My husband and I are pretty committed to the red eye flight between my hometown and our home in New York City. It’s direct, it’s JetBlue, and it’s in the middle of the night. Which means our kids sleep through the whole thing. No worrying about missed connections, no stressing over who’s going to be having a meltdown mid-way through the flight (me? or the kids?), no bets on how many drinks get spilled or how many tears get shed.
But for all its benefits, red-eye flights have serious drawbacks as well. Like depriving you of your problem-solving skills (not a good thing when your kids are fighting over who gets the oatmeal raisin granola bar in the middle of the airport), and leaving you cranky and more likely to be rude to fellow passengers (negating the benefit of having the kids sound asleep). And, of course, being sleep-deprived will slow down your reaction time and leave you sluggish (not so good when the baby grabs everything within reach).
So how to balance the benefits with the costs? The first thing to do, of course, is to try to sleep as much as possible on the flight itself. This is tricky when holding a lap child, but could be helped by using a sling to keep the baby secure even if you’re relaxed.
The next is to stay hydrated. Dehydration can leave you even more sluggish and tired. A cold drink of water can perk you right up and help you through the day.
And finally, try to soak up the sun. Natural light will help your body adjust to the time change so you can shake off the jet lag and be back to your normal, energetic, attentive, and alert self as quickly as you can.