Alright, readers, let’s talk about jet lag. Why, you may ask? Well, this week the partier-in-chief (me!) moved with my entire family for a 5 month sabbatical in Israel. Before you get all concerned about your parties, though, don’t worry, fellow party facilitators Dana, Ben, and Joanie will still be at your events on this side of the Atlantic. And extra bonus, if you live in Israel and want a science party for yourself or your children, let me know! When we say “perfect for all ages,” we mean it!
But in the short term….the jet lag. Kids are awake all kinds of hours, can’t sleep at night, dead tired during the day. What causes this and how can we fix it, preferably soon, before we totally lose our sanity?
The answer to the first part of the question is fairly simple: jet lag is caused when you travel between time zones, because the body’s circadian rhythm gets all thrown out of whack as a result. How can we fix it? Mostly, according to numerous internet searches (check out here: https://www.medicinenet.com/jet_lag/article.htm#how_long_does_jet_lag_last and here: https://www.mayoclinic.org/diseases-conditions/jet-lag/symptoms-causes/syc-20374027), we just have to wait enough time for the jet lag to go away. How long is enough time? Usually your body can adjust to 1-2 time zones per day, so if you crossed 8 time zones, you can expect to be recovered in 4-5 days.
Can we make jet lag easier for the sufferer, or for the parents of the sufferers? Sure! I started searching for some remedies in my sleep-deprived state, and it turns out that if we had tried to adjust the childrens’ schedules in advance, we could have minimized the jet lag symptoms BUT ALAS….we did not do that, so now we are out of luck on this advice.
What can we do right now to help this situation? Well, we could use melatonin supplements to help re-adjust our children’s sleeping cycle. BUT…to be honest with you, I am not entirely comfortable as a parent giving a hormonal supplement to my young children. I know it’s “natural,” I know our bodies naturally produce melatonin, but it doesn’t mean that the supplementation is necessarily healthy for the children involved. The sleep deprivation would have o be pretty high to use melatonin on the kids.
Avoiding alcohol and caffeine is great for the kids – they don’t drink alcohol and caffeine anyway – but somewhat less great for us as we try to cope with them. Turns out that alcohol and caffeine can mess with your sleep cycle, meaning that you won’t actually be able to get the rest that you need to recover.
Above all, be patient with jet lag. It won’t last forever.