Dealing with jetlag… Hong Kong to London

I’ve written about tips to cope with jetlag.  However, even the kids of a seasoned family travel blogger can be impervious to jetlag.

I know a lot of you like to know a specific routine (hello Gina Ford) so here are the timings from my recent UK trip.  I’ll give you the punchline now, it took 5 days to fully adjust.

How did we sleep on the plane?

We took the 3pm Cathay Pacific flight from Hong Kong to London.

My 17 mth old normally has a 2.5 hr lunchtime sleep so before we set off for the airport, I put her down for a 2 hour nap at 10am.

Daisy & Sky in CX Business ClassOn the plane (12 hour flight)

  • 17 month old stayed up till 8pm Hong Kong time when I eventually got her to sleep.  She slept for 5 hours and woke up 2 hrs before the end of the flight.  She slept on me the last 15 mins.
  • Nearly 4 year old stayed up till midnight Hong Kong time.  She slept until the last hour of the flight.

In London

We landed at 7.30pm UK time.  Unbelievably they both stayed awake during the one hour dark car ride to my parents house.  I then bathed them, let them play, gave them milk and they were both in bed again at 10:30pm UK time.

Day 1

Sky (17 mth) wakes up at 5am.  Naps 12-1:30pm.  Bed at 7.30pm

Daisy (nearly 4) wakes up at 7am.  Bed at 7:30pm

Day 2

Sky wakes at 4am.  Naps 6-7am and 12-2pm.  Bed at 7:30pm

Daisy wakes at 4am.  Bed at 6pm

Day 3

Sky wakes at 4am.  Naps 9.30 – 12pm. Bed at 7:15pm

Daisy wakes at 5am.  Bed at 7:15pm

Day 4

Sky wakes at 4:15am.  Naps 8-9 and 12.15 – 2pm.  Bed at 7:45pm

Daisy wakes at 6:45.  Bed at 7:45pm


Sky wakes at 7am

Daisy wakes at 7:45am

*footnote – I actually think the easiest flight to overcome jetlag is the one that leaves HK later at midnight and arrives 5am in the UK.  It has been proven that landing in daylight can ease jetlag and I find it takes approx 3 days to adjust as opposed to my 5 days on this trip


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  1. Toddler Recipes

    We did Hong Kong – London a few months ago with a 2 yo, 2 days to adjust to HK time and 3 days back in London. PARENTS however a totally different story! I used to travel lots for work and could adjust very quickly. Post baby I seem to have lost this ability. Any tips for parents?! Or just suffer through…

    1. Nicola

      I agree, on the whole my jetlag so much worse than the kids! A friend actually lent me this amazing homeopathic ‘help to sleep’ spray, i’ll have to find out the name again. Great website btw, will be cooking some recipes soon!

      1. Toddler Recipes

        Ah thanks. We loved Hong Kong by the way but I have no idea how you’d manage with two children!

  2. Kate (babyroutes)

    Great to know some guidelines. Have done a few small flights but yet to take a serious long-haul with my now toddler but planning something for later in the year and trying not to think too much about the flight and jet lag issues yet…dealing with BST and one hour’s difference is a challenge, let alone a completely different time-zone!

    1. Nicola

      Thanks Kate. Love your site! Would have loved to check out the London walks while I’m here but it’s freeeeeezing

  3. 21st Century Mummy (@Mummytweets)

    I always find the jetlag when we fly from Singapore to the UK manageable, but the other way, forget it. It hits me much harder than my kids or my husband and takes well over a week for me to recover.

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