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Ask VMW: Uggghh...help with jetlag overseas!

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Life Lessons of a Military Wife (overseas in Europe!): Ask VMW: Uggghh...help with jetlag overseas!

Life Lessons of a Military Wife (overseas in Europe!)

My goal here is to make your life easier, especially those who are in the unique situation of being a military spouse. Yes...I've been around...but in a good way...and hopefully can share those tips, tricks and shortcuts with you too. I've been on this military bus for over 40 years now. My goals in life are to have a well-run home, few money worries, well adjusted children, money socked away and whatever happiness I can scoop out of life.

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After life as an Army brat, being in the Army myself and marrying a soldier, I can honestly say I have a bucket full of life lessons I can share to help you make your everyday life easier and enlightening. Don't waste your time making unnecessary mistakes and benefit from others who have come before you on your journey through life.

Sunday, May 8, 2011

Ask VMW: Uggghh...help with jetlag overseas!

Can you share what you do to get adjusted to time changes below?  I received not one but THREE questions last week addressing jet lag.  I'll share what I do, and then it would be great if my readers shared what they did:-)

"I am pulling my hair out!  I have a 10 year old, a 6 year old and a cat.  The kids are driving me crazy, waking up at night and not getting rest.  I dread every night since we moved to Germany.  How do you handle jet lag??

Ohhh...those time changes and jet lag....you get a taste of what flight attendants go through but worse if you have kids in tow!  Going from West to East is always the worst, as you are going backwards in time.  Most planes arriving in Germany from the West arrive early in the morning between 0600 and 0800...and then you have your whole day ahead of you, fighting the sleep monster.  Your best bet, once you get to your final destination (which usually involves a busride, a car ride where hopefully your sponsor picked you up, or even a train ride) is to STAY AWAKE until early afternoon.  I do this by staying outdoors....walking around to get familiarized....even if it is just on post....fight the urge to go lie down in the bed and "rest" cause in seconds you will be sound asleep and definitely snoring from your exhaustion.  Once you have been up and eaten some lunch, take a 2-3 hour nap at most.  Set your alarm to wake yourself up!  If you let yourself sleep until you wake up naturally, you'll wake up right before bedtime and then fight the vicious cycle for the next few weeks of waking up in the middle of the night...often..., not being able to get yourself to sleep and just generally being in a bad mood from lack of proper sleep.

If you do it this way, you may have only one or two restless nights as opposed to weeks of it!  As for your children, that's a bit harder to control.  Let them take a nap as soon as they fall asleep but don't let them sleep all day.  Take them out to a playground or to the foodcourt play area if it's not nice weather....eat a bunch of small meals and snacks rather than big ones.  Make sure you have a bedtime routine at the usual bedtime, and if they do wake up at night...you can sit with them but make it absolutely BORING and keep lights off and interaction low....this can be difficult but a few nights of difficulty will make many weeks of blissful nighttime sleeping!  Resist the urge to be a nightowl or let them go wild!  As for the cat, if he's like ours, he's nocturnal and will figure it out.  I've actually kept our cat awake during the day by waking him up when he takes his little catnaps...and then playing with him.  That helped us.  Oh, and welcome to Germany!

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4 Comments:

Blogger tHEsIXpACK said...

I have 4 kids and a dog and we found that if you FORCE yourself to stay awake during the daytime at all costs you will be beyond exsausted and sleep throught the night. Try this for about a day to 2 days and your body should be on the right track to finding balance. The rolladens are amazing during the summer daylight hours. And when all else fails use sleep aids =]

May 9, 2011 at 4:50 PM  
Blogger Stefanie said...

Every time I've travelled overseas, I've slept on the plane. That way, when I land and it's daytime, I can stay awake a bit easier, and it only takes a day or two to adjust to the time change.

May 10, 2011 at 4:36 AM  
Blogger ****Veteran Military Wife at Life Lessons of a Military Wife**** said...

That's great Stefanie! Wish I could sleep on the plane! I can only catch some shut-eye in Business or First when I do the buddy pass thing...sigh. I was sitting next to Professor Klump this last time...and he spilled into my seat...and then kept breathing on me....it was my worst experience yet, but this is Day 2 back at home...and I already slept the night thru and feel well rested cause I forced myself to only take that little nap...thanks for the tip!

May 10, 2011 at 7:32 AM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

Take melatonin (sold over the counter) to help with sleep. Take it at 8pm and it will give you the sleepy feeling. Our bodies make melatonin based on sun exposure - so taking it orally will jump-start your internal clock. I swear by it!

AWIV (Army Wife in VIrginia)

May 14, 2011 at 7:16 PM  

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