7 Simple Steps to Reduce Jet Lag in Infants and Toddlers

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Touring with infants and younger kids might be tremendous rewarding but additionally 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 baby to adapt to sunlight financial savings time, adapting to much more hours could not appear very tempting.

Don’t hand over 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 kids 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 sensible 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 kind of sleep problem. The physique’s inside 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 flawed occasions.

Jet lag signs are extra probably when touring from a Western to an Jap timezone or when the time distinction is greater than three hours. It might trigger a child who usually sleeps by means of the evening to wake often. Toddlers could turn into 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 mild or darkness and sends the suitable alerts to organs all through the physique. Totally different organs perform extra throughout the daytime than whereas sleeping.

To ensure that the circadian rhythm to perform correctly, the suprachiasmatic nucleus should regulate physique temperature and the discharge of melatonin and cortisol. These three elements enable sleep to happen on the acceptable time.


This pineal gland hormone helps us to go to sleep. It’s suppressed by daylight, brilliant indoor lights, and blue mild 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 improve simply previous to waking and peak throughout the mid-morning hours.

Physique Temperature

Usually, physique temperature is decrease throughout 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 are despatched through the placenta. Newborns who’re breastfed obtain elements that assist with their sleep cycles. Daytime breastmilk is larger 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.

Nevertheless, the suprachiasmatic nucleus will not be absolutely purposeful till age two to a few years previous. Consequently, over 45 % of infants have night-time fussiness, waking, or issue falling asleep even of their dwelling surroundings. 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, general 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 results on their sleep cycle could also be minimal. Older infants and toddlers who sometimes stay awake a lot of the day, nevertheless, can expertise jet lag.

Potential signs embody:

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

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

What Can Be Accomplished to Reduce Jet Lag?

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

If touring for 3 days or much less, it will not be definitely worth the effort to alter 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 number of methods that may assist scale 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 Jap 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 sunlight hours sends “awake” alerts to the suprachiasmatic nucleus. This may 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 outside

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

5. Adhere to native time at your vacation spot

As a lot as potential, 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 throughout 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 extend jet lag signs.

6. Hold an everyday 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 could be useful to alter mealtimes to what’s acceptable within the native timezone.

7. Plan to reach at bedtime for longer time variations

Stopping jet lag throughout long-haul journey that includes an eight-hour or longer time distinction might be tougher. A morning flight within the departure metropolis could arrive throughout the nighttime on the vacation spot. In such conditions, it’s best to restrict publicity to brilliant mild 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 sometimes resets after three days.

Mother and father’ Widespread Questions About Jet Lag

What are the chance elements for extra extreme jet lag?

Touring in an eastward route and crossing a larger variety of time zones causes extra extreme jet lag signs. In a single day flights are sometimes related to poor sleep throughout journey which might 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 airplane journey until suggested by a physician. Some infants and youngsters expertise the alternative of the specified impact and turn into hyperactive as an alternative of sleepy.

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

Can infants/toddlers/kids take melatonin for flights?

Though melatonin dietary supplements have been proven to cut back jet lag in adults, their results and security for this goal haven’t been studied in infants or kids. The vast majority of merchandise available on the market aren’t advisable for youngsters underneath the age of three.

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

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

Though caring for a cranky toddler or toddler is not any enjoyable, jet lag is extra problematic for older kids, adolescents, and adults.

Frequent jet lag can have opposed well being results, comparable to excessive levels of cholesterol and blood strain. Daytime fatigue can have an effect on efficiency throughout faculty and sports activities.
Adults usually tend to have a motorcar accident if driving whereas jet lagged. To stop this, it might 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 normal time adjustments are much like jet lag. It could take a number of days to your child or toddler to regulate to the one-hour time distinction. Utilizing a few of the similar strategies that scale 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 potential, adapt when departure time in accordance with the ideas above, begin adapting to the brand new time zone already at dwelling, after which spend time outdoors throughout the day and begin residing by the brand new timezone as quickly as potential after arrival.

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

Have a enjoyable journey, 


Hey mother and father, you probably have further tricks to reduce jet lag or you probably have any questions, depart a remark under!

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Analysis References