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Can you sleep on the plane over and back?


Apr 7th, 2006, 07:09 PM
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I just read an article about a woman who says she brings a pillowcase, asks for a blanket (more likely to be provided than pillow nowadays), folds and stuffs it to fashion a pillow. Also she brings a soft pashmina shawl, drapes it from knees to over her head, uses relaxation techniques and zones out. And then of course she has a shawl to wear when she gets there.
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Apr 7th, 2006, 09:39 PM
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I sleep much better in a bed than in a chair. Coach or business class - more comfortable up front obviously but a plane's a plane...

Also as we are on the west coast, it's not just a night on the plane, it's most of the evening and part of the morning, too - two to four hours longer than east coast departures.

Therefore we are strong converts to breaking our transatlantic eastbound trips in New York, Boston, or Chicago, getting a Priceline hotel, then taking the morning departures to London, which arrive around dinnertime or later. We then get an airport hotel and make any onward connections the next morning.

We've found that the additional time in travel makes up for itself (and then some) in hugely reduced jetlag; even though the morning flight makes for a very short "day," just the hotel to airport to security to plane to airport to bag claim to hotel, etc... makes us tired enough that we sleep in quite normal fashion when we arrive, wake up a little tired, but the second day is much, much more productive than the first day and a half that results from flying overnight and trying to tough it out till bedtime on arrival day.

Your mileage may vary, but this works best for us. Give it a try next time and see.
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Apr 8th, 2006, 12:15 AM
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I like melatonin and pop one before boarding and am usually asleep before the food comes. I am known for sleeping through entire flights, though, without it.

My mom tried the valium plus alcohol thing on her way to South Africa. It did not work and she was a totally awake drunk with no one to talk to. I learned from her and won't take anything that seriously alters my mind.
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Apr 8th, 2006, 03:13 AM
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I would just like to add that I am on day 5 of no sleep. I would seriously buy a ticket and get on a plane just to get some sleep. And the delirium is such that it just might happen.
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Apr 8th, 2006, 03:21 AM
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I am also amongst those who absolutely cannot fall asleep on the airplane. I usually get so uncomfortable from sitting for such a long time, that I end up getting restless, which worsens my attempt to sleep.

I think what works best for me is to get a very good night's sleep the day before the plane ride, and just stay awake to watch movies or listen to music on the plane. (Jetblue on domestic is great for that, with their live DirectTV screens on every passenger seat!)
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Apr 8th, 2006, 05:10 AM
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I can never sleep on a plane, - I'm terrified of flying and have to be on high alert all through the flight in case i need to be ready to evacuate or don my life-jacket or spring into the emergency sitting position. Im always glued to the stewards doing the emergency procedure talk before take-off and I'm like a coiled spring until we land, trying to analyise the pilot's tone of voice to see does he sound relaxed or tense, -sniffing the air for smells of smoke or fuel and cracking up at every variation in engine noise. Just reading about all of you actually sleeping during the flight is making me anxious! I know, - i'm sad!
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Apr 8th, 2006, 07:35 AM
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Meditation is the closest I ever come to sleeping on the plane but I've never fell into a good REM sleep.
The upside of this is that I'm up walking the aisles and meeting fellow Fodorites who aren't sleeping either.
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Apr 8th, 2006, 09:11 AM
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laclaire- i do not believe valium and alcohol "seriously alter your mind". but i do believe anyone considering taking anything or any combination of things on an airplane, should try it at home first to know the effects.
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Apr 8th, 2006, 10:31 AM
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Knock yourself out, it's the only way, but even doing that I'm generally unable to get a lot of sleep.

If you can pre-book your seats then book them at the back as teh airline tends to fill up from the front - so you're more likely to have empty rows...
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Apr 8th, 2006, 11:12 AM
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suze- Valium seriously alters my mind. I was prescribed it once a few months ago and it seriously effected my perception of both visual and verbal cues. I can just imagine what someone would do with me while cruising at 30,000 on one valium and one cocktail in.
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Apr 8th, 2006, 12:33 PM
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I was never able to sleep on a plane until I took Ambien. To try to fend off the potential of deep vein thrombosis, I drink LOTS of water to keep from getting dehydrated and also take an aspirin at the start of the flight.

Drinking lots of water is a key to feeling good after you land even if you don't get any sleep. Most people are not aware that the humidity in airplanes is VERY low (less that 20%) and beacause it's cool, you don't realize that you are getting dehydrated.
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Apr 8th, 2006, 12:51 PM
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molly--I'm a bit of a nervous nelly myself. I just concentrate on the statistic I once heard that it would take daily flying for 30,000 years for there to be the likelihood of dying in a plane crash. And less face it, if something drastic did happen, all of the vigilence in the world would probably do you no good. Medicate, dear, medicate...
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Apr 8th, 2006, 12:56 PM
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"Less face it"? I meant "Let's face it" and promise that I'm entirely unmedicated at the present moment...
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Apr 8th, 2006, 01:05 PM
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Guy 18 LOL..I am so tired today I feel like I have taken something!

LeClair, I can't take valium either. Believe me when I say there isn't anyone that would want to be on the plane with me if I did. It makes me very hyper, I couldn't even sit still for two minutes. I tend to react the complete opposite as to how meds are suppose to react with people.

I can sort of sleep on a transatlantic flight if I am tired enough but it certainly is not a restful sleep.
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Apr 8th, 2006, 08:10 PM
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leclair- My main point was not the virtues of valium, but that people should try whatever they intend to do on a plane... on the ground well ahead of their trip. If it had that kind of effect on you obviously you should not be taking it on a plane, or anywhere else for that matter -lol (you either LoveItaly!)... but for most people it serves its purpose as an "anti-anxiety" medication.
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Apr 8th, 2006, 09:01 PM
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I think the best hint is to "not worry' about not sleeping. Just doze if possible. I have a friend who takes a benadryl after dinner, and sleeps some. I often wonder...IF it is suggested to not sit with legs down for more than 3 hours (for possible DV thrombosis) then one wouldn't want to sleep long in that sitting position without getting up and moving around, Right?
Occasionally a person close by is one who reads all night with the light on...and that is his RIGHT. It sometimes does make it a little harder for those around to sleep.
And yes in regard to a post above...I am old enough to remember the "era" when the planes were not full, and we almost always had three seats to stretch out. Those days are way gone now! DOZE is the word!
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Apr 15th, 2006, 05:11 PM
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I think part of the reason why I have such trouble sleeping on the plane is because the headrest is so uncomfortable. There is absolutely no neck support. So even if I could sleep, I have nothing to lean on.

It's usually so frustrating for me that I have to take down the tray table in front of me, put my jacket or neck pillow on the tray table, and lean forward in order to get semi-sleep.

And of course I cannot do this when the person in front of me has his/her seat leaned back towards me...so most of the time, I'm in agony.
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Apr 15th, 2006, 05:55 PM
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.5mg of valium on boarding. .5mg of ambien on an EMPTY stomach. OUT until I smell the breakfast coffee - really! And I have RLS (restless leg syndrome which is really restless body syndrome) and almost had to stop flying.
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Apr 15th, 2006, 05:57 PM
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I am considering taking Celestial Seasonings Sleepy Time Tea Extra teabags with me. The 'extra' is Valerian root which is an old homeopathic herb that induces sleep. I plan to try it at home first to see if it works for me. I tend to be a 'night owl' and have occasional bouts of insomnia so I'm sure jet lag won't be too odd for me. Speaking of which, the best way I have found to fight jet lag (going to Europe from US) is to stay up until 10PM once I arrive at my destination. That first night is a wonderful deep sleep and the next day I don't feel at all tired.
The return trip is another story though; I usually feel wiped out for about 5-10 days.
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Apr 16th, 2006, 03:54 AM
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Unfortunately I have two little ones, who DO sleep on the plane either napping during daytime or mostly sleeping at night. Me? It all depends on THEM and I cannot take anything for the same reason! Still, I'll doze off and make it up later
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