I’ve done a fair amount of traveling, including international flights, but I never experienced jet lag like I did when we flew to and from Shanghai in February. Particularly on the return trip. Once we were back in NYC it took me a full 12 days to really feel like myself again. I had brain fog, lack of appetite and utter exhaustion. It made me feel so crappy that I did a lot of internet searching about why it happens and how to prevent it. I didn’t learn any particularly helpful things, but in talking to people here who have flown back and forth to the states multiple times, the general sense is that you just have to live with it.
This last week has been rough, it was one thing to deal with jet lag on my own, but this time trying to cope with five kids on weird sleep schedules made it even more exhausting. Amirah especially struggled to get into a new sleep pattern. On Monday, our second day here, she was so over-tired that I had to literally wrestle her to sleep. She was flailing and crying and trying to crawl away from me. It was so sad. For days she would come up to me and collapse in my lap and say “I’m so tired.” (Which I think also meant “I’m so confused, disoriented, homesick, sad and worried.”)
Each night when I would go to bed I would sort of do the math and set a goal. If I crashed out at 7:30, I would work out that to get a solid eight hours I would need to sleep until 3:30 in the morning. You know how usually when you wake up during the middle of the night or early hours of the morning you hope and pray that the clock will tell you that you can go back to sleep? With jet lag it was the total opposite. I knew that if I woke up there was a good chance it was because my body thought that night was over, so I would check the clock, hoping and praying I’d hit my target goal.
Please be morning… please be morning… please be morning…
But it would say 11:55 and I would feel defeated, knowing that it was going to be really difficult to go back to sleep, knowing that it was the middle of the night and I needed to be sleeping, knowing that tomorrow would be another day of fatigue. It was such a surreal feeling, it almost made me smile. Not meeting my #sleepgoals was such a disappointment.
Some other strange things I experienced this week- at 5:00am I’d been awake for two hours, and it was 5:00pm for my body, so I sat down and ate a full dinner of leftover curry.
One morning at 4:30am when I got out of bed Simon told me he’d been up since 2:00am. That night he was so tired he put himself to bed without even telling anyone.
The teenagers adjusted the best because lying in bed like gudetama at all hours of the day is completely natural.