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Sleeping on a plane—does anything work?

Discussion in 'Bad Dog Cafe' started by maxvintage, Aug 9, 2018.

  1. Dixon in Korea

    Dixon in Korea Tele-Meister

    Feb 17, 2018
    Busan, South Korea
    I take several international flights each year, including a couple of trans-Pacific flights. I’m still not very good at sleeping on planes, but here’s my experience.

    Noise-canceling earphone don’t guarantee that you will sleep, but they’ll make it easier. They do significantly reduce the unpleasantness of long flights—my stress level has gone down since I got good noise-canceling headphones.

    Neck pillows look stupid, but they do make it much easier to sleep (and more comfortable even if you’re not sleeping).

    I’ll usually have a couple of drinks and a Xanax with a meal, then try to sleep. Sometimes it works; sometimes it doesn’t.
  2. cottonmike

    cottonmike TDPRI Member

    Aug 1, 2018
    I'm in recovery from many decades of opiate addiction and lack of being able to sleep seemed to be the foundation to a relapse for me frequently. Been clean for 18 mos and a huge key has been TRAZADONE for sleep. I've taken all of the narcotic sleep aids, and trazadone is by far the best sleep aid I've ever tried. Non narcotic, non addictive. It's a life saver.

    No chemical hangover in the AM either.
    studio1087 likes this.
  3. jimd

    jimd Friend of Leo's

    Nov 3, 2006
    Cleveland, Ohio
    I'm 6'4" too. Your chances of sleeping in economy are not good. Get as comfortable as you can. Loose fitting clothes, neck pillow and good headphones with mellow music all help. What I have found really helps with the leg room is to take off your shoes. It doesn't sound like much but that inch in the sole of your shoe can make a difference. Don't do it if you stinky feet though; respect your fellow passengers.

    If you haven't booked your flights yet, consider getting an early morning flight across the Atlantic. There are a few flights that leave at 8 or 9am that get in at 8 or 9pm. Then you get to your hotel, go right to bed and start the next day on European time. It makes a difference.

    Also see how much upgrading to Economy Plus or whatever your airline calls economy with an extra inch or two of leg room. That helps too and shouldn't be nearly as much as business class.
  4. JL_LI

    JL_LI Tele-Afflicted

    May 20, 2017
    Long Island, NY
    Don't take Ambien. I took one on a flight between New York and Tokyo and didn't fall asleep. I took another. I came to my senses on a limosine bus on my way to Shinagawa. That's a scare you can do without. I have no idea how I made it through customs and immigration, and found my luggage, and got on the right bus. If you have in flight entertainment try listening to quiet music. Movies will keep you awake. I find that quiet music that doesn't require my attention works pretty well. I play country, but the country-pop mix on in flight entertainment can put me out. Don't eat anything later than your normal dinner time. Late flights where you arrive mid-morning are easier to sleep on. Good luck. I find when flying to Europe, that even if I don't sleep on he plane, I do OK the first day. Eat dinner early if that's possible in the country you're traveling to and turn in by 8PM. You'll be fine the next day. This has gotten me through flying on a direct flight as far as Moscow. It's no big deal at all to London or Paris, at least from New York.
  5. Lake Placid Blue

    Lake Placid Blue Poster Extraordinaire

    Sep 24, 2016
    My doctor gives me 10mg of Ativan and I sleep from SFO to IAD. It’s the only way I’ll get on a plane. I’m wide awake and completely functional after I get off the plane.
  6. Ricky D.

    Ricky D. Poster Extraordinaire

    Oct 22, 2006
    Raleigh, North Carolina
    Long haul trucking, double team. Five hours on the wheel, one hour off duty, five hours in the sleeper. Repeat for seven days. You can sleep any chance you get once you're tired enough.
    beyer160, Stubee and getbent like this.
  7. tfarny

    tfarny Friend of Leo's

    Sep 4, 2008
    Hudson Valley, NY
    Depends on the person. Me? I've been on 14 hour transpacific flights and not slept a wink. What you can do for sure is get a great sleep the night before, hydrate, no booze, healthy food, earplugs and relaxing. Maybe you'll sleep or maybe you wont, either way you'll feel better for taking care of yourself in advance.
    Censport and 2 Headed Goat like this.
  8. Censport

    Censport Tele-Holic

    Oct 1, 2010
    I fly Nashville-L.A.-Tokyo twice a year. That's four hours on the first leg and 10-12 hours for the second. Here's what I've learned:
    1. Airline makes a difference. My favorite is ANA (All Nippon Airlines). Sorry, I don't think they cover your route.
    2. Exit row. I'm only 5'10", but mostly leg. As a plus, the ANA attendant facing me in her attendant's seat is usually quite attractive.
    3. Sit ahead of the engines if you can.
    4. Foam earplugs work fine for me, and don't slip off like headphones.
    5. Neck pillow helps you - and your neighbors, if you're snorer.
    6. Hydrate before the flight. Not just to help you sleep, but also to help prevent "charlie horse" after the flight.
    7. I don't take any drugs of any sort. As I'm not a doctor, I never offer advice about them to anyone else.
    I have other advice about preparing for and surviving long flights on my website. (
  9. Fenderslinger

    Fenderslinger Tele-Meister

    Mar 22, 2018
    Los Angeles
    Can confirm this works
  10. outbreak

    outbreak Tele-Holic

    Dec 28, 2007
    Haven't used on a flight but at home I use a white noise app on my phone so often that I feel like just having it on has trained my mind to fall asleep now. It works wonders on the rain setting to block out back ground noise.
  11. Sollipsist

    Sollipsist Tele-Afflicted

    Aug 25, 2016
    Never, ever read The Langoliers.
    Anode100 and Scottz like this.
  12. Hags

    Hags Tele-Meister

    May 7, 2016
    Northwest CT
    no drugs or alcohol, put on the headphones and a mellow playlist.
    Don't get worked up about 6 hrs of your life
  13. Tonetele

    Tonetele Poster Extraordinaire

    Jun 2, 2009
    South Australia
    When I fly I just relax and let the pilot do his job. I've flown out of Singapore and fallen asleep on take- off. However, my twin brother, vomits at home before even getting on the way to the airport.
    He takes Valium/ or Timazepam and never uses it other than flying. I have sat next him and he gets rude and irritable, then drunk, still does not help.
    I also know two doctors who take drugs to sleep.
    As you are 6'4" i would suggest Business Class or better, maybe some medication to sleep, but NO alcohol. It only dehydrates you on flying. I limit myself to two beers if flying but more so drink water.

    I have a cousin who designed a lot of the electronics on the AC 380 and taught electronics to one student who is an aeronautics technician. My best friend who I play guitar with spent most of his life on electronics on planes.
    The systems are infallible- so much so a plane will not take off if the tailpiece is 30cms. near the ground. The instrumentation is beyond most people's understanding.That's why I just relax and sleep (I am 5'10" ).

    I do understand the fear people have of flying. It's not natural to be in a tube, weighing thousands of tons, at 40,000' and yet I have seen staff ordered to sit as we went through a cyclone off the Philippines. All I can say is that human error is the cause of airline problems. There is no more carefully engineered product other than aircraft. I come from a long line of engineers.

    So, get a better seat and relax and hopefully, sleep.
  14. Anode100

    Anode100 Friend of Leo's

    May 9, 2014
    Behind my beard.
    Try and get a seat near a door for more legroom?

    I'd avoid the medication route if I were you, unless you can get away with Jakedog's 'all-natural' method.

    A decent meal beforehand, some restful music through your headphones, and try to get some rest in one of the most uncomfortable modes of transport.

    Good luck!
  15. radiocaster

    radiocaster Friend of Leo's

    Aug 18, 2015
    The bigger planes do have seats that can get almost flat in 1st class. Not to say it isn't expensive.

    Personally I would avoid flights longer than 8 hours and stop over and spend a few nights in a city in between. I realize that would probably cost more money as well, and would not be practical for some people's schedules.
  16. kranz

    kranz Tele-Meister

    May 2, 2003
    There is something called a "Jet Lag diet". It requires a regimen of alternating feasting & fasting and alternating intake of proteins & carbohydrates. It requires altering your diet for a period of time (precise time depends on the number of time zones) prior to travel. It requires planning & discipline (not really rock n roll virtues). The net result is it shifts your body rhythms to your destination prior to your departure.

    I used to travel fairly frequently to Europe and the far east and I found it works quite well. I found that effects of jet lag were minimal and I could function quite well if I made the proper effort to follow the diet.

    There is a book that prescribes the appropriate diet based on the number of time zones you will straddle. Should be easy to find.
  17. Piggy Stu

    Piggy Stu Friend of Leo's

    Feb 26, 2017
    We all love low calorie sugar substitutes- goes without saying
  18. Piggy Stu

    Piggy Stu Friend of Leo's

    Feb 26, 2017
    How can you say a plane is the world's most finely engineered object? Haven't you seen all the pictures of Gibsons with neck binding half hanging off? Those things are manufactured to tolerances almost inch perfect

    As for techniques: I lean FORWARD to snooze. My hips go back in the chair and it feels like extra legroom. People think I am saying prayers and avoid speaking to me. Works well for me
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