Red Eye Expert: 10 Quick Tips For a Successful Overnight Flight
There are three things in life everybody dreads: the DMV, growing old, and taking a red-eye flight. While unfortunately none of these things are avoidable, there is a bag of tricks we can pull from to help us survive these harrowing tasks. Thanks to our busy lives, obsession with great deals, and the occasional lapse in judgment (why did we book that midnight flight to Cleveland?), the red-eye has become a rite of passage for all travelers. Ensure the success of your next overnighter by using these 10 trusted tips that will smoothly ease your painful red eye to a nice periwinkle blue.
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Bring Your Own Doctored-Up Water
Airlines have their own schedule when it comes to watering the passengers (especially budget airlines). Prevent dehydration by bringing a travel canteen to refill at the airport. Doctor it up with a drop of iodine or chlorophyl and the water will hydrate you faster than a gator-loving water boy.
Become A Vitamin Junkie
Good things happen in threes. That's why you should take some clutch vitamins before, during, and after the flight. High-altitude tin cans have a way of depleting vital nutrients. Boost your system with some vitamin C (for immunity), B complex (for energy), and D (for nutrient absorption). Ringing the vitamin bell three times will start you off on the right foot (despite the god-awful flight you just chose to take).
Splurge For The Window Seat
Unless you're rocking first-class tickets, your reclining abilities will be severely limited. Use the wall as your ally, and cocoon yourself there until the wheels are down. The extra $12 you shell out (to avoid the living hell of the middle seat) will be worth every penny.
Don’t Poo-Poo The Pillow
It seems like a hassle to bring a pillow on a trip (especially if baggage limitations are cramping your style) but taking one on a red-eye will bridge the gap between miserable slept-like-shit-on-a-plane sleep, and the zzz's you get at home. A small, half-filled goose down pillow will deliver you the sleep of champions (and squish nicely into a duffel or carry-on).
Choose Your Sleep Aid Wisely
You know what works on your body, so choose what's best for you. Some people swear by Xanax for a perfect five-hour sleep, while others wake up feeling wrecked. And depending on the duration of the flight, you may need a cocktail of sleep aids to put you down for the count like an escaped rhino from the zoo. Skip sugar, coffee, and tea at least three hours before your flight, and pop a melatonin, Unisom, or Xanax after boarding to best suit your dreamtime needs.
The Power of The Sleep Mask
Small but mighty, the sleep mask fits in any pocket, but when worn, creates a wall of concrete between you and the rest of the world. It's a do not disturb sign on the hotel room knob that is your face. Pack it. Use it. Love it.
Cotton Scarf Your Way To Immunity
One drawback about sleeping in the window seat is the added air blowing onto your nose and mouth from the recycled air vents feeding the cabin. Over time (when seriously conked out), that extra bit of air will dry you out and lead to sore throats and sinus infections. There's nothing worse than getting sick on the first day of your trip. Prevent this by wrapping up the face and neck (when needed) with a loose, breathable scarf. It keeps the moisture in and the germs out, and will make you look like a super chill mummy while everyone else is is staggering around the cabin like a bunch of zombies.
Time Your REM Cycle To The Destination
A little math can go a long way. Figure out what time you land, how much sleep you want to get, and what time you need to hit REM to achieve maximum restoration. Manipulating your sleep cycle about a quarter turn toward the time zone you are headed can also help reduce the effects of jet lag. Remember, a long REM cycle can last four hours, while a short one can last 90 minutes. You do the math.
Skip The Airplane Coffee
When that rooster crows at the break of "dawn," don't be in a hurry to flag down the flight attendants for some coffee and sweets. Give your body a neutral period to wake up with no stimulants. Then break the caffeine fast with a higher quality option than what's found inside the beverage cart of an airplane and you will soon be charging through foreign lands like a tiger on angel dust.
Preparation Is One Part Mental, Two Parts Physical
The mental: Be prepared to have an off day. Then choose ahead of time to slay that off day like a Shaolin monk. The physical: Stay hydrated, nutrient-filled, stretched, and oxygenated. Once you land, wash your hands and face, apply some of that good smelling moisturizer you pretend you don't own, then change your shirt and wow yourself with how ready you are to take on the day. Good luck fellow traveler, and save the red-eye for when you're stoned in the park.