Is there any way to help children beat jet lag? I dread the thought of a whole holiday waking up in the wee hours.
There's nothing like less sleep and more crankiness to kick off the family vacation.
Jet lag ensues when our internal clocks become out of sync with day-night rhythms, says Mark Wise, director of The Travel Clinic in Toronto. "Your bed is in India, but your brain is still back in Canada."
Help your body and brain adjust by reprogramming your watch, eating when the cafés are full and getting the kids out in the sunshine, as light is believed to play a key role in realigning the internal clock. (Check out British Airways' jet lag calculator, www.britishairways.com/travel/drsleep, which prescribes the best times to seek or avoid light.) And if you and the kids can't resist crawling under the hotel sheets, get an energy boost with a splash in the pool instead, Dr. Wise suggests.
Remember, though, to take the first few days easy. If your twins are fading fast as you're wandering the Piazza di Spagna, let them nap, says Debbie Dubrow, who writes the popular travel blog Deliciousbaby.com. "If that means they're going to be awake a little longer at night, then that's okay too. I try to think about that - how you can turn that into a gift."
On a trip to Paris when her son was six months old, the Seattle mother and her husband were able to enjoy a six-course lunch at L'Atelier de Joël Robuchon, thanks to her baby's jet-lag-induced nap. "Every time his leg moved, we were ready to jump up and just hightail it out of there. But he slept through the whole thing and this is one of my great Paris memories."
Remember: Jet lag will pass. And then all you'll have to worry about is how the kids will behave on the flight home.
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Karan Smith is a former Globe Travel editor.