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  • Sleeping on a plane - incredible frustration

    I read the thread on sleeping on the plane, yet I'm still incredibly frustrated.
    I often need to take redeye flights from California to NY and always notice that the majority of the passengers were sleeping through the flight, yet as always I'm unable to do so. I just can never get comfortable enough to fall asleep.
    (Ironically, I sleep fine in rental cars at highway rest stops on road trips.)
    On rare occasions, I've been able to sleep in a window seat. But again the majority of passengers are sleeping on most redeye flights. How do they do it?
    I wear very comfortable clothes, avoid alcohol & caffeine. I eat light before the flight, several hours before takeoff. It's always quiet and dark enough on my redeye flights.

  • #2
    Re: Sleeping on a plane - incredible frustration

    I feel your pain -- I sleep very poorly on planes myself! A few thoughts spring to mind:

    1. Would bringing a neck pillow or similar gear help you get more comfortable? (Perhaps not if the discomfort is due to lack of legroom, but just thought I'd throw it out there.)

    2. You sound (like me) as though you're a good candidate for a little chemical help! Have you tried sleep aids? My brother used Nyquil to get a few hours of Z's on a long trans-Pacific flight, and a lot of people swear by Benadryl or over-the-counter sleep meds. I'll be honest: the OTC stuff didn't do much for me except put me into a sleepy fog, but they do work for some people and might be worth a try. I've heard that prescription-strength sleep aids like Ambien do a much better job. I will seriously consider going to the doc for a prescription the next time I need to take a very long flight.

    3. Do you have enough miles to upgrade to business class every once in a while? Being in a more comfortable seat might help the cause.

    Good luck! If you find something that works for you, let me know.
    "I haven't been everywhere yet, but it's on my list." -- Susan Sontag

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    • #3
      Re: Sleeping on a plane - incredible frustration

      Hi techman,

      After having taken trans-atlantic, trans-pacific, cross country and red-eyes, I have to tell you, nothing works for me. I think there are just two types of flyers; those who simply pass out on the plane and those of us who just can't. I slept a short time only going to Aussie/NZ....quite simply, the flight is so long, I think the body just surrenders. Mostly I watched MANY movies and we had a lot of meals.

      I know many people use OTC or RX remedies to help get sleep but I can't help but always have a slight concern about that in the event of unexpected, rough turbulence (keep that seat belt on ALWAYS) or, heaven forbid, any type of emergency should occur. Passengers need to be able to react clearly. Of course, flying IS the safest means of travel, but I don't know - I just always have that in the back of my mind and I am not at all a nervous flyer.

      I'm sure many people are hoping sleep will help with jet lag and perhaps it does - I wouldn't know! I do know that after having taken my ONE red-eye, I vowed I'd never do it again unless there was absolutely NO other option. The very name "red-eye" is spot-on; it was my worst ever flight and despite there being just a 3 hour time difference, it was absolutely unbearable.

      I am sorry if you have to take these regularly and cannot sleep. If indeed you take these flights often and have miles, I'd follow soliteyah's advice and try to use miles for upgrades to business class. The ONE TIME I passed out on a plane was on a flight from Tokyo to Hong Kong and I remember none of it except the spectacular arrival (now changed due to airport being on Lantau Island) which my seat mate was kind enough to wake me up to see. I'm petite so coach seats aren't dreadful but business class seats are dreamy......if indeed we are the same insofar as not sleeping in-flight, I know you'd sleep in business class like I did. Amazing! Otherwise....I don't think it's ever going to change, unless I win the Mega Millions and I'm using my private jet. Not holding my breath on the private jet, but I can dream I just can't dream on a plane in coach! (Oh and I tried the pillows, eye visors, ear plugs.....nothing worked. NOT FAIR!! )

      Also, if you do indeed fly a lot, maybe see certain crew over and over - make friends! Perhaps they can help move you up if there is seating available. There's also always asking for an upgrade (there are ways to do this, none guaranteed) and again, being on the same airline/flight might help you there if maybe you did use miles already. Loyalty should count for something once in awhile. Be bold and ask....here's hoping!!

      Hang in there!!
      Colleen Costello
      Message Board Moderator

      Host Bonjour
      www.IndependentTraveler.com
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      HostColleen
      www.FamilyVacationCritic.com
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      • #4
        Re: Sleeping on a plane - incredible frustration

        I know that you said you avoid alcohol which is usually on any list of advice about being able to sleep on planes. However, I differ with that. On long international flights where sleep is imperative, I always ask for a small bottle of red wine with dinner. That will put me to sleep right away even if I didn't feel tired before drinking it. I don't even like the taste of red wine, but it is the best sleeping potion that I know of.

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        • #5
          Re: Sleeping on a plane - incredible frustration

          Granny,

          Red wine does have sleep-inducing qualities that other wines don't have.....could be the tannins in the reds. I am glad that works for you! I usually just order the bottles and stuck them in my carry-on so I had them for my room when I arrived! I might have had a bottle of Champange on Air France once, probably on my first ever trip because I was giddy with delight. Oddly enough, a glass on red wine at home can relax me at my most stressed...at least it works somewhere for me

          Here's one odd thing: when I fly, I have an inexplicable need to drink nothing but tomato juice. I have no idea why (maybe I drank it as a child on planes?) but that's what I do. The acidity surely won't help me sleep, ha ha.

          So glad there's something that works for you Granny I'll just keep flying eyes wide open and watch the movie, etc. In all truth, I've just never been a good sleeper - maybe that's the real problem?? Add in stale, dry air................

          But I am happy that I see more sleepers than I see travelers awake. Used to love a window seat (and think it might help me sleep) but now always take an aisle seat so I never have to wake a sleeper to get up AND so I can try to get off the plane fast!! Oh the things we do
          Colleen Costello
          Message Board Moderator

          Host Bonjour
          www.IndependentTraveler.com
          Follow on Twiiter @TravelEditor & Facebook
          HostColleen
          www.FamilyVacationCritic.com
          Follow on Twitter @FamilyVacation & Facebook

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          • #6
            Re: Sleeping on a plane - incredible frustration

            If you are flying all the time why not just use the same airline all the time so you can accrue some sort of "elite" status? This way you get bonus miles and depending on where you fly you might even get free upgrades to business class. I fly often but I always use the same airline. I get bonus miles for free flights or upgrades and when I fly in the US I often get free upgrades to business class. This is with Delta. I got the same thing with NWA before they were bought out by Delta. But I fly a lot every year so the miles add up pretty fast.

            Some of the airlines have special seats in coach that are a little wider, have more knee room and maybe better recline. When you have some sort of "elite" status, like a gold card, you may be able to get these seats without any charge.

            I often fly long distance overseas. I always have novels to read on my flights. I read until when I can not hold my eyes open anymore then I shut off the light and with my ear plugs in and blindfold on catch a little sleep. Rarely more than an hour, probably closer to 30 or 40 minutes but this is enough for me to sort of recharge. I do get up during long flights to stretch and prevent blood clots. I do not take any meds to make me me sleep. I prefer to be alert for anything that may come up.

            Maybe sticking to the same airline so you have some sort of "elite" status with the possibility of free upgrades or upgrades you can get using miles would help you. The upgrades I like are on international flights where the seats can be adjusted flat for sleeping!

            Good luck.
            Last edited by karazyal; 04-09-2012, 02:08 PM.
            Crazy like a fox!

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            • #7
              Re: Sleeping on a plane - incredible frustration

              I never had a problem in sleeping on the plane. I normally choose for an evening flight (my sleeping time) and bring my neck pillow. After take off and eating my meal, I'll find the comfortable position and sleep for 6 to 7 hours (if my flight is from the Philippines to US - 12 hours).

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              • #8
                Re: Sleeping on a plane - incredible frustration

                Originally posted by soliteyah View Post
                I feel your pain -- I sleep very poorly on planes myself! A few thoughts spring to mind:

                1. Would bringing a neck pillow or similar gear help you get more comfortable? (Perhaps not if the discomfort is due to lack of legroom, but just thought I'd throw it out there.)
                Sure, I've also concerns on the legroom available, if there's no enough legroom personally I can't sleep!

                Comment


                • #9
                  Re: Sleeping on a plane - incredible frustration

                  Is there not some way to get rid of junk like the previous post?

                  Comment


                  • #10
                    Re: Sleeping on a plane - incredible frustration

                    Originally posted by Traveling Granny View Post
                    Is there not some way to get rid of junk like the previous post?
                    Hi Traveling Granny,

                    The spam posts have been deleted. There is a "Report post" tool that you can use for any future problematic posts that you see. Hitting this button (it's the little triangle with an exclamation point inside at the bottom of each post) will send a message out to all the moderators of the board so that one of us can take action.

                    Happy travels!
                    Sarah Schlichter
                    Senior Editor
                    Independent Traveler
                    www.independenttraveler.com

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                    • #11
                      Re: Sleeping on a plane - incredible frustration

                      I didn't know the function of that little triangle. Thanks.

                      Comment


                      • #12
                        Re: Sleeping on a plane - incredible frustration

                        A couple of tips from several decades of cross-oceanic and trips from North to South America:
                        • Hydrate very well BEFORE flying
                        • Use washroom immediatley prior to wanting to sleep
                        • Use eye shades
                        • Use noise-cancelling (new technology...brilliant) INNER ear earphones with a monotonous relaxation situation going on...on a repeat loop...I personally use the Inception Soundtrack on a loop on low volume
                        • Don't try sleep, try to rest....sleep will happen if you are not trying too hard
                        • Consider Melatonin (works for me)
                        • NEVER pick an aisle seat...people have to climb over you. If you can, get a pod in J-Class (not everyone has this option however....I am lucky given amount of travel that I typically now do)
                        • Take off your shoes and put on loose socks if you had tight ones
                        • Consider changing into track/sweat pants
                        • Remove watches etc
                        • Enjoy the "me time" to reflect on things, think about a favourite hobby (I golf the 18 holes at my favourite course...am typically asleep before the 10th hole) but stay away from dwelling on issues at work/home...this is YOUR time to recharge
                        • Good luck!

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