Sleeping On The Trip Over.....

Sep 25th, 2009, 06:00 AM
Join Date: Jan 2007
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The day before I leave for Europe I get on European time, which means I go to bed very early, and I get up very early the next morning (flight day.) By the time I get on the flight it's very late to me. No meal, no games, no movies, just sleep. When I arrive in Europe, usually around 8 am, my body is ready for the day. No jet lag.
TravMimi is offline  
Sep 25th, 2009, 06:08 AM
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Ambien is the only way I can sleep on a plane. I don't really have any negative side effects with it, and it actually takes a little while to work on me but once it does I'm able to get at least 5-6 hours of sleep. I put my Ipod on Pink Floyd shuffle since the songs are so mellow, close my eyes and fall asleep.

Without Ambien it's a loss cause for me. Nothing over the counter works so I would read.

tcreath is offline  
Sep 25th, 2009, 06:17 AM
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My rule of travel is that I must try to minimize jet lag because I want to minimize the amount of time lost feeling rough.

The best I have found is to adjust your sleep patterns BEFORE you go. So, about a week before going , you go to bed an hour earlier, and get up an hour earlier. Next night 1-2 hours earlier,etc...By the time your flight leaves, your body expects that it is sleepy time. If idnner is coming soon enough, I will have that, no coffee, no wine. Then I put on the headphones and music..

This also helps those who can't sleep on planes, becuase you are arriving to the plane with your body prepared to sleep.

When I land, NO naps. That is just telling your body that you are still on same sleep patterns...but you aren't anymore. Walk a lot that day, sun helps to reset your clock. Bed at normal time. My trip to London in May I walked a ton on Day 1, and enjoyed it as long as I did not sit for any period of tuime in a dark place (like St Paul's...some nodding)

Day 2, I'm skipping and jumping.

This to me is the no-drug way to re-synchronize your body.
Not sure that drugs do that for you. They may make you sleep, but are they helping to get your body wanting to get up at 3AM home time to start your day...probably not.

I'm of the opinion I'd rather make the adjustments at home, than be out of sorts while on holidays. works.
Michel_Paris is offline  
Sep 25th, 2009, 06:18 AM
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I can't sleep, at least not really sleep - I do snooze a little out of sheer boredom, on planes. So when I return to Europe from the US I stay awake through the flight, and during the day - but I go to bed early, about 7-8pm. I then sleep well and wake up at a nearly normal time, maybe a little earlier than normal. By day two I am completely back in my rhythm. Taking an afternoon nap is an absolute killer - it takes me days to recover if I do that.

Going to the US we tend to arrive around 4 -5 pm and by the time time we are clear of the airport, have picked up the car and found our hotel we are ready for bed. Last trip we picked up some hot food at a Safeway which we ate in the hotel room, then to bed. Again we wake up earlier than normal but by day two again we are in our rhythm.
hetismij is offline  
Sep 25th, 2009, 06:27 AM
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On the last trip to Europe, I chose a flight that got in around 10pm. By the time I hit the hotel, it was definitely bed time. Set the alarm for early morning and go right to bed.

These flights usually don't work for scheduling reasons. Personally I'm so used to working on very little sleep on a daily basis that even a light nap on the plane is a bonus. I hit the ground running and wear myself out that first day.

I've definitely learned that rereading books helps me doze off as they're good but less gripping than a new book. I have a digital book so I can read quite a bit on the plane rides and not worry about not having books I enjoy for the rest of the trip. Comfy clothes and warm socks are a must for me. I always try to get a window seat so I have somewhere to lean against and don't worry about cuddling up to the person next to me. If I cover up with a jacket or sweater, close my eyes and just listen to the hum of the engine I usually end up dozing off for a good portion of the flight.

I fly from a small regional airport, so my connection is usually in O'Hare, Minneapolis or Denver. Due to weather in the local area, I try to get longer connections than necessary so end up sitting for a few hours. I often walk all over the connecting airport for as long as possible. This way by the time I get on the long flight, I'm already worn out and ready for sleep.

Some of my tricks above work well for others, some don't. It just depends on what works for you.

Whatever you do, if you're going to try a new medicine to help you zonk out, try it beforehand in the comfort of your own home! There's nothing worse than finding out you're allergic to something while you're on a plane.
Iowa_Redhead is offline  
Sep 25th, 2009, 06:57 AM
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I agree with grandmere and StCirq. Try as I might, it's impossible for me to do much more than doze a little off & on. Sipping wine and reading are at least relaxing,(even if not the equivalent to hours of sleep)!
brioche is offline  
Sep 25th, 2009, 07:00 AM
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I have the drugs, the comfy clothes, wrap and pillow... my problem is getting "comfortable" in the awful coach seats! I can't seem to stop twisting and fidgeting enough to sleep. On our planned trip next spring, it looks like the two of us will be on a plane with 3-3 seating. Is it worth it to take the window in order to lean against something, or the aisle for more freedom? Does anyone have any other tips for falling asleep in cattle class?
melissa19 is offline  
Sep 25th, 2009, 07:01 AM
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I take a xanax just before boarding. Or just before take-off.
I don't drink anything ( drinking can affect a person in just the opposite way - sort of like the way StCirq feels ... full of energy and ready to do jump-ups ) .. or combined with the xanax, make it hard for you to wake up .... ever.
I take advantage of everything the airlines gives you, mask, earplugs or bring your own headset .. I bring a pashmina for flying, I never touch those blankets or pillows on the plane.
Generally, it works for me .. I sleep at least a few hours.
Flying FC helps lol .. as you can at least recline and not get kicked in the back ..
I am afraid to wear anything like pj's. What if they make us get off the plane in a hurry ?
I have to arrive looking good .. ya know? :- )

I also rarely eat anything on the plane.. it will only make you thirsty/make you run to the toilet/have indigestion ..
Scarlett is offline  
Sep 25th, 2009, 07:02 AM
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I take 1 tablet or 2 of Xanax. Works wonders.
krystle0819 is offline  
Sep 25th, 2009, 08:25 AM
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We fly to the east caost to get our European flights , getting rid of three hours time cahnge and they're shorter. Then I do not sleep. Actually, prefer the daytime flights from the east coast to London and then on to other cities the next day, no jet lag.
HappyTrvlr is offline  
Sep 25th, 2009, 09:50 AM
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My daughter takes a Xanax, also, and is out for 6 hours. I've never been able to more than nap 60-90 mts. But I think I'm going to take some advice here and try the Ambien. I remember having 5mg in the hospital a couple years ago. I think it helped me sleep, but I was in a lot of pain and could not be given more than tylenol at the time.

So, I'll try a prescription for Ambien and try at home, first. Our next trip is direct JFK to Rome. I would love to have some sleep on the plane!

I might add that if you are going to sleep for longer than an hour or two, that I highly suggest you put on surgical or support hose for the flight. My sister is a nurse and her husband is an E.R. doc. They don't fly anywhere longer than 3 hours without wearing surgical stockings. (My brother died from pulmonary embolism. It was suggested he may have picked up a blood clot on a long flight from Saudi Arabia to Phoenix a few days before he died.)

Don't wait until the day before your flight to buy them, either. Go now and find a pair that fits well and is comfortable!

sarge56 is offline  
Sep 25th, 2009, 01:38 PM
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I've changed into PJ's on overseas flights before too. I usually take a pair of light flannel ones - pants and top with a pair of comfy socks. No cartoon characters though. Usually plaid.
november_moon is offline  
Sep 25th, 2009, 01:42 PM
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Tylenol PM keeps me awake, too, St.Cirq. My doctor, who loves travel, too, offered me a sample 7-tablet prescription of Lunesta. I tried it at home, and it works beautifully for me. I take one on the plane, sleep a few hours, and then take another one at bedtime the first night after arrival. I'm good to go then, with no jetlag or after effects.

Without sleep on the plane, I found an afternoon nap and then bed at the destination's normal (but early-ish) bedtime worked better for me than trying to stay up straight through.

I think you just have to experiment to see what works for you.
carolyn is offline  
Sep 25th, 2009, 03:06 PM
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I hate Tylenol PM... makes me very jittery and wide awake.

I use Xanax or Valium as prescribed by my doctor. It's an anti-anxiety not a sleep aid.

That said, I have never once in my life slept on a plane. Some people simply can't. Doesn't matter what I take or drink or don't drink. I have learned to build in a couple days at the beginning of European trips to recover and get with the time change. I take a nap on my arrival and the first few afternoons.
suze is offline  
Sep 25th, 2009, 03:45 PM
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Easiest way to sleep is not be stuck in steerage class, but it takes many FF miles ('cuz I don't have the $$$) to do that.

Last overnight flight I had I curled up with a toddler and conked out after he was asleep. Got 5.5 hours of shuteye that way.

No, you cannot borrow my kid as a sleep prop.
BigRuss is offline  
Sep 25th, 2009, 05:40 PM
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To all, as mentioned above, DO NOT cut Ambien CR in half. It will knock you out in a bad way. It should say on the label not to do that.

JayMazz is offline  
Sep 25th, 2009, 06:05 PM
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That's interesting Dr. Jay. How does taking 1/2 a dose knock you out in a bad way? How is that any different than a 200lb person taking the same 1 ambien dose as his 100lb wife?
ipod_robbie is offline  
Sep 25th, 2009, 07:04 PM
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I travelled transatlantic at least 6 times a year for 3 years when I lived in Paris. My solution?

1. Run yourself ragged for the days prior to departure. No prob.!

2. then, properly sleep-deprived, take an OTC sleep-aid (gel tab), a glass of wine with dinner, and VISUALIZE sleep. Aim for 4 hours only, max, about mid-flight.

3. Get an aisle seat (not window seat) and apart from those 4 hours of *precious*sleep, get up and move around tha cabin, even if the flight attendants snarl. It's not your problem. whenever you are awake, get circulation going and keep drinking water. (In other words, embrace each kind of moment: if wakeful be awake and active, if sleepful, drown out the rest of the plane.)

4. Wear good quality noise cancelling headphones from the minute you sit down. Use Jet-Spray, a nasal humidifier with soothing lavendar, whenever you feel like it. Keeps ypur sinuses happy and wards off those air-borne illnesses.

Hope this helps! I've written more in the travel section on my blog. I think. Also, as I would tell my kids, if you have a connecting flight before your transatlantic flight, be sure not to sleep a WINK then. Crucial!!!
Pollyvousfrancais is offline  
Sep 25th, 2009, 07:42 PM
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robbie - the difference is that the controlled release (CR) preparation is formulated to dissolve and release the active ingredient over time. If you cut the CR tablet you are disrupting this layer so the medication is released faster. This applies only to the controlled release Ambien CR not the regular Ambien (and applies equally to any product labeled CR, time release, or extended release.)

Those of you who get the jitters from Tylenol PM are likely having what is called a paradoxical reaction to the diphenhydramine (Benadryl) in the product. It's not unheard of - instead of a sedating effect, it produces an excitatory effect.
Seamus is offline  
Sep 25th, 2009, 07:56 PM
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Where do you buy Jet Spray?
Sooosally is offline  

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