My parents live 3 hours (or we thought - more like 4-5 hours with kids!) from Pensacola Beach. And Ryan loves the sight of the ocean, especially at sunrise. So, we thought, we'll already be messed up by jet lag. Why not take a day and see a sunrise at the beach?
May be the worst decision I ever made. At least in terms of how messed up the girls were in the car rides... But it may be the best decision we made in that it seems to have cured jet lag completely!
I had hope that we were already over the worst. Hadassah slept 7 hours straight on our first night here, after all. We dutifully woke them from naps, and even had energy to stay up after the girls that Friday night to be with family who would leave soon. And they did sleep for the first half of the night. But then Hadassah was up just before Midnight. I gave her crackers and milk, and put her back to bed, thinking maybe she could sleep. Didn't work, so Ryan took her for a midnight walk just as Ellie woke up. I nursed her and put her back to bed, which actually worked. But Hadassah did NOT go back to sleep. She was happy... but it was pretty miserable to lay in bed trying to sleep while hearing a toddler singing and talking on the monitor. Especially when we were hoping to leave for the beach around 3-4 AM (we kept debating when as we were running on just over two hours of night time sleep at this point).
When Ellie woke up again just after 2 AM and didn't settle down to sleep, we decided to just be crazy. The girls weren't sleeping anyway. Maybe we would make the sunrise. And everyone knows that the car lulls kids to sleep, right? We were really trying and hoping to help them sleep more that night, not less!
So. It was exhausting to not get any sleep ourselves either. Add to it stops with children and miscalculated time on directions, and we didn't make the sunrise. But we did get to the beach by 7 AM. And it was still beautiful...
But the ride home... Oy. Now we had a toddler who hadn't slept in 10 hours and yet still refused to sleep. And a baby that hated being stuck in a car seat and mostly cried. We pushed through for a while, wanting to just get home, but then stopped when it seemed maybe Ellie was hungry again. We moved the car seats so they weren't next to her (Mama in the middle instead!) and finally, as I gave up trying to have Hadassah sleep and just tried distraction techniques instead, her eyes suddenly closed as she was doing stickers. We were an hour from home. Ellie fell asleep 30 minutes later, and thankfully they both made the transition into beds.
So when my family asked if it was worth it, we said NO!
But then... both girls slept 11 hours straight that night. And it's continued (except for one toddler wake up one night wanting milk and crackers - but she went right back to sleep!). This was only the third night in America, so it's the quickest we've EVER gotten over jet lag. Either it was all of that melatonin from the bright beach sun or the fact that we managed to exhaust them so much they just slept when they had a bed available! Or we joke that after we dragged them out and about at all hours, if they did wake at night they decided it was not worth the risk to make a noise and just went back to sleep! ;)
So, it still remains to be seen. We wouldn't do it again (probably!). But our eyes were happy with the site of sand and sea to least another few years. And the benefits of sleep since then has made the craziness of no sleep that day pretty worth it!
So, if you want to get over jet lag, spend a morning at the beach on the 3rd day home? Maybe. But it seems to have worked for us! :)