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How do you sleep on a plane?

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Me, not very well......how do you do it?
8 years ago, August 23rd 2011 No: 1 Msg: #142273  
B Posts: 41
So after numerous flights both short and long haul, I always end up at my destination feeling worse than ever, until of course the adrenaline kicks in. But still, I'm always so jealous of those people that aren't popping pills, and look so peaceful sleeping. It is impossible for me to fall asleep with such ease on a plane. Me, I close my eyes and get the spins. A train, a bus, a car, no problem - I'm out like as soon as we start moving, but in the air, not so much.

So what about you, what is your secret to sleeping on a flight? Reply to this

8 years ago, August 23rd 2011 No: 2 Msg: #142296  
B Posts: 72
I have none. I'm right there with you, wide awake the whole flight. Unlike you I can't sleep (or even read) on anything that's moving: cars, trains, buses etc. This is especially sucky since overnight trains are such a popular way to get around while avoiding having to find accomodations.

I am however convinced that this method is the best way of avoiding jetlag. You arrive so exhausted you can fall asleep at local night no matter what your internal clock is doing! Reply to this

8 years ago, August 24th 2011 No: 3 Msg: #142301  
B Posts: 41
See, that was a major mistake I made once on my way back to NYC from the Middle East. I decided that since I had a 13 hour flight ahead of me, I would stay awake the whole night before I left, then make my way to the airport. Just my luck, I get on the plane feeling nauseous from staying up the night, and get a horrible head ache during the flight that I can't fall asleep. Not only was it the worst plane ride of my life, but I had jet lag for over a week because of it. Talk about lame....... Reply to this

8 years ago, August 24th 2011 No: 4 Msg: #142316  
I cannot sleep sitting up, regardless of the mode of transport; thus I avoid overnight flights as much as possible, unless I am in Business Class (a rare event). If I am in economy and manage to spread out on a few seats, I find it easiest to sleep if I put on an eye patch and listen to some relaxing music (usually classical) on my MP3 as this combination reduces external light and noise. Reply to this

8 years ago, August 24th 2011 No: 5 Msg: #142333  
I agree! Sleeping while seated is just wrong and anyone who can do this will receive nothing but oodles of contempt and 'the look' from me as they sit there and snooze so peacefully while I have to endure the turbulence, the constant nagging from the trolley dollies trying to sell their wares and the screaming kid who always gets seated directly beside, in front of or behind me!!!

A while back, I flew to the UK with Air Asia X and they had the cabin temperature turned down so low that it would have been warmer travelling on the outside of the aircraft. I secretly believe that there is a surreptitious conspiracy afoot, implemented solely to keep passengers awake and their wallets open.

Anyhow, I usually resign myself to reading my latest 'Air Disasters' book or try to redo the in-flight magazine crossword that has already been done 15 times. If all else fails, I put my head between my knees and have a chat with the life jacket under my seat. God, I hate flying, I really do!

If anyone does know of a way to reach the land of nod while flying then I would love to know too 😊
[Edited: 2011 Aug 24 16:10 - Cockle:46288 - Horrrendous grammatical error!]
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8 years ago, August 24th 2011 No: 6 Msg: #142338  
B Posts: 11.5K
I've only ever been able to sleep a couple of times on a plane. Once was when I did a day trip for a friend's wedding, which involved a long drive just to get to the airport. On the return journey I was asleep before the plane even took off! If only that could happen more often....

I do find some amusement in walking round cattle class and seeing the ways people have contorted themselves in an attempt to get comfortable enough to sleep ;-)

Ear plugs and eye masks don't usually work for me, but relaxing music sometimes helps. I usually just go armed with a book and movies and prepare to not sleep.
[Edited: 2011 Aug 25 03:04 - Jo Trouble:16935 ]
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8 years ago, August 24th 2011 No: 7 Msg: #142341  
I never can seem to be able to get comfortable enough to really sleep on a plane, even an inflatable pillow/eye mask/music combo doesnt usually do the trick.

However, probably the real reason I dont sleep is that I just get far too tempted by the in-flight movies! So I arrive red-eyed not only from tiredness and jet lag but from staring at a tiny screen for numerous hours! Reply to this

8 years ago, August 25th 2011 No: 8 Msg: #142355  
B Posts: 5,187
I sleep. I've even slept through take off.

I'm not comfortable, I sometimes have aches in my neck or back for days after, but at least I'm not awake for the long haul

I wear an eye mask, ear plugs and try to get a window seat - I usually have a hooded sweatshirt with the hood up. Placing a pillow behind my lower back and a using inflatable neck pillow, gets me about as comfortable as is possible on a packed economy class flight.

I also take some tablet that has a side effect of drowsiness - and go with it - so generic valium (when flying back from Thailand), or valerian (herbal), or an anti-histamine/anti-motion sickness tablet with Diphenhydramine - avoid Dimenhydrinate as it has an anti-drowsiness ingredient.

I still get some jet lag - but much less than when being awake for the entire flight. Waking up groggy for immigration is another negative.

If it's a day time shorter flight I read as much as I can. Reply to this

8 years ago, August 25th 2011 No: 9 Msg: #142357  
B Posts: 281
Great question! The answer for me is, I don't. Sleep alludes me, even if medicated heavily. I'm that passenger who is awake the whole flight, and suffer the indignities of having a seatmate drool on me, or the pleasure of being crushed when the idiot ahead reclines their chair waaayy back. I too pass out looks of contempt freely.

I don't hate plane travel, nor do I have any fears of it...I just chalk it up as a necessary evil...I prefer to fly than to say....canoe...across the Pacific.

If I were to dissect it, I'd say main contributing factor to a non-sleep haul is stale air, my legs/elbows being banged frequently by drink carts and washroom sprinters, screaming maggots(kids), and the sitting upright for too long butt freeze factor.

I just make sure I have days on either end of my trip to recuperate.
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8 years ago, August 25th 2011 No: 10 Msg: #142366  
Dave and I are lucky that we can sleep any where. Cars, trains, planes, boats..... maybe not in a tuk tuk careening through the streets of Bangkok but every place else.

Planes are a safe haven for us because we no longer have to be attached to work via cell phones and beepers. It is a relaxing feeling. We go prepared with books (now kindle) and ear plugs. After reading this segment maybe we will invest in an eye mask as it can't hurt.

Our sleep is intermittent, certainly not restful like it would be in a bed, but enough to make us able to do a few things on the other end.

Sleep, sleep, sleep. Reply to this

8 years ago, August 25th 2011 No: 11 Msg: #142368  
B Posts: 41
I'll never understand how people sleep through take off. That truly baffles me and I'm pretty jealous.

For me, I love take off, and I love landing. It's being up there for so damn long (which happens to be the safest part) that I guess freaks me out, which in turn doesn't let me sleep.

Without a doubt, I'm always packing noise isolating headphone to help. I like to time my flights linking them directly to album playlists. How many albums do I have to go through to get from NYC to Hong Kong, something like that.
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8 years ago, August 25th 2011 No: 12 Msg: #142371  

In response to: Msg #142273
hmmm not sure if i have a secret but i guess you can either pass out or not??? To fly from Aust to US or Europe i definitly do the stay up as late as i possibly can (so about 4am our time - for some reason flights out of aus are always aroudn midday), then try and sleep for the next 8 hours as much as possible then land in the location so minimal jet lag and youre ready to go.

I can sleep on the floor in an airport (and have done so) so not sure if its just an ease to sleep or not...

sorry, prob not much help. Reply to this

8 years ago, August 26th 2011 No: 13 Msg: #142412  
I always find it easier to lean against the window and sleep against that. It makes my neck hurt less after such a long flight.

I also have tried staying up the night before so that I'm tired and fall asleep easily during the flight, but this plan has always been unsuccessful.... Reply to this

8 years ago, August 26th 2011 No: 14 Msg: #142417  

In response to: Msg #142355
Ali. I once tried to go down the Valium route on my flight back to the UK from India, however, someone, somewhere forgot to tell me not to mix it with alcohol..........bad idea!

I spent several, not so glorious hours watching the entire cabin spinning around me at various rpm. I just consider myself lucky that it had worn off by the time I got to Bahrain, otherwise I would probably, even to this day, still be languishing away in some god forsaken hell hole of a prison cell with a 2 metre tall Arabian wrestler called Ahmed, who has just happened to take a shine to my pale and pasty complexion and my follically challenged bonce!

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8 years ago, August 26th 2011 No: 15 Msg: #142421  
I'm jealous of anyone who can sleep on a plane. I just can't fall asleep in a moving vehicle.

Melatonin works great for my wife. It's a natural supplement that helps you to sleep without drugs. It works fine for me if I'm not in a vehicle. But I tried it on a plane from Chicago to Dublin and it just made me really tired but still unable to sleep - which is worse.
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8 years ago, August 27th 2011 No: 16 Msg: #142453  
I've been thinking about this thread and wonder....

For those of you who do not sleep on planes, do you think the issue is lack of physical comfort or lack of trust? Reply to this

8 years ago, August 27th 2011 No: 17 Msg: #142454  
B Posts: 41

In response to: Msg #142453

For me, I can't say its a trust issue. I accept that thousands of planes fly every day and few to none lead to accidents. In 2001 I had a traumatic experience when a flight crashed a block from my house in Queens. While that event may have had some influence on me today, I don't think it leads to a trust issue with flying.

I think its linked to comfort. Not the quality of the seat, or pitch, but to the fact that many of us fly so few times in a year that each time we do, we don't really know what to expect, or whats going on. The unknown is an uncomfortable feeling.

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8 years ago, August 27th 2011 No: 18 Msg: #142455  
Nate, I remember the incident clearly. I seemed to recall that the US authorities initially believed that the AA Airbus A300 that went down had something to do with the 9/11 plot.

I used to work as an aeronautical engineer, however, I still hate to fly. It isn't the safety issue, I've seen aircraft wings manipulated until they almost touch, fuselages pressurized to bursting point and turbofan engines ingest things that would give you and I heartburn until the year 2040. The fact is, I just hate being cooped up inside an aluminum/steel composite cylinder with nowhere to go.

Call it claustrophobia if you will, but it's the feeling of complete helplessness that leaves me feeling somewhat uncomfortable. Flying is statistically, the safest way to travel, however, it's the human aspect that bothers me, especially when you consider that 60-70% of aviation incidents and accidents are attributed to human error. It's no wonder really that I can't sleep!!! Reply to this

8 years ago, August 27th 2011 No: 19 Msg: #142457  
Generally, the only thing that keeps me from sleeping on a plane is a crying child or one who kicks my seat the entire flight. I am occasionally awakened by the cart bumping me or someone having trouble making their way down the aisle--- which I completely understand because they continue to grow narrower. Reply to this

8 years ago, August 27th 2011 No: 20 Msg: #142463  
In response to: Msg #142453

Comfort 100%! (MISSING)If I am able to lay flat or near flat, the chance of sleeping increases from nearly impossible to probable.


[Edited: 2011 Aug 27 22:46 - The Travel Camel:11053 - Typo]
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