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How do you sleep on planes?

How do you sleep on planes?

Old Apr 8, 18, 7:58 pm
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Join Date: Aug 2007
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How do you sleep on planes?

Hi, everyone...... I'm a journalist who's writing about what travelers can do to sleep better on long-haul flights.

The last time I posted here for a story, I got incredibly valuable insights from FT members - thank you.

if you've got tips, strategies, things not to do, accessories you swear by, please share them. Private message works great.

To quote you, I'll need to use your real name, so best if you're comfortable with that. Will ask for that in a private message.

Very much appreciated.......... Best, Michael

PS - I'll also tell you where the story's running when you respond.
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Old Apr 9, 18, 7:14 am
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just drink a little alcohol before boarding )
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Old Apr 9, 18, 9:53 am
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RumPatrol and Cotumely like this.
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Old Apr 9, 18, 9:58 am
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Xanax and business or first class.
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Old Apr 9, 18, 1:25 pm
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I sleep best in 1st - possibly due to the bubbles and comfy mattress, In business I also dose on a little wine but reading a solidly boring magazine helps. I haven't flown in economy on long haul since 2002 but, IIRC, I rarely slept well no matter what I did. In those cases I made sure I got a decent kip before flying and treated the flight time as an extended day then crash at the other end.
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Old Apr 9, 18, 2:41 pm
Join Date: Jun 2015
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I tire myself out and then pop a melatonin or three.

It's a crapshoot in economy, but that tends to work in first or business. Staying off screens and reading books help me get there too.
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Old Apr 9, 18, 2:50 pm
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Alcohol and Ambien, even in First.

If those aren't your cup of tea, then comfy bedding, duvet and mattress pad.
Cabin temp is one of the most important elements for me. In the new Emirates Suites, you get ceiling to floor doors, air vents and climate controls so you can set your own temp. ^

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Old Apr 9, 18, 2:59 pm
Join Date: Jun 2013
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For long haul international, I try to book flights (lie flat seat only) that have me flying during my normal sleep time. Ex-West Coast to Europe (10 or 11 hours flight) with an 8.30pm departure for example. (I try to avoid the more common flights that leave in the afternoon, because sleeping from say 8 or 9 pm to 4 in the morning doesn't work for me at all. I'll just get at most 3 or 4 hours fitful rest).
Around 10.30 or 11.00, I'll take a Melatonin or two Tylenol PM tabs and read myself to sleep.
On good flights, I'll sleep 7 or 8 uninterrupted hours, waking fully rested at what my body thinks is early morning but is usually late afternoon on the clocks at my destination.
Really, it's that first post-flight night (which will seem to my body to be only the afternoon) that must be slept through to get past jet lag.
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Old Apr 9, 18, 11:03 pm
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Here are three simple tips I find useful.

1) Sleeping in economy seats is tough because of limited space and recline. Consider spending up a little bit for more comfort. Even Economy Plus or a choice seat can be a meaningful improvement.

2) Choosing a window seat or (in two-aisle aircraft) a middle-middle seat means nobody will disturb you to get up to visit the lavatory.

3) A comfortable meal and a bit of alcohol help with getting to sleep. But don't overdo it-- too much food or booze degrades the quality of sleep and causes other problems, too.
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Old Apr 9, 18, 11:52 pm
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Eyemask and earplugs.
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Old Apr 10, 18, 1:01 am
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I get up earlier than usual in the morning before taking the flight. If the redeye departs early, I sometimes even pull an all-nighter the night before.

That way, as soon I take off, I fall asleep.
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Old Apr 11, 18, 3:00 pm
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During the day before the flight get exercise. Eat dinner in the airport before a night flight (avoiding heavy steak, Espresso Martinis and pudding) . I go to the loo and brush my teeth before departure (just before boarding if in Y, on boarding if premium cabin). In other words have a sleep routine that's as close as possible to your normal one and train your body to it. I don't eat the dinner (or equivalent) on the aircraft.

If you can, when (assuming it's night) the lights are dimmed for take-off be ready to go to sleep before they are turned back up for the service at a few thousand feet. So your body gets the message of "it's gone dark must be time for sleep." I know some people in biz / first put PJ's or similar on before departure but for me I'm always in "run away" mode until off the ground. So I tend to wear comfortable walking trousers I can sleep in to save changing (and have a cargo pocket for my passport etc). Soon the gear comes up I'm off with my shoes, on with the eye mask and ear plugs and trying to sleep (flat if possible) before those overhead lights come on.

I take an extra neck pillow, even in business. Sometimes carry a cotton sleeping bag liner. Depends on the route, some seats are pretty gross.

Oh and I write a note and stick it to the side of my seat or (on my eye mask in economy) ... might be "please do not wake for food" or "wake for breakfast" or something, depending on duration. Finnair in biz actively collect cards asking if you want woken up for breakfast.

Getting to sleep is one thing. Staying asleep can be just as challenging. I have to really fight the urge to peak out the windows. There are some amazing sights and when you're staring down at the world below in daylight your body is not producing sleep hormones. Dehydration can be an issue for staying asleep, I carry my own water bottle with a sports lid...I can locate and drink without having to take my eye-mask off. Keep the body thinking it's dark, even if it's not.

Personal preference but I also like older aircraft like the A330 as there is more background noise to drown out the snoring of the other passengers!

Not my idea but a guy I was sat next to one day in Premium Economy on BA was carrying a rolled up two inch thick foam mat, cut to the shape of a BA seat. He worked as a courier or something and did huge numbers of Econ flights. Now that's planning!

Not my idea but a neat way to improve the PE seat.
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Old Apr 11, 18, 10:27 pm
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I always fly in bizz/first on long haul international.......I swear by Zopiclone........and also use an eyemask, and earplugs. Shoes are off, and I cover with a light blanket only.

Also, I do not eat the meal service, even in bizz/first. I go to sleep when we hit cruising altitude.
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Old Apr 12, 18, 12:09 am
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I can't sleep well even in long haul F. I doze on and off. I have no tips on how to do it better because I struggle. I just put up with being tired after a flight and know there isn't much I can do about it as I have tried.

I wonder if I could sleep on a 747 private jet with a huge queen bed. I bet I still couldn't.
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Old Apr 12, 18, 8:26 am
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No eyemasks or earplugs, uncofortable
No drugs, uncomfortable
Alcohol, ok maybe a couple.

If in economy, I bring one or two extra pillows, and take the window, preferable exit row, to avoid being bumped in the tight aisles.

Luckily I can fall asleep anywhere if tired enough. economy, biz, first, doesnt matter, done it all, slept well. Sometimes I feel biz class flights are wasted on me, because I can just sleep in economy just fine. Maybe that will change once I hit old age in a few decades.

I try to take the late departures to Europe, arriving as late as possible in the morning. Like 5pm departure, 6am arrival - no good, your body will think its just midnight. 11pm departure and noon arrival, great, your body thinks its 6am.. Asia, I try to take the midnight departure flights.
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