Jet lag and secondary jet lag

I handle jet lag well upon arrival in the US. We function during the day, despite waking up at 3 am for several days. By the second morning the kids already woke at 7:30. The return is different. Typically we are all awake at night the first week, then I suffer for an additional week. It’s not just the jetlag; it’s having to jump back into the summer “routine.” I find myself not remembering things that happened during that first week at home. And my husband complains about “secondary jet lag” from everyone else’s night-wakings.

We arrived yesterday afternoon. My 7yo then slept all night, getting up in time for my husband to take him to camp. Go figure. My 4yo slept for a while then lay quietly with her head on my lap during the wee hours, and then slept again from 4am to 1:00 PM. I slept only from 6:30 to 10:30 am.

I am determined to beat the jet lag this time. I have to order school books, prepare sheva brachot, and plan a vacation, while keeping the house running with everyone home all day. I read that when fatigue hits, one should drink coffee and take a nap until the caffeine kicks in. I plan to try this approach, but am open to other suggestions.


  1. mother in israel says

    My husband has a week off in August. We have a wedding and sheva brachot during that week and the NBN conference (you’ll be there, right?), so I’m not talking about a major trip. Remember that not all the kids came with me.

  2. don’t forget in your list of things to do; blog… đŸ™‚
    But really – plan a vacation? didn’t you just take a vacation? do you feel obligated to plan another vacation after a big trip like the one you had (not that you can’t, just wondering about the need)

  3. I plan to be there. Are you going to lose your anonymity?

  4. Well, if you’re really open to suggestions on how to beat fatigue:
    1)stick your head in the freezer for 30 seconds. Instantly awakens you.
    2)Crank up the music and dance around your living room.
    3)Listen to your upstairs neighbor scream at you for cranking up the music (see #2).
    4)Chew some extra minty gum.
    5)Think about the person you hate most in the world until your blood starts to boil. Feel the adrenaline flood your system. Stomp around the apartment calling him/her dirty names under your breath. You will feel a major burst of energy.
    Good luck!

  5. My husband commutes back and forth and found melatonnin pills helpful. They have the advantage of being something you produce naturally anyhow and they’re over-the-counter.

  6. Oy! Don’t mention jet lag. We just got back from Canada. My 15 y.o. daughter is just emerging from her jet lag, though since this is summer and she is a typical teenager, she anyway lives her life like an owl (up half the night, sleeps till midday). I found that going outside in the daylight helped me adjust, physical exericse (swimming, gym etc.). Having Shabbat to recuperate also helped.

  7. Lion in Zion says

    the good thing about having such an erratic sleep schedule is that i don’t get jet lagged. i may be tired for a day, but with a good night of sleep i’m fine again.
    my son is a different story. when we visited israel 2 summers ago he was up almost the entire night for the first week. and then he got very sick for the second week. i made a neder not to go back until his bar mitzva.

  8. A Living Nadneyda says

    We also have a really hard time with jet lag coming back to Israel. I remember when our first-born was a baby, all three of us just camping out on the living room floor during the night so we could keep her entertained and sort-of rest at the same time.
    Suggestions? That Guy I Married just keeps himself awake until he hits the appropriate time zone sleeping time. Never worked for me….
    Exposure to sunlight, from sunup to sundown, helps the body readjust. The back of the knee is supposed to be a key region for internal clock resetting, for whatever reason.
    Good luck!

  9. mother in israel says

    My comments here and on the other post didn’t go through.
    Thanks for the suggestions. Except for my teen (see Annie’s comment) we all managed to sleep most of last night. Is melatonin available in Israel? I’ve heard good things about it but forgot to pick it up in the US.
    LOZ, in my experience the smaller children adjust the fastest, but you can’t leave them on their own while you sleep. But travelling with them is exhausting in general.
    Raizy, we’re on the top floor already!

  10. HEY have you tried the JET LAG DIET? It really is amazing. Google it, it’s all online….and free. And works. AND ignore the thing about the black coffee. I have mine with sugar and cream. And it really really helps, the protein meals at certain times, and the carb meals at certain times, and the strategic use of caffeine only within certain parameters.
    Liora in Beijing.