Are Totally different

At beginning, a child’s circadian rhythm has not but developed. Throughout fetal life, the sleep cycle is regulated by maternal melatonin and cortisol which can be despatched through the placenta. Newborns who’re breastfed obtain parts that assist with their sleep cycles. Daytime breastmilk is greater in cortisol and tyrosine, which hold infants awake. Night breastmilk has extra melatonin and tryptophan to advertise sleep.

Early indicators of a creating circadian rhythm seem between ages six to 9 months, serving to infants to sleep six hours or extra at evening.

Nonetheless, the suprachiasmatic nucleus shouldn’t be absolutely practical till age two to 3 years previous. Consequently, over 45 p.c of infants have night-time fussiness, waking, or problem falling asleep even of their dwelling setting. Including journey to this situation could make it much more tough for infants to sleep.

Signs of Jet Lag

Crossing timezones could trigger daytime sleepiness, total crankiness, or few signs in any respect. Youthful infants sleep at extra frequent intervals and take daytime naps. If these infants proceed this routine whereas touring, the consequences on their sleep cycle could also be minimal. Older infants and toddlers who usually stay awake a lot of the day, nonetheless, can expertise jet lag.

Potential signs embrace:

  • Fussiness with out indicators of sickness, starvation, or different discomforts
  • Drowsiness throughout daytime hours
  • Awake at instances when usually asleep
  • Constipation

These signs happen as a result of the suprachiasmatic nucleus sends indicators to the physique’s organs at instances that don’t match the brand new time zone. For instance, cortisol could also be launched from the adrenal glands at evening as a substitute of through the early morning hours.

What Can Be Carried out to Reduce Jet Lag?

1. For brief travels, don’t change the sleep schedule if attainable

If touring for 3 days or much less, it will not be definitely worth the effort to vary a child’s sleep schedule. Sustaining the identical sleep/wake hours retains your child on the same old routine. This additionally avoids the necessity to re-adjust the sleep schedule after returning dwelling. For longer journeys, there are a couple of methods that may assist cut back the signs of jet lag.

2. Begin adjusting the schedule already at dwelling

Begin adjusting the sleep/wake schedule three days previous to journey. For instance, if touring from Japanese to Pacific time zones, put your toddler to mattress one hour later every evening till the day of departure. This helps the circadian rhythm to regulate slowly to the time distinction and makes it simpler to stay awake till bedtime within the timezone of your journey vacation spot.

3. Fly within the morning or early afternoon, relying on the journey route

E book a morning or early afternoon flight. Flying throughout daylight sends “awake” indicators to the suprachiasmatic nucleus. This might help it reset to permit sleep after sundown at your new location.

As a result of sure instructions of journey are extra related to jet lag, elevated daylight publicity within the morning is finest when touring east, and night daylight publicity when going west.

4. Spend time outdoor

If there may be nonetheless daylight whenever you arrive at your journey vacation spot, spend time outdoor. This helps your toddler’s physique “clock” to regulate, expends some power, and makes falling asleep at bedtime a lot simpler.

5. Adhere to native time at your vacation spot

As a lot as attainable, attempt to adhere to the native time of your journey vacation spot. Do actions throughout daylight, and put your child to mattress on the corresponding native time. In case your child or toddler falls asleep through the daytime hours, attempt to wake him after 20 to half-hour. Longer naps could trigger him to not really feel sleepy at bedtime and delay jet lag signs.

6. Maintain a daily feeding schedule

Stop dehydration and constipation by breast or formula-feeding your child on his standard two to four-hour schedule. Supply water to toddlers and infants over six months previous. It might be useful to vary mealtimes to what’s applicable within the native timezone.

7. Plan to reach at bedtime for longer time variations

Stopping jet lag throughout long-haul journey that entails an eight-hour or longer time distinction might be more difficult. A morning flight within the departure metropolis could arrive through the nighttime on the vacation spot. In such conditions, it’s best to restrict publicity to vivid gentle and to attempt to sleep earlier than the solar rises. Arriving at bedtime has been proven to cut back jet lag and make the adjustment to the brand new timezone a lot simpler.

The circadian rhythm usually resets after three days.

Mother and father’ Widespread Questions About Jet Lag

What are the danger components for extra extreme jet lag?

Touring in an eastward route and crossing a better variety of time zones causes extra extreme jet lag signs. In a single day flights are sometimes related to poor sleep throughout journey which may additionally exacerbate signs.

What sedatives can be utilized for infants on flights?

Mother and father most often ask docs about giving Benadryl. The American Academy of Pediatrics doesn’t advocate its use for aircraft journey until suggested by a health care provider. Some infants and youngsters expertise the other of the specified impact and turn out to be hyperactive as a substitute of sleepy.

Typically, it’s best to not use sedatives on flights. The newborn could not wake to drink an sufficient quantity of fluids and should turn out to be dehydrated. The treatment might also not put on off as quickly as anticipated, and the kid should be sleepy upon arrival at your vacation spot.

Can infants/toddlers/youngsters take melatonin for flights?

Though melatonin dietary supplements have been proven to cut back jet lag in adults, their results and security for this function haven’t been studied in infants or youngsters. Nearly all of merchandise in the marketplace aren’t advisable for kids below the age of three.

A latest research (reference under) revealed that some child formulations additionally include cannabinoid derivatives and may, subsequently, not be given in any respect.

Is jet lag worse or much less extreme in older youngsters, adolescents, and adults?

Though caring for a cranky toddler or toddler isn’t any enjoyable, jet lag is extra problematic for older youngsters, adolescents, and adults.

Frequent jet lag can have opposed well being results, similar to excessive levels of cholesterol and blood stress. Daytime fatigue can have an effect on efficiency throughout college and sports activities.
Adults usually tend to have a motorized vehicle accident if driving whereas jet lagged. To stop this, it could be finest to take a taxi, ride-share service, or public transportation at your journey vacation spot and after your flight dwelling.

Are difficulties with sleep attributable to “daylight financial savings” time adjustments much like jet lag?

Sure, the difficulties adjusting to “daylight financial savings” and commonplace time adjustments are much like jet lag. It might take a couple of days in your child or toddler to regulate to the one-hour time distinction. Utilizing a few of the similar strategies that cut back jet lag signs could make the transition simpler.


To summarize this text, jet lag in infants and toddlers does occur, however extreme jet lag might be minimized by prevention earlier than the journey and mitigation after arrival. If attainable, adapt when departure time in keeping with the ideas above, begin adapting to the brand new time zone already at dwelling, after which spend time outdoors through the day and begin residing by the brand new timezone as quickly as attainable after arrival.

For younger infants and brief journeys, contemplate not altering their schedule.

Have a enjoyable journey, 


Hey dad and mom, in case you have extra tricks to decrease jet lag or in case you have any questions, go away a remark under!

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Analysis References