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Sleeping on a plane—does anything work?

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

  1. bender66

    bender66 Poster Extraordinaire

    Jan 18, 2010
    on my bike
    Mask works for me.
    CBD might help.
    I have a sleep playlist. The white noise/ambient storms are good at home.
    Melotonin makes me drowsy. Still can't sleep.
    Traveling drunk or hungover sounds awful.

    Sorry to hear that Jakedog.

  2. suthol

    suthol Tele-Afflicted

    Jan 15, 2010
    Sydney - Australia
    Sit down, get the headrest set, put the earphones in, select an audio channel, gold arms and go to sleep.

    Often don't even see takeoff, pi55es the Mrs off no end because she doesn't sleep on planes.

  3. Paul Jenkin

    Paul Jenkin Friend of Leo's Silver Supporter

    Aug 17, 2017
    Essex, UK
    Don't get an aisle seat - people will bump into you regularly and wake you. Those in seats nearer the windows will wake you when they want to go to the toilet will wake you.

    Make a "Do Not Disturb" sign and hang it prominently around your neck as cabin staff will wake you to ask if you want tea / coffee, etc.

    A lightweight but very opaque blindfold is useful.

    I've done a few 10/11 hour flights down the years and I'd gladly be anaesthetised and stashed in the hold for the duration as I need my sleep but never get it when I'm on a plane.

  4. SamIV

    SamIV Tele-Meister

    May 14, 2011
    South Louisiana
    I just stay up and watch movies. Download a bunch of movies on my phone and watch a few of the airline provided as well. I Try to sleep but only doze off for about 5-10 minutes. I also drink a lot of hot tea. I just stay up until the night I get there. Going to India in two weeks for work. For some reason I am ok with the lack of sleep going, but for the trip home it takes me a couple of days to recouperate.

  5. Guitarteach

    Guitarteach Poster Extraordinaire

    Aug 6, 2014
    Going East is worse than going West, I'd enjoy the movies and just sleep in the next morning personally. If you pass out half way, fine. Neck cushions are great.

    Stressing about it will not make it easier though. I do have an app of repeating noises like waterfalls and spa music that I can tune out to and that usually puts me to sleep in 5mins or less if I am sleepy.

    Only way I can fully enjoy international outside biz class though is when I can get a middle row to myself to lie across - only happens around xmas on the main business travel routes though.

  6. rze99

    rze99 Poster Extraordinaire Silver Supporter

    Feb 26, 2014
    South London UK
    I used to do a lot of London to New York trips. I'm 6.2 with long legs and I was usually in economy Doing all these things worked for me:

    Get a window seat - you can't sleep if people are scrambling out to the toilets and making you move

    Seats in front of the engines are quieter

    Bulkhead escape doors seats have more leg room

    Get the flight that is most near your current timezone bedtime

    Eat and drink before you board and fully empty your bladder.

    Don't use any drugs or alcohol.

    Ignore all on board food and entertainment.

    make it clear to your neighbours you intend to sleep.

    Take off shoes and loosen clothes.

    Keep fastened up.

    Use good in ear plugs or headphones to cut out noise

    Use a blackout eyemask

    Use a good neck pillow

    Get your mind into a frame that mimics going to bed at home and picture that.
    Tonetele likes this.

  7. EddieLocrian

    EddieLocrian Tele-Holic

    Feb 7, 2014
    Eat your food on European time zone a day or two before you fly.

  8. maxvintage

    maxvintage Friend of Leo's Ad Free Member

    Mar 16, 2003
    Arlington, VA
    Thanks all! Business class is not an option, sadly, and all the economy class seat upgrades were taken. I’m giving the window seat to my wife. This trip was unexpected and kind of a last minute thing, and we have a strict travel budget for the year.

    We’re going to Ireland. We have to arrive at 5 am, rent a car, and drive two hours on the wrong side of the road. We did it last year, so I’m not that stressed, but it would be better to have slept a bit on the plane.

    Air travel is pretty brutal. I’ve flown to China and Korea, both in economy, and in both cases there was literally zero space between my knees and the seat in front of me. Good times! We once got bumped to first on a flight to Paris. Man you never want to go back.

    The amber glasses thing is supposed to convince your brain that it’s night. Yeah ok. For me it’s just the sheer physical discomfort. I’m thinking about trying this weird travel pillow:

    Our friend who travels all the time swears by Ambien, but it makes me nervous and our doctor (Kaiser) is understandably very tight on narcotics or any kind of mind altering medication. Recreational herbs, even legal ones, are somewhat problematic because of the nature of my wife’s job.

  9. Musekatcher

    Musekatcher Tele-Holic

    A couple things. Anxiety and curiosity may keep you awake if you don't fly a lot. So, use that to your advantage, and simply don't sleep before flying. Stay up the whole night packing, researching, etc. Also, and this may repulse some, but have a drink or two at the airport before bording, even it its a 6am flight. You aren't going to do anything that requires super sharp sobriety for the next 8 hrs, and the combo of alchohol and needing sleep result in...sleeping. Airports, especially international terminals should have a bar that's open in the am.

    I've flown so much, I fall asleep now before they leave the terminal, barely wake up before landing. A few times, I didn't wake up till landing gear touched the that will wake you up!

  10. Bob Womack

    Bob Womack Tele-Meister

    About all I can offer is that every time I flew on military transport I had pulled guard duty the night before and those were the only times I ever slept on a plane. If you didn't know, Air Force cargo planes have fabric sling seats that are perpetually overstretched so that they sag onto a support member below them. Ten minutes in you are in pain. Twenty minutes in your bum falls asleep from restricted circulation but(t) still manages to radiate pain. Perhaps it was the music of the lovely Allison T-56 turboprops on the C-130s or the huge four-row Pratt & Whitney R-4360 Wasp Major radial engines in older planes that lulled me to sleep.

    Nah. Overnight guard duty. Works like a charm.


  11. MrGibbly

    MrGibbly Tele-Afflicted

    Apr 19, 2014
    I have travelled extensively, at one point clocking ~250,000 miles a year. Like you, I'm 6'4" so economy seating is just not a great place to be. I wish I could tell you a super secret hack that would make you fall asleep, rest comfortably, and wake up refreshed on a long flight. Unfortunately, all I can really offer is that after years of doing it I am now so numb to the process that I generally fall asleep before we finish taxiing for take off and usually don't wake up until the wheels thump down on the runway at the other end of the journey. It's not good sleep and it takes me a while to fully unfold myself when I deplane...
    maxvintage likes this.

  12. beyer160

    beyer160 Tele-Afflicted

    Aug 11, 2010
    On Location
    I used to drink on planes, but the air is so dry in the cabin you get dehydrated really fast. I don't recommend alcohol when flying.

    You sound like a man who's taken a 6am flight out of Las Vegas. It's always a quiet flight, I just worry about getting puked on (I've seen it happen).

  13. Sconnie

    Sconnie Tele-Afflicted

    May 1, 2017
    Denver, CO
    Exit row window seat, bring a small normal pillow rather than a neck pillow. Amber glasses is actually rather clever, don't disregard your doctor so easily! Blue wavelengths from the ambient fluorescent lighting will keep you awake. Phone, tv, and computer screens do the same. I'm sure he recommended it because amber glasses will filter that out and trick your brain into thinking it's time to be sleepy instead of alert.

    +1 on Jakedog's recommendation, be careful with dosage. It's also worth trying to start the time zone adjustment a night or two before your flight to get a head start.

    It also helps to be young ;) I'm 26 and my few trips to Europe never bothered me too bad. I travel all day and arrive at the plant at 10a.m. the next day and work until dinner relatively fine. However, I never get good sleep in those three week trips...

    Good luck!

  14. studio1087

    studio1087 Telefied Ad Free Member

    May 10, 2003
    Near Milwaukee
    Ask your doctor about Trazadone. It's not habit forming and it doesn't give the narcotic hang over that Ambien can. I've used both. Trazadone is the better of the two.

    I'm an insomniac (can you tell?) The noise canceling headphones help. Having a few long/good books in your phone or iPad help. Get the Audible app and find a good 30 hour Stephen King read. Have some good movies on your iPad. If you cannot sleep the Audible stories or movies will help you to relax and zone out. Sometimes I just settle for being still and resting (not sleeping) as resting on a long flight helps a lot.

  15. Art VanDelay

    Art VanDelay Tele-Holic

    May 20, 2018
    No, that was my strategy on a 6am Frankfurt to Minneapolis flight. The shuttle from the hotel that was loaded with German suits was interesting. As for Vegas, I'm not a fan.

  16. RoyBGood

    RoyBGood Poster Extraordinaire

    Temazepam. Even got me through a root filling, and I have chronic dental-phobia.

  17. still_fiddlin

    still_fiddlin Friend of Leo's Silver Supporter

    May 6, 2009
    Mask, earplugs (or good, comfy in-ears if you have a playlist you can sleep to) and *one* night-time Tylenol. Don't drink and try to get a window seat and wrap up and try to go out soon as you can. Skip the dinner and wake for breakfast.

    I've taken half a sleeping pill - not Ambien - don't know what though as my we don't have it around anymore. Melatonin (just 300mcg) seems to have taken care of my better half's occasional restless nights. She says that's all she's going to use in our upcoming flight, but I'll probably stick with what I know works.

    The overseas flights are so busy now and in a lot of cases everyone is up all the time, so it's much harder, but from my experience, even a few hours sleep will make all the difference in the world on getting through that first day.

  18. notmyusualuserid

    notmyusualuserid Tele-Afflicted

    May 3, 2016
    In the South


  19. bodevelho

    bodevelho Tele-Meister

    May 19, 2018
    I trained myself in my youth at sea to sleep anywhere and anytime, but I still have problems on commercial flights unless I have:
    1. reasonably good leg room (which usually means seat upgrades)
    2. Neck support.
    3. Sound attenuation.
    Even with all that I can barely grab an hour or two without an ambien or ibuprofen PM. Airplanes actually make a difference, 737s are tight and noisy, 757s are less tight but still noisy, 777s are good but I actually prefer Airbuses.

  20. buster poser

    buster poser Tele-Holic Ad Free Member

    May 1, 2018
    Good tips in here for most people, but I've never been able to do it, six or so trips to Europe (including one in biz class, British Airways) and one to Korea. It's not the noise, light, or interruptions, it's the position. In my bed, I sleep on my side, not my back, and that bed doesn't bend at the waist or trap my feet in. All I can do is avoid caffeine, drink a couple more than I'd normally have, and maybe a Benadryl. If I'm lucky, I catch a series of little 30-35 naps, but I don't think I ever hit a REM cycle.

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