Wednesday, August 1, 2012

Project Sleep: Jetlag

I really thought that the last post I wrote about sleep, was going to be the last one for a good long time. Ha! Our absolute biggest issue during the vast majority of the time we were traveling was sleep.

I'll start by talking about jetlag. We had an 8 hour time difference to get accustomed to. On the first two nights Baby Boy was awake from 12 a.m. to 5 a.m. On the second two nights Baby Boy was awake from 1 a.m. to 3 a.m. The next three nights, Baby Boy still woke up around 1 a.m. but I was able to get him down within half an hour. The rest of his crappy sleep I can't attribute to jet lag.

What we did to combat it was: waking him up in the morning, spending plenty of time outside during the day, and keeping it dark at night. Still, the formula for jetlag is generally one day for every hour difference, and in our case it definitely took that long. On the way back things were a tad easier and it only took about 4 days to get on schedule, partly because we arrived late at night and Baby Boy just collapsed out of exhaustion.

a rare solo nap, on the beach

The other stuff:
Moving from place to place and thus sleeping in unknown locations- no good
Sleeping on a crappy pack and play mattress- no good
Being at events during nap time- no good
Being out of the house way past bed time- no good
Too much driving (and Baby Boy napping out of boredom during the drive)- no good

Basically, it was a lot of triggers that resulted in a cycle of over-tiredness and us trying to catchup on sleep on days that were less busy, over and over again. In the end, it resulted in a lot of bad sleep habits, since by the final week he would only fall asleep in our arms. The solution: getting home.

From the moment we got back, we went back to our exact old routines, putting Baby Boy down drowsy but awake, and letting him figure out how to fall asleep on his own. We know that at this point he will manipulate any situation to get his way, so entering his bedroom was just not an option. Yes, it has involved some crying but not to the point we can't handle. It's not perfect yet, but we are well on the way to having our old routine back (11.5-12.5 hours at night and 1-2 hours during the day spread over two naps).

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