Jet Lag and Children


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Young children can prove difficult travelling companions on long flights, and this is especially the case when travelling across time zones and said children suffer from jet lag. In this article we look at how you can manage jet lag in young children both before and after your travels.

Avoiding jet lag in young children

Unfortunately one of the more popular and effective preventative measures used for jet lag is not recommended for young children. This particular therapy is melatonin, an artificial version of a natural hormone with a number of critical physiological roles. One of these is the regulation of our body clocks, a hormonal rhythm disrupted during jet lag, which is why the artificial version makes such a potent preventative therapy for the condition. Unfortunately melatonin also has important roles in regulating growth and development, and the use of artificial melatonin for jet lag can potentially cause developmental issues.

If you want to prevent jet lag in young children, the most effective method of doing so is by adjusting their daily patterns to more closely match the schedule of the country to which you are travelling. These changes should be made gradually in the weeks leading up to travel, as this allows the body’s natural time keeping mechanisms to adjust without issue.

What this usually entails is sleeping a few hours earlier or later, depending on the direction in which you are travelling. While this is a seemingly simple measure, it is perhaps one of the most natural and reliable which can hugely improve your trip as a whole.

You are also advised to keep your kids well fed and hydrated throughout the flight. If possible, only allow short naps, and once you are on board the plane act as if you were going about a normal day according to the timing of your destination. Which means that if you are arriving during the day, try and stay awake until night falls, and vice versa. Again this will help your children’s bodies quickly adapt to your new destination, bypassing the unpleasantness of jet lag for both yourself and your family.


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