Night Flights – Remedies for the Red-Eye

By Clinton Marquardt - Sleep & Fatigue Specialist

August 9, 2007

better sleep, fatigue, jet-lag, red eye flights, shift-work, sleep and travel

night flight

The Red-Eye flights (the ones that depart at night and arrive the following morning) are often thought of as some kind of modern day torture. Something that you are forced to endure just because your evil boss and the ever-looming accountant want to pinch a few pennies from the travel budget. Would you believe that some dedicated workers have actually figured out how to put in a good day’s work, fly all night and still manage to be bright-eyed and bushy-tailed for the morning meeting at their destination?

If you want to try and help your company save time and money without feeling like you are a zombie for the next 2 weeks while recovering from that one sleepless flight, then you need to find a way to get to sleep on these flights.

Here are a few great tips to help you get your zzzzz’s on the Red-Eye:

Consider first, nutrition. A few hours prior to your flight eat a light, easily digestible meal. Something that is low in fat but high in complex carbohydrates such as fish, chicken, fruit and vegetables will work.

Next, work on the hydration, it is even more important. Avoid alcohol and caffeine but be sure to drink lots of water before, during, and after the flight.

Adjusting your sleep schedule can also help. If you will be traveling to a different time zone, start gradually changing your lights-out and wake-up times to match the real night hours in the new time zone. It is a little easier on your body if move your schedule clockwise. This is called chrono-therapy.

Exercise is always good. If you normally exercise in the mornings, try a more rigorous workout than usual on the day of departure so you will be physically more ready to sleep. If you exercise in the late afternoon or evening try a workout that is conducive to relaxing muscles such as yoga or Tai-Chi.

Get some sleep on the plane. Use a comfortable sleep mask and soft moldable silicone ear plugs. Blocking out any ambient light and extraneous noises mimic the soporific effects of your bedroom and makes it easier to sleep soundly.

Always be aware of any discomfort on flights and if you have any risk factors such as thrombophlebitis, it is best to contact your doctor before flying.

The next time you have to fly the night skies, try some of these tips from veteran night flyers and you might find yourself dreaming of floating among the clouds when you quite literally are!

Thanks to L. Orr, BA, RPSGT for her help with this article.

Read more articles....

Page [tcb_pagination_current_page] of [tcb_pagination_total_pages]