We’ve already read about how to survive a 15 hour flight, now let’s talk about red eye flights. Not all red eye flights will be 15 hours, but they will still manage to leave you exhausted, in search of a double espresso and feeling as if you have a massive hangover from the night before.
So, what are my tips for a successful red eye flight?
Drink H2O… Lots of it!
Stay hydrated. Don’t just drink the small plastic cup of water that the flight attendant provides and consider that staying hydrated. Bring your own 1 liter collapsible water bottle and fill it up before you board the plane, and refill it either on the plane or during your layover. Drink more water than you think you need, the water will combat sitting in the plane overnight with recycled air and the constant dryness circulating around you leaving you refreshed in the AM. You can always get up and ask a flight attendant for water, but if none are around (possible on a large intercontinental flight) you can help yourself in one of the galleys and refill your water bottle.
Bring a sleep mask and wear ear plugs
If the light and noise bothers you, don’t stay up stressing all night – come prepared. Bring a sleep mask and ear plugs to block out the light and sound around you, allowing for some uninterrupted shut-eye.
Don’t wear your business suit on a red eye flight. Dress for comfort, wear shoes you can easily slip off and clothes you don’t mind getting a little wrinkled. Come with a small airplane pillow if that helps you sleep, and ask for a blanket if it’s cold. Do what it takes to get yourself comfortable and set yourself up for a good night’s sleep.
Do what helps you relax
Whether it’s reading a good book or turning on one of the plane’s TV options, do what you can to relax. If books and TV screens are overly stimulating to you, turn on some low key music, close your eyes and find a way to relax. At the very least if you can’t sleep, you spend 5 – 6 hours resting.
Brush your teeth before bed
No one likes to sleep (or wake up) with bad breath. Help yourself sleep more soundly by brushing your teeth after dinner whether it’s before you board or in the plane’s bathroom to help you feel fresher.
Don’t eat too much … or try to sleep hungry
You are already trying to sleep in a semi-reclined chair in the sky, don’t make it worse by trying to sleep on an overly stuffed stomach. You know your body, and your routines, so be careful not to eat too much, eat too late at night or not eat enough and leave your stomach growling all night.
Consider the time zones you are traveling to and from
If you are traveling overnight from New York to LA with a couple of hour layover in Dallas you may only be losing 3 hours on the clock but it will feel like a much longer overnight flight with the layover. It interrupts your schedule and may cause you not to be able to get a good stretch of sleep in. Know your flight schedule and plan your sleep accordingly.
On the other hand if you are traveling overnight from New York to South Africa and your time change is closer to 6 – 7 hours, try to sleep during your new time zones night, and stay awake during their day time. If you know you are landing at 9 pm, you might want to try to stay up during your flight so once you land you can fall right to sleep and adapt quicker to the new time zone.
What are your best tips for surviving a red eye flight?