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Does anyone really sleep on overnight flights (in coach class)?

Does anyone really sleep on overnight flights (in coach class)?

Old Nov 20th, 2004, 05:03 AM
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Does anyone really sleep on overnight flights (in coach class)?

I LOVE traveling to Europe but HATE the overnight flights! Just when I am ready to go to bed- the flight heads off to Europe and I am sitting upright in a hard small seat next to a loud 350 pound person.

A short poll-- does anyone really sleep on an overnight flight (in coach) and if you do--HOW?
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Old Nov 20th, 2004, 05:58 AM
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I certainly don't sleep in the same way as if at home, but can doze/nap for 2-4 hours usually. My latest technique is to carry on a travel pillow (about 12x15"size), put down my tray, and lean into the pillow sort of with my forehead. It sounds weird and surely looks weird but is more comfortable than having to subconsciously keep from leaning sideways.
I don't take drugs, don't drink any alcohol, but do eat some of the meal (if at all edible). I do get up and walk the aisle 2-3 times. We also use the "No Jet Lag" herbal product, which "works" for us even if it's just a placebo effect.
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Old Nov 20th, 2004, 06:10 AM
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Yes, I do. It requires a determination to sleep, and then it is far from satisfactory.

An important part of preparation for me is "setting your own time zone back" the two days before travel. On the day before travel, get up at 4 am (having gone to bed the night before at 9 pm). That night (before the day you're leaving) go to bed at 8 pm, and get up (on the day of travel) at 3 am. Make every effort NOT to sleep on any connecting flight you have in the US that arrives before sunset. Wear eyeshades on the trans-atlantic flight, and make it clear to others around you that you have no interest in anything other than getting to sleep.

For me (and this is only partly related to getting to sleep), that includes not eating anything from breakfast on (I recommend a large breakfast of all fruit). And I tell the flight attendant(s) that I will want the "supper" meal served to me at the ame time s the "little breakfast" (typically once the sun appears on the horizon over Europe). Make it clear that you don't want to be a nuisance - - that you will take whatever is leftover, and that you do not expect to have it re-warmed. I get some odd looks from flight attendants, but I have never had this refused. Do eat as much as you desire from both of these two "meals" they serve - and then I find that I am ready for a "big" breakfast again as soon as it is convenient after de-planing. Again, this entire last paragraph has little to do with how I manage to sleep - - but it relates to how I adjust the next day (the first day in Europe) to a poor night's sleep. There is a sort of "combined misery" of being hungry and trying to get to sleep under imperfect circumstances - - for me, it seems to help to try to go to sleep to take my mind off of being hungry (is this akin to beating your head against the wall so that it will feel beter when you quit?)

I go "full-bore" the next day and try to make it without any napping until 8 pm or later (one exception is if I arrive to a train ride onward after the flight - - I actually consider this good itinerary planning and think that a bus or train ride upon arrival makes for some good catch-up napping).

Best wishes,

Rex
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Old Nov 20th, 2004, 06:11 AM
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My answer: Nope, not anything you'd call real sleep. Actually, I don't sleep much better in first class. (I've never been in one of the fully reclinable seats.) First class just gives me more room to toss and turn.
The first thing I do after an overnight flight is go to a hotel to get several hours of sleep.

As for the problem about falling to one side or the other, I've found that the U-shaped travel pillow placed around my neck makes a huge difference. The Bucky brand works well.

I've also become a strong believer in a really good quality set of blinders that entirely block out the light. The versions that the airlines provide for free rarely work as well.

A lot of people use mild sleeping pills but I've never tried them.
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Old Nov 20th, 2004, 06:19 AM
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I too hate overnight flights and have never slept at all on one. Therefore, I do my best to avoid them, instead traveling by day when it makes sense. The last two time that I have gone overnight we were able to get into the hotel early (8 or 9 AM) and get some sleep in the morning. I am sufficiently sleep deprived that getting to sleep at a proper hour the first night is not a problem.
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Old Nov 20th, 2004, 06:33 AM
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Yes. Tylenol PM.
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Old Nov 20th, 2004, 06:54 AM
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For me a lot has to do with the aircraft configuration. If my husband and I are sitting alone in two seats, I can sleep better. If we are sitting with another person, then it's harder for me to sleep for fear my head will fall over on their shoulder.

I never sleep "well" on a long haul flight but I can get a few winks in here and there. On our last trip we used the method Rex describes above and found that we felt much better upon arrival in Europe, as well as when we returned home. It helped us to get more on schedule for our time in Europe.

Strange thing is that if I'm tired enough, I can fall into a very deep sleep on typical travel flights. But it seems the excitement of another European adventure keeps me too riled up to get any decent rest inflight on those particular trips.
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Old Nov 20th, 2004, 07:44 AM
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Here's what I've found that works great: Night-time cold tablets (or gelcaps) like Nyquil or generic equivalent. Since flying and the altitude does a number on my sinuses I have to take them anyway and the added bonus is sleep sweet sleep! Also the BEST hangover remedy but that's a whole 'nuther thread!!!
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Old Nov 20th, 2004, 07:47 AM
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Yes, with the help of Ambien! Works wonders for me but doesn't work well with everyone. Check it out with your doctor.
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Old Nov 20th, 2004, 07:53 AM
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Yes - but since I'm 7" above the maximum coach seat comfort size of 5'2" I come out of it like a pretzel. (But then I can also doze off standing up in the Broadway local.)
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Old Nov 20th, 2004, 08:04 AM
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I've tried melatonin, I've tried ambien, I've tried tylenol pm, and I've tried doing nothing. If I get 2-3 hours of intermittent napping I consider myself lucky. I've often thought that from the USA to Europe, my condition on the first day is not so much a matter of anything mysterious called 'jet lag', it's just not getting a night's sleep.

When I get on the plane I set my watch ahead to local time in Europe, and I try to book a later departure out of JFK (7pm or later) just because it might help the chances that I might fall asleep the later it is. I usually bring my own dinner and settle in to read while others are eating, again, trying to get ahead of the game into relaxation and perhaps some shut-eye.

rex's theory looks interesting--couldn't hurt.
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Old Nov 20th, 2004, 08:16 AM
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Nope, and nothing works for me. So I've just quit trying and make sure I have lots of good reading material. Changing my bodies time clock might work for sleeping at the right times once I'm there, but I can't even sleep in my own bed when I'm anticipating something exciting.
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Old Nov 20th, 2004, 08:24 AM
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I don't sleep either. I just have lots of stuff to read. I don't bother even trying to sleep. Then when I arrive, I go to the hotel, put everything down, and then go out on the town and try to keep awake until about 8 pm or so.. walking walking walking seems to do the trick.. then I collapse at 8 and sleep for about 12 hours or so, and I'm fine!
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Old Nov 20th, 2004, 08:35 AM
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Last time over the Pond, I slept a whopping 2 hours and I was so pleased with myself . I was still jet lagged, but not as badly. My secret to feeling human once we were walking around Chester, was to take a Klonepin. It takes the icky foggy feeling away.
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Old Nov 20th, 2004, 08:47 AM
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Hi all,

I catnap.
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Old Nov 20th, 2004, 08:49 AM
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We just "tough" it out. Our last trip Detroit to Heathrow, got us to our hotel after 8 AM while our body clocks were telling us it was about 3 AM. Total flight "sleep" time, about forty minutes. We immediately hit the bricks and toured until about 4 PM local time, then checked into our hotel; had a couple of drinks, went out walking in search of a good restaurant in Knightsbridge(is that an oxymoron?), had a dinner of fish and chips in a local pub; many pints to wash it down, then back to our hotel after dark to crash. Up early the next day, no jet lag, no hangovers. And we're young-at-heart, just not young. My advice for trans Atlantic or trans Pacific travelers: don't dwell on the time difference issue. Your body CAN cope.
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Old Nov 20th, 2004, 08:53 AM
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The one time I flew eastbound in the daytime (due to the plane being 12 hours late departing) I found that arriving in the evening and going straight to a hotel and bed worked like a charm. Yes, I had missed whatever portion of that day I would have spent wandering around like the undead, but the next morning I felt like a million bucks - no jetlag for the whole trip, and that's saying something coming from the US west coast.

Thus spouse and self are going to start trying whenever possible to ride on the morning departures eastbound (from a variety of places, sadly none on the west coast) even if it means an intermediate night en route (in Chicago or NYC etc.) It's worth it.
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Old Nov 20th, 2004, 09:41 AM
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I now feel better that we booked a 9 AM departure for flight to London since I can not sleep on planes either. Agree with above that you lose a day that you have to pay for, but I am not worth much after an overnight flight, early AM arrival - that day is almost lost as well.
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Old Nov 20th, 2004, 09:59 AM
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I've tried Rex's preventative and it works, but it takes a lot of discipline to go to bed so early. It's easier for me to get as little sleep as possible the night before the flight. Then take a flight that coincides as much as possible with your normal sleep time. I.e., from the eastern time zone take the last flight possible. I can sleep in a chair so I generally have little problem. To help, I take the pasta dinner and wine and cognac after.

My worst experience was departing at about 5pm EST. This landed me in Amsterdam at about 7am as I recall, just about sleep time back home after virtually no sleep on the plane. It took three days to recover once in Holland.

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Old Nov 20th, 2004, 10:00 AM
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I stay up the night before but don't try to fall sleep right away. I read until I get tired or bored then I put on my headset w/my favorite music (usually Miles Davis to relax me)if I need to drown the sounds of kids/babies. I also take a U shaped travel pillow.
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