I’m Terrible At Sleeping On Planes: Any Tips?

I’m Terrible At Sleeping On Planes: Any Tips?

153

I’ve just wrapped up a 16 hour flight on Qatar Airways from Doha to Dallas, which has been my longest flight in well over a couple of years. I was reminded of just how bad I am at sleeping on planes, even on a flight of this length that departs at 2AM, where I’m fortunate enough to have such a comfortable seat.

When I book flights like this I always think to myself “oh it’ll be a really long day, but then when I board at 2AM and am exhausted, I’ll get eight hours of sleep and will feel great.” It never ends up working out that way.

I’m curious what tips OMAAT readers have, or if I’m just a lost cause…

I sleep really well on the ground

Let me start on a positive note. On the ground I sleep like a rock:

  • Ford is always jealous of how well I sleep at home — I get a solid seven to eight hours of interrupted sleep every night; I almost never wake up in the middle of the night, and I don’t really suffer from jetlag when I return home
  • The catch is that I only sleep well under ideal conditions; it needs to be cold and dark, and I need to be tired and have a white noise app on in the background (being tired is rarely an issue, since we get up very early)
  • All that being said, I’m not a good napper (I struggle to fall asleep and am then groggy for hours), and I’m also not the type of person who just dozes off while sitting up
  • Ford says I’m a fantastic person to sleep next to, except when I (very rarely) randomly talk in my sleep, but that’s a different story

The other good news is that I can go a couple of nights with little sleep and then make up for it without feeling terrible. I’m not a complete disaster when I’m running on little sleep, and I’m pretty good at getting over jetlag.

I’ve never been a good airplane sleeper

Even though I’ve flown millions of miles, I am beyond horrible at sleeping on planes. I don’t think I’ve ever actually had a full night of sleep on a plane, even on a 16 hour flight:

  • I struggled to sleep on planes when I was a kid simply because I was so excited to fly, and I think on some level I still have that excitement
  • I think the bigger issue is that I don’t sleep well if conditions aren’t perfect, and they’re almost never perfect when flying, between other passengers making noise, turbulence, announcements about the seatbelt sign, etc.; on top of that, once I wake up I struggle to fall asleep again, which is a problem if you’re trying to rest on a plane
  • Often I have a few drinks on a plane, partly because that helps me fall asleep for a few hours; of course I don’t feel great when I wake up, as I’m dehydrated and sometimes a bit hung over, but at least it allows me to get some rest
  • My most common long haul flights are from the US East Coast to Europe, so that strategy works; I enjoy a meal for a couple of hours, I nap for a few hours (thanks in part to having a few drinks), and then before I know it we’re landing

The issue is, the “have a few drinks” strategy doesn’t scale. When I take an ultra long haul flight, I almost always get just one nap in. For example, on today’s 2AM flight from Doha to Dallas, I had dinner after takeoff, and then I managed to nap for a bit over two hours (and in this case it was due to exhaustion and not alcohol).

Even with a comfortable seat, I don’t sleep well on planes

However, for the rest of the flight I wasn’t able to sleep. I tried multiple times, and I got cozy, but after 30 minutes I just gave up each time. On the plus side, the entertainment system had Season 11 of Curb Your Enthusiasm, so I binge watched that.

Larry makes everything better!

Should I start taking meds when flying?

Collectively OMAAT readers fly a lot, so I’m curious if there are any strategies I should pursue to sleep better on planes? I think the most obvious solution would be to get some sort of medication for sleeping.

I’ve never taken any prescription (or non-prescription) sleep medication, believe it or not, since I’ve never struggled with sleeping at home. At the same time, that seems like the obvious trick people use to sleep more on planes. I’m not opposed to trying this, but I just have a few general thoughts and concerns:

  • At the end of the day I think this would only be useful for ultra long haul flights, and I don’t take that many ultra long haul flights; if I understand things correctly, it’s best not to take meds if you just want to sleep for a few hours
  • Since I’m good with sleeping on the ground, I don’t want to take anything that would get in the way of me “naturally” sleeping well on the ground
  • Also, while I was traveling from Doha in this case, it’s probably worth mentioning Dubai’s laws against many prescription meds, so these options wouldn’t even work across the board
  • As mentioned above, I ultimately function just fine even when I have a 48 hour period with very little sleep, even if it’s not ideal, so I’m not sure if this is even a problem that needs a solution
  • Is there some other strategy or solution I’m missing?
This felt like a never-ending flight

Bottom line

I’m incredibly fortunate to be able to fly in comfort thanks to miles & points, yet rarely do I actually sleep well. On the plus side, I have no issues sleeping on the ground, which I’m grateful for, since it’s something others struggle with a lot.

But no matter how long a flight is, I get at most one nap in, and rarely stay asleep for more than a few hours.

Any other OMAAT readers struggle with sleeping on planes the way I do? And to those who don’t, any tips?

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  1. Frank Guest

    Exercise before the flight, get a real good workout. Herbal relaxing tea. Try to get the cabin temperature down a few clicks. Deep breathing. I've tried Emergenzzz which is melatonin and even a 1/4 packet goofed me up so I felt like I wasn't part of my body. Most important is a cool temperature.

  2. Joe Bleaux Guest

    This. I’m no Keith Richards, but I’ve been ther and done that. Ambien is the only drug I couldn’t handle. And in the words of my doctor “Mix this with alcohol and you’ll wake up in a coma.”

  3. Greg Guest

    I cannot sleep on planes either for more than 2 hours. The best advice I had about going to sleep is try to stay awake

  4. JR Guest

    Lunesta is a better choice for some than Ambien if you are going to take a sleeping medicine. Lunesta does not have the side effects Ambien does. I too cannot sleep on planes but I have never had the opportunity to fly Business or First class so mine could be related to cramped space as well as temperature, quitness, etc. I like it dark, cool and quite when I sleep and airplanes are not that...

    Lunesta is a better choice for some than Ambien if you are going to take a sleeping medicine. Lunesta does not have the side effects Ambien does. I too cannot sleep on planes but I have never had the opportunity to fly Business or First class so mine could be related to cramped space as well as temperature, quitness, etc. I like it dark, cool and quite when I sleep and airplanes are not that most of the time. I have always heard eliminate alcohol and caffeine. I would be interested in knowing what works if you find something that does.

  5. Sally Guest

    I always figured the reason I never get jet lag is because I can only nap for a few hours. All of my flights are 11+ hours, and I rarely get to sleep for very long. So maybe not sleeping isn’t such a bad thing?

    I know a lot of people take pills, but the last thing I would want to deal with in an emergency is a pill-induced fog.

  6. Ivan Bou Guest

    No alcohol, a lot of water and noise reduction ear buds. I used to do a 3 x a week run from Miami to Buenos Aires and those three things got me to be able to sleep the entire night and wake on landing. Take melatonin too.

  7. Andy MacLeod Guest

    For me it’s: Comfortable PJ’s (I bring my own), eye mask, ear plugs, lie flat seats.

  8. JFH Guest

    Take day flights whenever possible. I fly a lot between New York and London and the day flights are the best option. Tough to get up and running very early but you get there at the end of the day and it is a breeze to go to sleep in a real bed.
    Just a thought.

  9. Elizabeth Guest

    Skip the alcohol! It helps you fall asleep but once it wears off it wakes you up.

  10. Julian Guest

    From my experience that probably exceeds 7 return trips per year in excess of 11 hours per leg over 15+ years, I:
    1. avoid almost any food on the plane (I eat before or during layovers). If I eat anything, I prioritize light snacks/ fruits, etc. and drink plenty of water.
    2. No alcohol before, during flight. Same with coffee/ tea.
    3. Sometimes I take half a Benadryl.

    One downside to not...

    From my experience that probably exceeds 7 return trips per year in excess of 11 hours per leg over 15+ years, I:
    1. avoid almost any food on the plane (I eat before or during layovers). If I eat anything, I prioritize light snacks/ fruits, etc. and drink plenty of water.
    2. No alcohol before, during flight. Same with coffee/ tea.
    3. Sometimes I take half a Benadryl.

    One downside to not eating is that FAs become a bit concerned about your enjoyment of the flight and will repeatedly offer food, and that can become a bit awkward to me (this at least on the ME/ Asian carriers, not so much on US based airlines).

    As a note, I recently flew DOH-JFK, day flight and slept close to 10 hours. I rarely sleep less than 7 hours on any 11+hour flight and on some US-South America flights I am lucky enough to take off, snooze and wake a few minutes before landing. I understand people enjoy the service and the experience but for me it is about getting to destination refreshed and ready to hit the ground running.

  11. Sir Digby Chicken Caesar Guest

    Ben, the “have a few drinks” strategy DOES scale - you just have to account for the law of diminishing returns. Simply put, if you’ve already discovered what works on a (relatively) shorter flight, drinking twice as much on a flight twice as long won’t work - you need to drink much more than that to get the same effect. Get absolutely twatted, and you’ll sleep long enough to complete the flight, and if you’re...

    Ben, the “have a few drinks” strategy DOES scale - you just have to account for the law of diminishing returns. Simply put, if you’ve already discovered what works on a (relatively) shorter flight, drinking twice as much on a flight twice as long won’t work - you need to drink much more than that to get the same effect. Get absolutely twatted, and you’ll sleep long enough to complete the flight, and if you’re lucky, you’ll sleep through the hangover also. You really do need to get steaming drunk though, half-measures won’t cut it

  12. Atul Butte Guest

    Lots of great comments here already. But I often find airplane cabins to be way too hot (especially those international ones). So now I carry a small USB powered portable fan everywhere now. Really helps me cool down to sleep! Product I use: https://amzn.to/3yh1zBt

  13. pbody Guest

    I, too, am unable to sleep on a plane even though for long hauls we are usually in business or first. The rumble of the engines, the crew activity, all keep me from drifting off. I tried taking a sleeping pill and it made things worse as I still did not sleep and felt even more groggy from the pill. I will give the double headset tip a try next time. But at this point, I have probably psyched myself out of ever getting a good sleep on a plane.

  14. Brandon Guest

    I would not recommend taking any medications honestly. If you are not suffering on the ground and the problem is the plane then let your body do what’s it’s currently doing. I echo the sentiment of limiting alcohol on the flight. It may be a better idea to get your alcohol in while at the lounge pre-departure and to still limit it to just 1 or 2 drinks. If you dress in layers maybe remove...

    I would not recommend taking any medications honestly. If you are not suffering on the ground and the problem is the plane then let your body do what’s it’s currently doing. I echo the sentiment of limiting alcohol on the flight. It may be a better idea to get your alcohol in while at the lounge pre-departure and to still limit it to just 1 or 2 drinks. If you dress in layers maybe remove the top layers when sleeping so that you can at least be a little cooler even if the cabin isn’t cooled down by the flight attendant. Finally, if permitting, red eye flights work better than mid day flights as you can get a full day of energy expenditure pre flight so you will naturally be more inclined to fall asleep.

  15. Adele Guest

    Try melatonin. It’s not technically a drug, but a hormone that your body produces anyway. It’s a trick to time your body and mind to go to sleep, not quite like other sleep aids. It’s even FAA approved for pilots to deal with jet lag.
    I did not try it on planes, but have tried it occasionally on the ground when I can’t sleep due to jet lag or stress.
    It’s the kind...

    Try melatonin. It’s not technically a drug, but a hormone that your body produces anyway. It’s a trick to time your body and mind to go to sleep, not quite like other sleep aids. It’s even FAA approved for pilots to deal with jet lag.
    I did not try it on planes, but have tried it occasionally on the ground when I can’t sleep due to jet lag or stress.
    It’s the kind of thing you don’t want to do on the regular (to avoid messing up your natural hormone production), but for your case, it might be just the thing. Or maybe it won’t do anything.
    Speak to your doctor

  16. Malc Member

    As others have suggested, my no. 1 tip would be to avoid alcohol.

  17. Ben Guest

    An eye mask is key for me. I also travel with my own blanket and my own pillow - a silly, yet very comfortable one - a pillow pet. It folds up nicely, and is very comfortable. Also, minimize phone screen time. find that keeps me up. I'm fortunate, I can often sleep without issue, but always traveling with these things makes it much, much easier.

  18. Omer Guest

    Take Lendormin (available at many countries including Germany but not in the US). The trick is not to swallow it but let it melt under your tongue. You will sleep like a baby.

  19. Blaz Guest

    Apart from the excitement of flying (which I unfortunately share) the one time I did sleep well was when I was required to fly from Australia to London to work for a solid week, which necessitated me to NOT drink any alcohol on the long flights required to get there (in business class) as I arrived there in the morning and had to start immediately . It makes all the difference, but what a waste of good champagne.

  20. Andy Guest

    Two glasses of wine and some NyQuil. Works every time for me. You won’t be doing it often enough to disrupt your natural sleeping habits. Yes, you might be slightly groggy the next day but I think I recall you also writing about how you’re not afraid to take a little nap the day after a redeye.

    Agree on the “too excited” thing though. The best nights sleep on a plane I ever had was...

    Two glasses of wine and some NyQuil. Works every time for me. You won’t be doing it often enough to disrupt your natural sleeping habits. Yes, you might be slightly groggy the next day but I think I recall you also writing about how you’re not afraid to take a little nap the day after a redeye.

    Agree on the “too excited” thing though. The best nights sleep on a plane I ever had was on TAP in J after I realised the only good thing about the flight was the seat (and even that wasn’t great).

  21. Mike Guest

    I think other readers got that right. You need to decide whether the flight is about sleep or alcohol. It’s hard to do both. I wouldn’t recommend sleeping pills, they will get you groggy when you wake up, especially if you had a couple of drinks.

  22. Carrie Member

    Most commonly prescribed drugs can be transited through or taken into Dubai with appropriate documentation which includes providing the original script, a letter from the prescribing doctor explaining the need for the drugs and the original packaging for the medication. A list of unauthorised or controlled substances is easily accessed through the UAE government website.
    Unhelpfully, on the topic of sleeping, I have given up being stressed by my inability to sleep whilst in...

    Most commonly prescribed drugs can be transited through or taken into Dubai with appropriate documentation which includes providing the original script, a letter from the prescribing doctor explaining the need for the drugs and the original packaging for the medication. A list of unauthorised or controlled substances is easily accessed through the UAE government website.
    Unhelpfully, on the topic of sleeping, I have given up being stressed by my inability to sleep whilst in the air. Every bit of turbulence, change in engine noise, opening or closing of suite doors, the smell of food service .... any disturbance, no matter how small has me wide awake. My strategy is to no longer stress and immediately adapt to the time zone in which I find myself once I have landed. This generally involves an inordinate amount of steps on the first day but exercise, fresh air and natural vitamin D goes along way to overcome a lack of sleep.

  23. glenn t Diamond

    Having a comfortable bed is half the solution. Having had three recent QR 777 J flights in Q Suites I was disappointed with the narrowness of the bed and the triangular footwell for the feet. On the plus side the door makea a difference. Got a few hours sleep here and there, but only because I was super-tired to start with.
    I had some prescription benzos but felt I was tired enough not to...

    Having a comfortable bed is half the solution. Having had three recent QR 777 J flights in Q Suites I was disappointed with the narrowness of the bed and the triangular footwell for the feet. On the plus side the door makea a difference. Got a few hours sleep here and there, but only because I was super-tired to start with.
    I had some prescription benzos but felt I was tired enough not to need them. They are known to produce unwanted bizzare dreams too!
    Some acquaintances swear by meletonin (anything from 2mg to 10mg) but it does nothing for me.
    I notice from your many flight reviews you are very partial to a coffee or two while flying. Caffeine is the enemy of sleep, and you should not have any while flying and at least 12 hours before you set off for the airport.
    Sweet dreams!

  24. Ivan B Guest

    I’m exactly the same… 17 hours SFO to SIN, wide awake.

  25. Tom Guest

    30mL of ZzzQuil — you’re welcome.

  26. D3kingg Guest

    Cut out the alcohol and take some Advil pm or Tylenol pm. Done deal.

    If I really wanted to sleep I’d skip the alcohol take my benzos and I’m out like a light.

    Alcohol interferes with medication and disrupts your sleep. It’s also not safe to mix alcohol and meds.

  27. Andrew Guest

    Probably not helpful to you, but for domestic flying I now always take an edible. Fly a lot for business domestically, so I've become skilled at sleeping in economy.

  28. Danny Guest

    1. Bose noise canceling buds with the white noise app.
    2. Tight fitting eye mask
    3. No alcohol, diet coke or coffee drinks
    4. Being lucky by having a cold cabin, quiet neighbors, and all the window shades stay down.
    5. Sleeping pills don't work well if you eat before in the lounge or on the plane.

  29. Nik the Traveller Guest

    There are a few things you can do:
    - if you drink coffee, stop. It really disrupts sleep, for more than 20h after drinking the beverage.
    - get custom fit earplugs. I get mine from Kind store in Germany. Start wearing them off the plane and then on the plane after you get used to them.
    - get a comfortable eye mask, one that has the eyes contoured. Again, best of you...

    There are a few things you can do:
    - if you drink coffee, stop. It really disrupts sleep, for more than 20h after drinking the beverage.
    - get custom fit earplugs. I get mine from Kind store in Germany. Start wearing them off the plane and then on the plane after you get used to them.
    - get a comfortable eye mask, one that has the eyes contoured. Again, best of you also start wearing them occasionally off the plane to get used to wearing them
    - try melatonin, instant release and take 10-20min before laying down
    - if you don’t want to do prescription meds, try Benadryl or another drowsy anti-histamine, they are over the counter and much safer
    - use hydration helpers if you drink alcohol. I use Liquid IV lemon lime. It works wonders! But make sure to either bring a empty 1L bottle with you or ask the FA’s in biz or f.

  30. derek Guest

    Avoid drugs, avoid torture (like trying to stay up), avoid excessive alcohol. Just close your eye and relax, even if you don't fall asleep.

  31. namsupo New Member

    I've tried tablets and find they can be very helpful for falling alseep, but not for staying asleep or getting good quality sleep. Still they're probably worth trying given how many longhaul flights you take.

    Oddly I find I sleep better (as in, deeper, more unbroken sleep) on planes on a comfortable reclined seat rather than a flat bed.

  32. YULtide Gold

    @Ben

    "I get a solid seven to eight hours of interrupted sleep every night;"

    Pretty sure you mean UNinterrupted.

  33. Terry Guest

    I don't use alcohol or sedatives, but I'm generally a good sleeper. For night flights, I eat dinner in the lounge & then upon boarding, tell the FA to keep my dinner refrigerated. Before takeoff I put on my PJ's, and then when the wheels are up, I pop in earplugs & put on a sleep mask and recline the seat. I generally sleep well (I once slept 9 hours straight on the DFW-SYD flight),...

    I don't use alcohol or sedatives, but I'm generally a good sleeper. For night flights, I eat dinner in the lounge & then upon boarding, tell the FA to keep my dinner refrigerated. Before takeoff I put on my PJ's, and then when the wheels are up, I pop in earplugs & put on a sleep mask and recline the seat. I generally sleep well (I once slept 9 hours straight on the DFW-SYD flight), usually a good 3-5 hours. Then when I wake up I have them heat up my dinner. Eat & watch a show, then often can sleep a bit more.

  34. XPL Gold

    I struggle to fall asleep even on the ground, so what works for me might not apply to you, Ben. For what it's worth however, 3 mg of melatonin taken at boarding helps me a lot. Others suggest a megadose of 10 mg but more than 3 mg does nothing for me. If you decide to try it, I suggest trying it first at home to determine what is your ideal dose and ideal time...

    I struggle to fall asleep even on the ground, so what works for me might not apply to you, Ben. For what it's worth however, 3 mg of melatonin taken at boarding helps me a lot. Others suggest a megadose of 10 mg but more than 3 mg does nothing for me. If you decide to try it, I suggest trying it first at home to determine what is your ideal dose and ideal time to take it.

    It's not habit forming and is available without a prescription in convenience stores, including at the airport. As far as I know no country considers it a controlled substance, but IANAL.

    Thanks for asking, Ben! There are lots of good ideas here and I'm taking notes for my next night flight.

  35. Anthony Joseph Guest

    Some of the tried and true methods:
    1. Do NOT get on a plane exhausted.... Doesn't work to get restful sleep.
    2. Be well hydrated. Your discomfort may be from the humidity and pressurization. I do a lot of C's starting 48 hours before long flight.
    I do see a marked difference between carbon-body fuselages (A350, B787, A380) and aluminum body fuselages (B777....)
    3. Wear good quality mask and ear plugs....

    Some of the tried and true methods:
    1. Do NOT get on a plane exhausted.... Doesn't work to get restful sleep.
    2. Be well hydrated. Your discomfort may be from the humidity and pressurization. I do a lot of C's starting 48 hours before long flight.
    I do see a marked difference between carbon-body fuselages (A350, B787, A380) and aluminum body fuselages (B777....)
    3. Wear good quality mask and ear plugs. I have been flying frequently for years, but if I don't travel long haul for over 4 weeks, I do "practice" sleeping at home with mask and ear plugs.
    4. Body clock is always a problem, so sleep aids are always a good (I use a low dose prescription ambien). Some people have good results with OTC remedies.
    5. Where are you limbs when you sleep? If you sleep spreadeagled even when sideways, this is problematic with sleeping on planes (exception JAL, Cathay First Class). I "hate" the contact of my limbs (arms, hands, feet) when they are in contact with the hard surfaces around the business class seat in bed mode. So, training yourself to sleep with you arms close to your chest/body does help.
    6. This might be just me, but I get my best sleep bare feet (no ariline socks, no other socks or feet coverings)
    7. Hydrate constantly and dont' heavy meals but order more in-flight snacks as you get hungry ( I always carry some of my personal snacks with me in when flying business)
    8. It is a myth to try and "adjust" your sleep and eating to your destination time zone. Just get some good rest so that not only your brain but your body muscles get as much relaxation (horizontal position) during the flight... Otherwise you are fighting fatigue symptoms as the folks flying economy do when they reach their destination.

  36. Aaron B Guest

    I have a protocol that I use that works decently well (I have no affiliation with any of these products):
    -I like the magnesium complex from Natural Stacks. Helps with sleep quality.
    -I use a portable light and sound therapy device called 'Kasina' (Lumina also works) from Mindplace. I use their sleep module to help induce sleep.
    -To stay asleep I'll use headphones to sleep in (just search for sleepphones), as well...

    I have a protocol that I use that works decently well (I have no affiliation with any of these products):
    -I like the magnesium complex from Natural Stacks. Helps with sleep quality.
    -I use a portable light and sound therapy device called 'Kasina' (Lumina also works) from Mindplace. I use their sleep module to help induce sleep.
    -To stay asleep I'll use headphones to sleep in (just search for sleepphones), as well as the 'Sweet Delta' track from Tom Kenyon which is a binaural beats soundtrack to induce delta waves in the brain.
    -To track when I should sleep, I use the Timeshifter mobile app.

  37. Matt Guest

    I never really have any problems sleeping in Businessclass. Economy is a different story.
    I usually look that i have a light flight, get up early that day. Have something to eat on the plan, watch a movie, have a drink and then go to sleep. If I cant go straight way to sleep, I put some music on on normaly then I'm gone in about 10min.

  38. Nick Guest

    I found that I got better at sleeping on planes the more I travelled, although that doesn't help you!

    My routine is no coffee, no alcohol, eye mask, ear plugs, light clothing. Just close your eyes, lie back and try to clear your mind. Even if you don't fall fully asleep, you can get quite a good rest in this meditative state. Most importantly, try not to stress about not falling asleep. If it isn't...

    I found that I got better at sleeping on planes the more I travelled, although that doesn't help you!

    My routine is no coffee, no alcohol, eye mask, ear plugs, light clothing. Just close your eyes, lie back and try to clear your mind. Even if you don't fall fully asleep, you can get quite a good rest in this meditative state. Most importantly, try not to stress about not falling asleep. If it isn't happening at all, just take a break, sit up and read for a bit. Try again later.

    Sometimes I actually sleep soundly on a plane but more often I wake up every hour or so. Sometimes I think I haven't slept but then when I think about it I'm pretty sure I wasn't awake the whole time either. You have to lower your expectations, it's never going to be your best night's sleep ever.

    And I stay away from sleeping pills of all kinds, I tried those once and they put me in a weird drowsy but not asleep state that was far worse than not sleeping.

  39. Joe Guest

    I know for me if I want to sleep on the plane I'll bypass caffeine in the lounge. All those cappuccinos and Americanos don't help.

    Part of it is also I'm very alert and ON when I'm at the airport trying to make sure I don't forget anything and being very process minded. I find that it's difficult for me to come back down to earth and that type of stress is probably producing too...

    I know for me if I want to sleep on the plane I'll bypass caffeine in the lounge. All those cappuccinos and Americanos don't help.

    Part of it is also I'm very alert and ON when I'm at the airport trying to make sure I don't forget anything and being very process minded. I find that it's difficult for me to come back down to earth and that type of stress is probably producing too much cortisol.

    I make sure my body is not too warm prior to attempting sleep.

    Finally, sometimes I take allergy meds but I buy the kind that makes you drowsy. The non drowsy ones are such because they add caffeine to the pills. My sinuses gets swollen after 4-5 hours on flights. Sometimes I opt for just Tylenol PM because all I really need is sinus swelling to go down. I find that with my sinuses clear and I can breath sleeping is not as stressful.

  40. ATJB Guest

    Unquestionably get sleeping pills. Prescription. Don't mess with melatonin etc. They usually don't make me to groggy but even if they do it's a kinda cool feeling.

  41. DavidP Guest

    My go-to method is to avoid caffeine and alcohol before and during the flight. Wear the lightest clothes you have - e.g. thin joggers, shorts - especially if flying a carrier known for keeping their cabins warm. Use ear plugs that fit well that are ideally on a long string connected together so that you can remove and put back when needed. And then wear an eye mask. Turn off the screen in front of...

    My go-to method is to avoid caffeine and alcohol before and during the flight. Wear the lightest clothes you have - e.g. thin joggers, shorts - especially if flying a carrier known for keeping their cabins warm. Use ear plugs that fit well that are ideally on a long string connected together so that you can remove and put back when needed. And then wear an eye mask. Turn off the screen in front of you or dim it down if you can't turn it off. And finally bring some print media but nothing too salacious or interesting.

  42. Stephen in Vegas Guest

    Physician here.
    Ambien.
    When I was a Navy flight surgeon, we would let pilots fly 5 hours after taking it, it goes away so cleanly. Benadryl? 24 hrs until flying.
    Try your first dose on the ground so you know how it affects you in particular.
    Better living through chemistry.
    "I really don't want to take meds if I don't have to."
    Well, I really dont like itchy feet,...

    Physician here.
    Ambien.
    When I was a Navy flight surgeon, we would let pilots fly 5 hours after taking it, it goes away so cleanly. Benadryl? 24 hrs until flying.
    Try your first dose on the ground so you know how it affects you in particular.
    Better living through chemistry.
    "I really don't want to take meds if I don't have to."
    Well, I really dont like itchy feet, either, so I use medicine for athlete's foot. Do I have to? No, but why not use medication to live optimally.
    Now, that'll be a $35 copay and your insurance card, please.

  43. Mello4Now Guest

    I was lucky enough to overhear a crew discussion years ago about sleep deprivation and their solution. The Travel Essentials kit from Sprayology was discussed (this is not a commercial for them nor am I affiliated with them). The wife and I have been using it for some time now and arrive overseas ready to enjoy the first day there (usually fly at night). No longer dead-headed or drowsy (no jet lag). A simple natural product with no side effects.

  44. Christoffer Holmsteen Guest

    Forget meds, and stop the alcohol (which generally worsens jetlag, even you don't seem to suffer much from that).
    Go all natural: take a relaxing shower as late as possible before the flight (ideally in the lounge, after the airport transfer).
    Don't drink alcohol before and during the flight. You almost give the reason for why not yourself; you wake up after a few hours. I don't believe you would be as inclined...

    Forget meds, and stop the alcohol (which generally worsens jetlag, even you don't seem to suffer much from that).
    Go all natural: take a relaxing shower as late as possible before the flight (ideally in the lounge, after the airport transfer).
    Don't drink alcohol before and during the flight. You almost give the reason for why not yourself; you wake up after a few hours. I don't believe you would be as inclined to do so without the alcohol.
    Finally, instead of meds go for natural solutions. Bachs Flower Drops are very calming fx. (They may in fact be German).
    Good luck and good night.

    Christoffer
    Copenhagen, Denmark

    1. Christoffer Holmsteen Guest

      And of course, sleep with earplugs/noise canceling headphones and a sleep mask.

    2. D3kingg Guest

      Yes. No alcohol is key. You can always wake up inflight and drink afterwards I suppose.

  45. Brad Coath Guest

    Oh Ben I feel your pain. I have never ever been able to get more thatna couple hours of sleep aloft. Regardless of the seat, class etc. Life long insomniac, I am sleeping great on the ground. I suggest that you do what I was forced to do: Embrace your airborne wakefulness. And I agree strongly with the others: No OTC sleep meds. Makes your whole next day even rougher.

  46. TravelCat2 New Member

    The one flight on which my wife and I slept well, and long, was in United Economy Plus from ORD to PVG. We started exhausted due to a busy day prior plus a 06:05 departure from CLT to ORD.

  47. Ernest Smith Guest

    I am a fitful sleeper at home and do not rest well. I do everything you do on a long haul flight, like eat and drink alcohol, but I DO NOT get involved with the entertainment system. After dinner, I take a Benadryl tablet ( or 1/2 an Ambien) to help my breathing and also a side effect is that it kinda relaxes me and helps me sleep. You can take one every 4 hours,...

    I am a fitful sleeper at home and do not rest well. I do everything you do on a long haul flight, like eat and drink alcohol, but I DO NOT get involved with the entertainment system. After dinner, I take a Benadryl tablet ( or 1/2 an Ambien) to help my breathing and also a side effect is that it kinda relaxes me and helps me sleep. You can take one every 4 hours, and if I wake up and want a snack or drink water after the 4 hours, after that I will take another one and get in another couple of hours sleep. STAY OFF of your phone, laptop and the entertainment system.

  48. FF Guest

    I too have trouble sleeping on planes. A UA flight attendant suggested Ambien so I tried it. Worked great for a few flights and then I had several Ambien episodes, more or less sleep walking on the plane. I took one after a 36 hour day when I arrived at a safari tent in Kenya -- what a mistake, I got up in the middle of the night and literally had trashed the tent while...

    I too have trouble sleeping on planes. A UA flight attendant suggested Ambien so I tried it. Worked great for a few flights and then I had several Ambien episodes, more or less sleep walking on the plane. I took one after a 36 hour day when I arrived at a safari tent in Kenya -- what a mistake, I got up in the middle of the night and literally had trashed the tent while sound asleep. I woke up to find my camera bag dumped, memory cards and batteries strewn everywhere, clothing all over the tent. I had no memory of doing any of it, but I had locked the tent fastener before I went to bed, so it had to be me. I was suprisingly rested but have not used Ambien since. Lots of Ambien episode stories on the web. Skip the alcohol as well, just dries you out even more.

  49. Michael Guest

    I'm too good at sleeping on planes, usually out from gate to gate. For me I focus on the hum of the planes. I sleep better when I'm warm so I always bring a wind breaker to help keep me warm. QC35's set to slow music helps too. My challenge is staying awake to be productive on the plane.

    I watched those season 11 episodes on AA this week, they were fantastic! Don't want to spoil anything, but I will need to check the zoning ordinances about fences where I live.

  50. Sleepdoc Guest

    Earplugs and quetiapine 25mg.

  51. MARK KERNAGHAN Guest

    All natural melatonin. Goji berries or pistachios. Have the best sleep aid.

    I use it all the time at home or away.
    Email me if you would like a picture of the bottle. None habit forming too

  52. Andrew Guest

    For me, alcohol has an initial soporific effect, but then acts as a stimulant a few hours later. Thus, I can drink to fall asleep, but then will be wide awake and unable to sleep 3 or 4 hours later.

    I’ve found that valerian tincture (liquid, not pill or capsule) allows me to relax and fall asleep, but doesn’t force me to sleep. Thus, if I need to be awake for any reason, I can...

    For me, alcohol has an initial soporific effect, but then acts as a stimulant a few hours later. Thus, I can drink to fall asleep, but then will be wide awake and unable to sleep 3 or 4 hours later.

    I’ve found that valerian tincture (liquid, not pill or capsule) allows me to relax and fall asleep, but doesn’t force me to sleep. Thus, if I need to be awake for any reason, I can stay awake. The downside is that it doesn’t taste great. Btw, the first person to introduce me to valerian tincture was an LH flight attendant. It’s called baldrian in German and commonly available in drugstores otc. In the USA, I find the tincture at health food stores or online.

    Given that you often have to be somewhat aware of what’s going on around you given the nature of your work, there may be no perfect solution, but I wish you luck with the endeavor!

  53. Ben Guest

    Wake up early, no Coffee during the day, Light meal before flight, absolutely NO alcohol and melatonin and I sleep 5/6h on EWR-CDG departing at 6:30 pm !

  54. Norman Guest

    I can't sleep on planes also. Even if I do 2 consecutive long haul flights in first.
    I'm a physician and I've noticed that while I'm running around the cabin everyone else is sound asleep. In practice many people take sleeping meds. I conclude that they are all doped up or for most people flying on a plane is some kind of soporific.
    I suggested doing a study on this years ago.

  55. Airmann Guest

    I’m a pilot and do anywhere between 4-8 sectors in a crew bunk every month. My pattern is pretty routine.
    1. Stop drinking at least 45 minutes before my rest and visit bathroom before getting comfortable.,
    2. Make sure skin is hydrated with some form of mosturizer. Especially important is the face and lips
    3. Ensure complete darkness by using eye shades
    4. Find comfortable noice cancelling in ear headphones.
    ...

    I’m a pilot and do anywhere between 4-8 sectors in a crew bunk every month. My pattern is pretty routine.
    1. Stop drinking at least 45 minutes before my rest and visit bathroom before getting comfortable.,
    2. Make sure skin is hydrated with some form of mosturizer. Especially important is the face and lips
    3. Ensure complete darkness by using eye shades
    4. Find comfortable noice cancelling in ear headphones.
    5. Make sure the blanket you use covers your entire body, or use two.
    6. When I’m flying for positioning I use meletonin, its entirely natural and non addictive.

    Hope this helps.

  56. Jeremy Guest

    Bose sleep buds & a good blindfold definitely help keep me asleep longer once I get there.

    1. glenn t Diamond

      A 'blindfold' sounds a bit extreme, surely?

    2. snic Diamond

      Well perhaps it's Jeremey's preferred way to join the mile-high club...

  57. Steve Diamond

    Leave an extra day early for your trip if staying at a really nice hotel for your trip just stay somewhere cheap that first night thats what i do at least that way im 100% for my real vacation.

    1. glenn t Diamond

      I see what you mean, but often an 'extra' day just isn't possible.
      Plus staying at some dump for Day/night 1 doesn't sound a good way to start a vacation.

  58. Bob Guest

    I am fascinated by the paucity of suggestions of traditional, herbal or mineral sleep aids. I am wondering how many of your readers tried non-narcotic “natural” sleep remedies first before moving on to prescription medications. Besides Melatonin I believe I have only seen one herb being mentioned, that being Valerian. There are literally a dozen natural remedies that can be tried that may very well suit your personality and physiology better that drugs. The one...

    I am fascinated by the paucity of suggestions of traditional, herbal or mineral sleep aids. I am wondering how many of your readers tried non-narcotic “natural” sleep remedies first before moving on to prescription medications. Besides Melatonin I believe I have only seen one herb being mentioned, that being Valerian. There are literally a dozen natural remedies that can be tried that may very well suit your personality and physiology better that drugs. The one that works for me is Seditol, a patented blend of Magnolia Bark and Jujube Seed. Others get great benefit from Kava Kava and California Poppy. I would hope you consider the potential side effects of ALL medications. I wish you well.

  59. Tevi Guest

    Listen to your favorite pop album on noise canceling headphones. You'll immediately fall asleep after the second song :) Always works like charm

  60. Ed Guest

    Melatonin works well for me. 10mg after dinner really helps with sleep and resetting to the destination time zone.

    1. Ricardo Guest

      Another vote for melatonin 10g.

    2. ugoren New Member

      And if it still doesn't work try 10kg.

  61. Ken Guest

    Easy, join the mile high club and get to sleep afterwards

  62. John Guest

    In the same class as ambien but i think more effective and worth trying---temazepam, sold generically or under brand name Restoril. It's been around for decades and it is good for episodic usage--it can be habit-forming over time. The positives: fast-acting (within 20 minutes or so), short-lived (maybe five to six hours) and doesn't leave you feeling groggy or drugged out upon awakening. it is (or at least was) widely prescribed on Air Force planes...

    In the same class as ambien but i think more effective and worth trying---temazepam, sold generically or under brand name Restoril. It's been around for decades and it is good for episodic usage--it can be habit-forming over time. The positives: fast-acting (within 20 minutes or so), short-lived (maybe five to six hours) and doesn't leave you feeling groggy or drugged out upon awakening. it is (or at least was) widely prescribed on Air Force planes carrying official delegations, in which people usually go to work for long days immediately upon landing from overnight flights. Honestly, I think it is worth trying. I don't always use it but do when it is essential i get some sleep because of the schedule upon landing.

    1. glenn t Diamond

      Temazepam is a prescription-only drug in most jurisdictions. If you can actually get the real thing OTC you may run into big problems if carrying it withour evidence it has been prescribed for you.
      You are correct in saying it is addictive; it is!

  63. The Dr of Style Guest

    Empty stomach ie no food in last 5 hours>take 10 mg Ambien>if still awake after 30 min eat a full meal (this will spike insulin response)>see you in 8 hours

  64. Mick Guest

    At its base level a plane bed is a pretty horrible bed no matter how nice it is.

    I’m bad at sleeping on planes too. And also go down the alcohol path lollll

  65. snic Diamond

    I also need it cool, and I find that probably the number 1 reason it's hard to sleep is that the flight attendants often keep the cabin WAY too warm for me to sleep. I've been known to bring along a pair of comfortable shorts and a T shirt to sleep in business class, and I'm tempted to bring a portable battery-operated fan, too. Haven't tried that but maybe next time.

    The number 2 reason...

    I also need it cool, and I find that probably the number 1 reason it's hard to sleep is that the flight attendants often keep the cabin WAY too warm for me to sleep. I've been known to bring along a pair of comfortable shorts and a T shirt to sleep in business class, and I'm tempted to bring a portable battery-operated fan, too. Haven't tried that but maybe next time.

    The number 2 reason is noise and light. Light can be pretty effectively blocked with eye masks, but noise is a different issue entirely. I use Bose SleepBuds, which are essentially earbuds that fit comfortably into your ears even when you are sleeping on your side. You can only play the sounds available from Bose, but I've found a white noise I really like and it drowns out even my partner's loud snoring. They really, really help with sleeping in noisy environments, including on planes. They are MUCH more effective than earplugs, and more comfortable too.

    The number 3 reason is smells, usually from meals being prepared and served. Even with eye shades on and SleepBuds turned to max, when the FAs roll out the breakfast sausage it's going to wake me up. Even if I'm not hungry. There's unfortunately not much that can be done about that.

    1. XPL Gold

      Agreed that smells are a problem and one that there doesn't seem to be a solution to. There always seems to be That One Person on every night flight who must douse the cabin in perfume. That jolts me awake faster than her child kicking my seat.

      If you must spray perfume in-flight, please be considerate and step outside to do it. I'll even help you with the door.

  66. Big Al Guest

    Hi Ben-

    I'd really recommend reading "Why We Sleep" by Matthew Walker before coming up with a sleep strategy around flying.

    Being in an airplane is a difficult environment for sleep, especially for those of us who are flying enthusiasts. So don't be too hard on yourself if you can't sleep. The most important thing is when you're on the ground to try to stick to a consistent sleep schedule.

  67. David H Guest

    When I do long haul, I keep my first meal light, and only 1 maybe 2 glasses of wine. I stay away from the hard stuff. Almost immediately after the meal, I take one, 10mg of melatonin. I've found this works the best for me, and I'm not left feeling groggy when I wake up. I use earplugs and an eye mask. It does help. I do not like overly warm cabins, so that can totally upset my sleep. But generally on a SFO/LAX - LHR flight I can get a solid 5-6 hours.

  68. OtherOptions Guest

    Sonata (generic name zaleplon) is a 4-6 hour sleeping medicine. It is not widely used since in most cases people want the longer acting sleeping medicines (Lunesta, Ambien). I find that it typically works for 4-5 when I take it and I take it on planes and when adjusting time zones and I wake up at 1am thinking it is morning.

    1. DLPTATL Gold

      @OtherOptions, this is solid advice for east cost US to Europe. Popping a pill that requires at least 8 hours to fully process is a recipe for disaster on the arrival end.

    2. TravelCat2 New Member

      I avoid taking medications out of fear that I'll be groggy upon arriving in a foreign country. Dealing with a different culture, language, etc. is challenging enough even when you're at your best.

  69. Unhoeflich Gold

    If you are going to consider prescription medication, in addition to benzos and lunesta or ambien that have been mentioned, seroquel is another option. It is often prescribed for insomnia. Pills can be cut in half if the 25 mg is too strong. Try it at home for so you can see what it feels like. It would be wise to avoid alcohol if you take it.

  70. Gaurav Community Ambassador

    Part of the problem is that good sleep habits are fundamentally incompatible with your goal of doing a good review. If you want to sample the product you have to stay awake and be able to try the coffee/alcohol drinks. I guess you don't have to, but the review wouldn't be as complete without those elements.

    I would second melatonin. It's a natural part of a sleep cycle so hopefully it will get you to...

    Part of the problem is that good sleep habits are fundamentally incompatible with your goal of doing a good review. If you want to sample the product you have to stay awake and be able to try the coffee/alcohol drinks. I guess you don't have to, but the review wouldn't be as complete without those elements.

    I would second melatonin. It's a natural part of a sleep cycle so hopefully it will get you to fall asleep and stay comfortable for at least a little while. Try it at home or at a local hotel stay to see how you do with it.

  71. Aaron Guest

    Drink less coffee, and maybe less alcohol and more water.

  72. West Coast flyer Guest

    The problem is there is too much going on in business/first what with all the service perks. As the other poster said, sleeping upright in an economy seat is much easier since you won't care if you miss the meal service. Also noise cancelling headphones and full wrap around eyeshades will help block out any outside stimulation.

  73. Br Guest

    Also, 0 caffeine in the 12 hours before flying!

    1. Burritomiles Guest

      yeah how many coffees did you have before this flight?

  74. Br Guest

    Lunesta. Most doctors are happy to prescribe it for travel. You just set a boundary perhaps "flights longer than 6 hours, no drinks" or whatever the case may be.

    Ear plugs WITH noise canceling headphones as others mentioned.

    Find an eye mask you REALLY like. For me, that's 100% silk with light padding. For my husband, it's one that is more shaped so his eyes don't feel smushed. Wirecutter and Strategist are good place...

    Lunesta. Most doctors are happy to prescribe it for travel. You just set a boundary perhaps "flights longer than 6 hours, no drinks" or whatever the case may be.

    Ear plugs WITH noise canceling headphones as others mentioned.

    Find an eye mask you REALLY like. For me, that's 100% silk with light padding. For my husband, it's one that is more shaped so his eyes don't feel smushed. Wirecutter and Strategist are good place to start looking.

    I also find wearing a surgical mask on planes to help A LOT with dryness in eyes and throat, as well as with feeling cozy enough to sleep. I have asthma and well-before covid a doctor recommended masks on planes to me for the moisture; I used to get crazy stares but no longer!

    Would be great to see a summary of the suggestions you get!

  75. Clem Diamond

    The coffee and the alcohol are likely part of the problem. Maybe you feel like you fall asleep faster with having a few drinks, and I can relate to that, but that usually equate to very terrible sleep quality and waking up a lot (dehydration, overheating, accelerated heart rate etc). Maybe on your next few flights try to just have water and see if it makes any difference?

  76. Tocqueville Guest

    12.5-25mg of a Delta-8 gummy does the trick nicely
    e.g. https://queenhempcompany.com/product/delta-8-gummies/

  77. Lara S. Guest

    I have used Advil PM religiously. I never wake up groggy and it is just enough to help me drop off and then fall back to sleep again if I wake up mid-flight. It's also not got the sedative that (potentially) causes Alzheimers if taken a lot. I take one pill after take off and eat a light meal (express dinner) with one drink and then put in ear plugs and throw the blanket over...

    I have used Advil PM religiously. I never wake up groggy and it is just enough to help me drop off and then fall back to sleep again if I wake up mid-flight. It's also not got the sedative that (potentially) causes Alzheimers if taken a lot. I take one pill after take off and eat a light meal (express dinner) with one drink and then put in ear plugs and throw the blanket over my head to make it like a cave lie down and Im out. It's not fool proof but has worked to get me 4-5 hours of sleep on most flights in lay flat seats. Even when the flight is only 7-8 hours long.

  78. Michael Guest

    I had the same struggles, now I am usually the first on to have their bed flat and being passed out. Crews have jokingly told me - oh wow, you are alive, we were wondering.

    I do have a pretty rigorous routine that starts a couple of days before departure with getting up and going to bed earlier than I normally would to adjust to the departure time. A lot of East coast to...

    I had the same struggles, now I am usually the first on to have their bed flat and being passed out. Crews have jokingly told me - oh wow, you are alive, we were wondering.

    I do have a pretty rigorous routine that starts a couple of days before departure with getting up and going to bed earlier than I normally would to adjust to the departure time. A lot of East coast to Europe (my standard route) flights leave between 6-8pm and I can’t fall asleep that early unless I prepare a couple of days in advance.

    In addition I try get a hard exercise in the morning of the departure to be extra tired.

    Although tempting (depending on the airline) I don’t eat on red eye flights, let alone drink alcohol. I try to eat at the lounge or a restaurant up to 2 hours before departure (but never after) as I would do at home - i try not to eat within 2 hours of my bed time. I also watch what I eat, especially avoiding food that dehydrates me.

    I pick a secluded seat that gives me the most privacy. For example, i avoid Lufthansa business class at all costs. I know you prefer the last row of business class - I am not sure this is a good choice for a comfortable sleep.

    I wear a very comfy outfit that still looks nice and/or I change on the plane.

    Going to Europe I pick flights that take me further into the continent, even if I need to backtrack to my final destination. As such I avoid London, Amsterdam or Lisbon and prefer airports further East.

    Departure time is obviously key - the later, the better.

    I recently started using the Timeshifter app and took melatonin (as by their recommendation) - it worked great for me (I don’t usually take any pills).

    I can totally relate to the excitement part of flying - I am curious trying new products. I save that for the day time return flight. For the red eye I stick to a solid product that I am familiar with and doesn’t get me too excited. United Polaris does it for me - good bed (extra mattress helps - but you need to ask for it), private enough and by not eating I am definitely not missing out on a culinary experience.

    Anyways, I need perfect sleeping conditions as well and a plane will never be perfect but I perfected it to a level so I get l rested to where I need to go.

  79. Bernardo Mackissack Guest

    All I can say is: Zolpidem, doesn’t cause dependency, gives you at least 6 hours of sleep and you wake up fresh as a lettuce. It is prescription med but it’s fantastic! OH and no interactions with alcohol :)

  80. pbmchenry Member

    It sounds like you have a sleep routine at home that has many of the factors associated with good sleep hygiene: a dark room, cool/cold air temperature, comfortable bed that you use only for sleep. On a plane, that's not the case - and you have an environment that you multitask in that doesn't prepare your body for sleep in the same way you would if at home. The issue is compounded by the fact...

    It sounds like you have a sleep routine at home that has many of the factors associated with good sleep hygiene: a dark room, cool/cold air temperature, comfortable bed that you use only for sleep. On a plane, that's not the case - and you have an environment that you multitask in that doesn't prepare your body for sleep in the same way you would if at home. The issue is compounded by the fact that you are drinking on the airplane, which has a couple of effects. First is that it accelerates your dehydration, which is already an issue on airplanes to begin with. Second is that studies have shown that alcohol may get people to the early stages of sleep, but it actively interferes with deep, restful sleep. I highly recommend Matthew Walker's book Why We Sleep, which gets significantly more granular with details and suggestions as to the above. If you're looking at using meds to help with sleep, that will mean seriously cutting back on or eliminating any drinking you are doing before/during the flight - so that is also worth considering. Good luck!

  81. InceptionCat Guest

    Oh dear. Wish i had a few tipps. Luckily i sleep even on 1hr flights. I only struggle to sleep on LX J as i find that seat so uncomfortable. I still fall asleep latest 1hr after dinner anyway. Without alcohol.
    Y'all here are soo drugged up on flights!

    1. Leila Guest

      I’ve found the type of eye mask is important when in hard to sleep situations, like flying. The kind I use leaves space over the eyes (kind of like cups), so they’re not being pressed on. This also helps keep a good dark environment, even when my eyes are open.

      I have also recently found a great sleep patch that uses many natural ingredients, as well as melatonin, to help with getting sleepy. At...

      I’ve found the type of eye mask is important when in hard to sleep situations, like flying. The kind I use leaves space over the eyes (kind of like cups), so they’re not being pressed on. This also helps keep a good dark environment, even when my eyes are open.

      I have also recently found a great sleep patch that uses many natural ingredients, as well as melatonin, to help with getting sleepy. At home, I find myself getting sleepy quickly and staying asleep all night when using it. When traveling, I find myself getting sleepy sooner and easier than before. I haven’t stayed asleep significantly longer, but this is used in economy seats rather than lay flat. I’m sure there would be a significant difference if I was in a lay flat seat. Vici Wellness Sweet Dreams patch is what I use. I also use their Best Defense patch for travel days. I apply the sleep patch just before boarding, as they recommend application 1-2 hours before sleep. Since I find myself getting sleepy enough to sleep within an hour, I have to time it well so I don’t accidentally push through.

      Lastly, a good noise cancelling something. I use my over ear ANC Sony headphones to play sleep music, but this is also a great option for playing white noise. Spotify has a TON of white noise playlists, as well as grey noise, pink noise, and brown noise.
      I don’t like the Bose Sleep earbuds, but that’s more because the smallest cover is too big for my tiny ear canals. It hurt to wear them. But since they have a list of sleep noise options while also being noise cancelling, they’re a great ear bud option for sleep.
      My current fave for noise cancelling, though, are the QuietOn noise cancelling sleep ear buds. They ONLY do noise cancelling, so they’re not designed to play anything. But they’re EXCELLENT at the noise cancellation for sleep. I’m a side sleeper and am able to wear them comfortably. A more expensive option, for sure, but I’ve found them to be well worth the cost. I’ve used them in-flight when my headphones ran out of battery and slept even better with the QuietOn’s in. You’ll just have to be careful when removing them, as they’re held in place just by magnets. So it can be easy to accidentally fumble them.

  82. NFSF Member

    Taking an antihistamine like benadryl works well for me.

  83. Ace Guest

    Well... you can use OTC supplements. You can actually bring controlled substance into the UAE as long as you get prior approval. Easy process online. Then see if a doctor will rx any of the Z drugs (Ambien, Lunesta....) #not medical advice.

  84. Mark G Guest

    A couple helpful tips:
    1) earplugs and eye mask
    2) Supplements / Medication: in ascending level of potency (melatonin, marijuana edibles, ambien) don’t mix them
    3) most important: even if you feel you are awake, pretend to be asleep. Just lay there with your eyes closed and empty your mind. you can trick your body to eventually sleep

    1. Leigh Guest

      Absolutely agree with your 3rd point. Along with the eye mask, it always sends me back to sleep just keeping my eyes closed for a bit.

  85. AW Guest

    On flights to Europe from the US, I find it's important to get up at 7 or 8 am of the time zone you're going to the day of travel. Get a good workout in during the day. No coffee and not too much booze. It works like a charm for me, but I never have any problem sleeping on planes.

  86. Marc Guest

    Hi Ben,
    I fly several times a year between the east coast and Europe. My strategy is simple. Take the latest possible flight. As soon as the wheels are retracted I adjust my seat into bed position and immediately take a prescription sleeping pill. I put earplugs in and I’m out within 15 minutes.
    Generally I remain asleep until shortly before landing.

    I‘m firmly in the camp of medicating. I never take...

    Hi Ben,
    I fly several times a year between the east coast and Europe. My strategy is simple. Take the latest possible flight. As soon as the wheels are retracted I adjust my seat into bed position and immediately take a prescription sleeping pill. I put earplugs in and I’m out within 15 minutes.
    Generally I remain asleep until shortly before landing.

    I‘m firmly in the camp of medicating. I never take sleeping pills westbound and never take sleeping pills at home or on the road.

    There’s no need to suffer, nor need to worry about will I fall asleep or if I’ll remain asleep for most of the flight.
    This is what medication is for. I don’t abuse it nor do I rely on it for any other occasion.

    Not only does it make the flight fly by, but it also helps with jet lag as you arrive after having gotten about 6 hours of sleep.

    Sleeping pills are a game changer for flying

    1. Nelson Member

      Try that to the UAE and you will have your "hotel" for free. It's considered drugs overthere.

  87. Confun Guest

    From US to UK used to climb on plane, get changed, add ear plugs, take 2 Advil PM, have water and doze off. Best was waking with 1 hour to go from SFO-LHR in econ. Obviously forego the meal, booze etc
    Swear by the stuff - it’s not a sleeping tablet, but says helps you fall asleep and stay asleep

  88. Ralph4878 Guest

    I'm a terrible sleeper, generally speaking, even on the ground.
    I have found, however, that alcohol completely screws up my ability to fall asleep and maintain sleep on planes to a ridiculous degree. So, too, does eating a meal on a plane. So, I do my best to arrive at the airport tired ahead of a long haul flights; I skip the meal and booze and try to go right to sleep. Once I...

    I'm a terrible sleeper, generally speaking, even on the ground.
    I have found, however, that alcohol completely screws up my ability to fall asleep and maintain sleep on planes to a ridiculous degree. So, too, does eating a meal on a plane. So, I do my best to arrive at the airport tired ahead of a long haul flights; I skip the meal and booze and try to go right to sleep. Once I wake up, I resolve to stay up, eat what I want and drink what I want. Over time, I have found this strategy better than anything else, including melatonin or prescription sleep aids. I did this on my last long haul in Delta One from HNL to ATL and was able to sleep for 5 hours (not super well, but well enough...I'm a side sleeper and 6'3" - no ones seats really feel "comfortable" enough...). Woke up and the FA heated up my dinner for me that she gracious agreed to hold onto for me, serving it with so sparkling wine.

  89. El Plauzo Guest

    Maybe this isn't a viable solution for you, but you could try avoiding any screen light for at least two hours before you want to go to sleep, the recommendation is even four hours.

    I almost always have big problems with sleep and that was what really helped me.

  90. Charles Guest

    The only medication that will make anyone have a great sleep on every single flight is methamphatamine

  91. Drew Guest

    I don't use chemical sleep aids, so I need to have ways to get some rest on a plane that don't involve medication (OTC or other).

    I'm always surprised by the number of people flying up front who don't change out of their business/regular clothing, even on ultra-long haul and overnight flights. I recall a guy in front of me in AA business overnight from EZE to JFK who never loosened his tie the entire...

    I don't use chemical sleep aids, so I need to have ways to get some rest on a plane that don't involve medication (OTC or other).

    I'm always surprised by the number of people flying up front who don't change out of their business/regular clothing, even on ultra-long haul and overnight flights. I recall a guy in front of me in AA business overnight from EZE to JFK who never loosened his tie the entire flight.

    I take sweatpants and a hoodie with a t-shirt underneath in case it's too warm for the hoodie, which otherwise helps with blocking out light more comfortably for me than eyeshades. In addition to the added comfort, psychologically it gives me the feeling that I am getting changed and ready for bed/sleep.

    Also, I try to do some basic stretching exercises before trying to get any sleep. Exercise gets some people more alert and energetic, but for me the increased blood flow makes me drowsy.

    And finally, I simply don't expect the deep sleep I enjoy at home. If I can doze off pleasantly for a few hours, I count that a win.

  92. BK Guest

    In my experience, the key to getting sleep on an aircraft is getting control of one's breathing. Call it whatever you want, meditation or what not... if you are in control, you can get good sleep.

  93. Brian Guest

    Lucky, you described my sleep profile as well. For me, what does not work is alcohol, meds, or herbals. If it is an 8-10 hr flight, I usually just accept that at best I'll get a few hours' sleep if I can and then ride out the majority of the flight binging on movies and maybe a cat nap. On a long haul, I would rather break up the flight with a 6-12 hr lay...

    Lucky, you described my sleep profile as well. For me, what does not work is alcohol, meds, or herbals. If it is an 8-10 hr flight, I usually just accept that at best I'll get a few hours' sleep if I can and then ride out the majority of the flight binging on movies and maybe a cat nap. On a long haul, I would rather break up the flight with a 6-12 hr lay over if I can grab an in-airport hotel or sleep pod. It adds to the travel time but I find I arrive at my destination feeling better and not jet-lagged for two days. Not always an option, but a few hours of sleep and maybe a bonus shower is 100 times better option than several days of zombie walk on the front and back of a long trip. With awards and SWUs harder to come by these days, mid-trip sleep overs are well worth redeeming miles for.

  94. Johnny Guest

    I too sleep "cold" and on overnight long hauls I always wear shorts and short sleeved shirt on planes, even in winter. This makes me cold on the plane to start with, but then I layer long sleeve shirts or blankets until I find the perfect sleeping temp, and I sleep great.
    I do notice that as a "cold" sleeper, warm temps or even "normal" temps totally affect the quality of my sleep, and...

    I too sleep "cold" and on overnight long hauls I always wear shorts and short sleeved shirt on planes, even in winter. This makes me cold on the plane to start with, but then I layer long sleeve shirts or blankets until I find the perfect sleeping temp, and I sleep great.
    I do notice that as a "cold" sleeper, warm temps or even "normal" temps totally affect the quality of my sleep, and with long pants and long sleeves it's almost impossible to feel cool enough to sleep well.

  95. stogieguy7 Diamond

    Gee, I have the same issue. Rarely can I get much sleep on a plane. Will never forget my BOS-ORD-NRT marathon where I did not sleep for one minute and got to the hotel having been awake for close to 30 hours straight. It did, however, prevent any jet lag upon evening arrival in Tokyo - just checked in and went to bed. Once or twice, taking some Tylenol PM around mealtime has helped. My...

    Gee, I have the same issue. Rarely can I get much sleep on a plane. Will never forget my BOS-ORD-NRT marathon where I did not sleep for one minute and got to the hotel having been awake for close to 30 hours straight. It did, however, prevent any jet lag upon evening arrival in Tokyo - just checked in and went to bed. Once or twice, taking some Tylenol PM around mealtime has helped. My best sleep was probably 6 hours or so in premium economy from JFK-GRU after doing this. However, it doesn't work every time and when it fails....it's bad because I'm groggy but can't sleep.

    Have an red eye to Europe in a couple weeks, so I'll be reading these comments with interest for a good suggestion that works. And no, I won't be in flat bed business; taking the family so economy plus is the best I'll have.

  96. Jimmy’s Travel Report Gold

    Ben, I have given up on long and ultra long haul flights of getting a solid eight in. If I can get three to four hours in at one point, and maybe another hour in later it’s a win. A positive aspect to this is 1) I can enjoy the flight and the high level of service and product 2) by bedtime at my destination I’m usually very tired and end up resetting my clock...

    Ben, I have given up on long and ultra long haul flights of getting a solid eight in. If I can get three to four hours in at one point, and maybe another hour in later it’s a win. A positive aspect to this is 1) I can enjoy the flight and the high level of service and product 2) by bedtime at my destination I’m usually very tired and end up resetting my clock to local time. My wife on the other hand has no issues, and I’m always a little jealous. I’m sure my appreciation of the better adult beverages on these high end flights affects my sleeping. It only gets worse the older you get, but you’ve got a lot of runway there.

  97. Kevin B Guest

    You only fly flat business, if you are unable to sleep I feel like you are probably out of luck. As someone who usually flies in economy, I sleep like a baby any time I fly in business class.

  98. Matt J Guest

    My tips are:

    (1) Stack your headphones (seriously) -- I find I sleep best when things are as quiet as possible, so when I'm flying, I put my airpods pro (which have noise canceling) on under my Bose noise canceling headphones. Two layers of noise canceling can get you really close to silent.

    (2) Limit your alcohol and caffeine intake within 8 hours of when you intend to sleep. The half life of caffeine...

    My tips are:

    (1) Stack your headphones (seriously) -- I find I sleep best when things are as quiet as possible, so when I'm flying, I put my airpods pro (which have noise canceling) on under my Bose noise canceling headphones. Two layers of noise canceling can get you really close to silent.

    (2) Limit your alcohol and caffeine intake within 8 hours of when you intend to sleep. The half life of caffeine is roughly 4-6 hours depending on what else is in your system, even if you don't "feel" its affects, it's still in there. While a cup of coffee might seem nice after a meal, it's effect on the body can be more pronounced in the air -- it's best to avoid it (sorry!). Similarly, alcohol can have negative effects on sleep cycle. Often times, particularly when flying, people will find it helps them fall asleep faster but makes them wake up sooner -- often 30-60 minutes after seemingly falling into a deep sleep. It's best to limit yourself to 1-2 drinks maximum for the 4-6 hours before you want to sleep.

    (3) When flying in business class, it can't hurt to ask the crew to lower the temperature, especially if the cabin is already dark. Most passengers don't realize the crew members are amendable to that, particularly when being asked by a business/first class customer and with most of the cabin trying to sleep.

    (4) Get picky about your eye mask. I personally like the Needra eye mask (you can find it on amazon) because it has a velcro strap, so you can adjust how loose it is and it has deep pockets built around the eyes so you don't feel the material on your eye lids. They're pretty cheap and take up no space in a carry on.

    1. RF Diamond

      Yes, double noise cancellation works great for me.

  99. uldguy Diamond

    I can sympathize with you, Ben. I’m a stomach sleeper, so sleeping on a plane is almost impossible for me. I’ve only successfully been able to get comfortable on my stomach and sleep on two flights; one on JAL and the other on Etihad, and both in first class. I’ve tried Lunesta and Ambien but they didn’t work. Alcohol only makes it worse. I’ve just learned to live with it and try not to schedule anything where I need to be my best on the day of arrival.

  100. George Romey Guest

    I have problems sleeping even in a lie flat seat. My advise is to be very tired when you get on the flight. Sleep deprive yourself ahead of time. Now that generally works for me in first and business and coach if the seat next to me is empty. But sleeping in coach in a packed plane? I might as well try to sleep in the middle of Times Square. Not gonna happen.

    Booze might help at first but I find then I wake up and I just feel terrible. Ditto on sleeping pills.

  101. John Guest

    I think I’ve tried them all, and the only strategy that works for me is to leave on a flight that departs after my usual bedtime. Alcohol never helps, as it turns to sugar after a few hours and becomes a stimulant. Melatonin puts me to sleep, and its over the counter in the US, but sleeping medication often makes me feel worse than not sleeping.

  102. Klaus Guest

    Before reading your article (based on the headline) I wanted to comment about alcohol…and then I read the article. Still want to comment about alcohol.

    Yes, dehydration also is one of my biggest problems, especially when drinking strong alcohol and even though I bring my own bottles of water. Unlike Endre and you I am not flying First Class, and I find the bottle of water in business class insufficient.

    Well, my suggestion is to...

    Before reading your article (based on the headline) I wanted to comment about alcohol…and then I read the article. Still want to comment about alcohol.

    Yes, dehydration also is one of my biggest problems, especially when drinking strong alcohol and even though I bring my own bottles of water. Unlike Endre and you I am not flying First Class, and I find the bottle of water in business class insufficient.

    Well, my suggestion is to drink beer as it contains hops (which has a relaxing impact). I know you love champagne, but maybe you might want to reduce its consumption. And in addition, drink plenty of water. Disadvantage is that I wake up every three hours to go to the lavatory - but at least I can sleep in between.

    Being tired also helps. Since for business trips I have to work between flights, that is not the issue. I am more then tired when flying back. But when I burn my miles for business class vacation flights, I also find myself awake on the return as I charged my batteries during my vacation.

    Temperature: Try merino clothing, e.g. Icebreaker Merino Shirts, Ortovox Sweater and Merino underwear. Use multiple layers so that you can take them off. (More often than not it is too warm, so you don’t need too many layers).

    Excitement: it’s getting better, but I am still excited about the breakfast and the midflight Snack. So sometimes at some point during the flight i automatically wake up because I do not want to miss the free snack. Actually quite stupid! The space is expensive on an airplane and not the food. So I should just ignore the food and be happy that I have enough space to sleep.
    Anyway, ask if you can have the snack and other distractions upfront so you are less excited? If that is still an issue for your sleep.

    In a Differenz Post, you mentioned the space in the Emirates shower…maybe MHC membership also helps…

  103. Francisco C Guest

    1. Ambien. A half or third of a pill is sufficient for a 4 hour redeye. Drawback is you should minimize alcohol when using this or similar meds.
    2. Don’t do so much screen time before sleep. Maybe a book instead will help you fall asleep.

    1. Gerard New Member

      Following up on Francisco's helpful advice about sleep hygiene, I think you should explore partial doses of Ambien as an option for ultra-long flights in consultation with your physician. In case you need the name of the generic, its Zolpidem Tartrate (this is helpful outside of the USA, where it is marketed under different names).

    2. TravelCat2 New Member

      Definitely minimize screen time for 1-2 hours before sleeping.

  104. sherm Guest

    speaking of white noise, have you tried the Bose SleepBud II?

  105. Creditcrunch Gold

    For me on night flights, eat a good meal on the ground and just have a light meal onboard, pop a piriton antihistamine tablet and I can get a good few hours.

  106. Kate Guest

    Wouldn’t take any forbidden medication to UAE, that’s for sure.
    Overall, your sleep sounds great, I guess give yourself permission to binge watch after a nap.
    I find the seats too hard. On a midnight flight from IAD to HKG a few years ago I took a $20 foam mat from bed bath and beyond on the flight, and it made a huge difference for me. I’m sure I looked a little ridiculous...

    Wouldn’t take any forbidden medication to UAE, that’s for sure.
    Overall, your sleep sounds great, I guess give yourself permission to binge watch after a nap.
    I find the seats too hard. On a midnight flight from IAD to HKG a few years ago I took a $20 foam mat from bed bath and beyond on the flight, and it made a huge difference for me. I’m sure I looked a little ridiculous with my large bag boarding, but it was very much worth it. I slept more than usual. I just left it on the plane.

    1. Klaus Guest

      Ah forgot about it: bring your own pillow! Not sure if it’s necessary for First Class, but for Business Class it helps.

      And maybe you can try the Tavel
      pillow from Skymall and review it here :)

  107. Erik Guest

    Totally feel this pain, especially without a lie-flat seat. Here's my routine: (1) comfiest clothes I can get away with that still look presentable (usually lululemon), (2) zero alcohol, (3) pop a melotonin (sleep aid + fights jetlag), (4) try to sleep in line with the destination time zone, (5) ear plugs, eye mask, inflatable neck pillow, (6) snuggle into stranger next to me (pretend to be asleep)

  108. James Guest

    Sleep by where you are going
    Eat and drink around that
    A drink does not always help
    Being physically tired before boarding works better. Walk the airport
    Bose noise canceling earbuds wired. Even with nothing playing
    Wear something you are comfortable to sleep in
    A good pair of hiking socks help your feet staying warm
    In PE and Y I wear a hoodie and use the hood to...

    Sleep by where you are going
    Eat and drink around that
    A drink does not always help
    Being physically tired before boarding works better. Walk the airport
    Bose noise canceling earbuds wired. Even with nothing playing
    Wear something you are comfortable to sleep in
    A good pair of hiking socks help your feet staying warm
    In PE and Y I wear a hoodie and use the hood to help with noise and light.
    Also keeps top warm and you can use the ‘blanket’ for bottom.
    Trade sleep for food. Going to Europe I eat at airport get on the plane straight to sleep

  109. him Guest

    Dont sleep at last night
    full stop

  110. andy Guest

    I never slept well on planes either until I took less drowsy dramamine a few years ago. Even though it's less drowsy it still knocks me out so I usually take half and only on flights longer than 10 hours. I took one for a JFK to AMS flight and it was awful. Slept the entire first day and could barely get up for dinner. I also use noise cancelling headphones and listen to a...

    I never slept well on planes either until I took less drowsy dramamine a few years ago. Even though it's less drowsy it still knocks me out so I usually take half and only on flights longer than 10 hours. I took one for a JFK to AMS flight and it was awful. Slept the entire first day and could barely get up for dinner. I also use noise cancelling headphones and listen to a movie scores playlist I used to study to. I didn't take dramamine when I flew west coast to europe twice last year and couldn't sleep well on either flight, which felt like a shame in LH F.

  111. RetiredATLATC Gold

    I take a few benadryl with my pdb and use Bose QC20 earplugs with a white noise app. (Easier to wear than my Bose earphones when lying on my side).

    1. MDK08 Guest

      Second using a white noise app with noise-cancelling earbuds.

  112. Alan Guest

    My sleep strategy on airplanes is The Triple A (AAA): Alcohol, Ambien, and Acetaminophen. I'm not joking, this works well for me, alongside a sleep mask and wax earplugs.

    1. RetiredATLATC Gold

      Worked well for Thorbjørn Olesen.

  113. Justin Guest

    Does anyone know why British airways no longer shows American airlines rewards after may 30th?

  114. ben senise Guest

    alcohol disrupts sleep. i've always enjoyed a glass of wine or three on the plane but have found that sleep is much better without.
    i've also used Ambien (Zolpidem) to sleep. for me it only works for about 5 hours. i don't feel groggy afterwards. but it's not really that good for you so be cautious. Melatonin has never worked for me.
    also, you wrote " I get a solid seven to eight hours of interrupted sleep every night" I think you mean "uninterrupted"

  115. Alonzo Diamond

    Valerian before you board. Otherwise 2 bottles of Dom P and some tea when you wake up.

  116. Eli Guest

    Ben I feel you just landed today in frankfurt with Lufthansa first and didn't manage to sleep anything

  117. Brodie Member

    Xanax. Just go easy on the alcohol and take the lowest dose.

  118. Endre Guest

    In all honesty, I take two melatonin. It takes a bit for them to kick in but then I can sleep for 5 hours or so.

    1. Dave Midnight Guest

      That's my trick too.

      I take it easy on alcoholic drinks (I normally only get one) and then take 5 or 10mg Melatonin, depending on the flights length.
      I also try to adapt to the new time zone, here the Melatonin helps me too, but sadly it doesn't work for my wife. :-(

  119. XFang Guest

    that's why lie flat seats are luxuries that don't add much value for me. i fly business for work trips and am expected to function at 120% at landing. well, it's hard. i still feel groggy and exhausted after a 10 hour flight. sure - i would feel worse in coach. and yet, the recovery timeframe is about the same, for me at least.

  120. Never In Doubt Guest

    Melatonin.

    Airpod in one ear with a not very interesting audio book. (only gets you to sleep, doesn’t keep you asleep) Given your home set up, a white noise app might work.

  121. Carl Herko Guest

    Skip the alcohol. Skip the coffee. I know that’s tough to do when you’re flying up front and one of the biggest perks of doing so is that they keep offering you more and more of that stuff throughout the flight. But, sad to say, that’s the easy answer to your problem.

  122. Don Guest

    I got an RX for generic ambien. I only take it on planes.

    If I don't eat 3-4 hours before, and have planned the flight well, I can get 2.5-4 hours of sleep.

    On a recent DOH-SEA flight, I got almost 6 hours.
    Game changer for me.

  123. Cedric Guest

    Even if you are not sleeping, it's not like you are running a marathon. In C or F, its already resting for me to stay seated... so I only take naps on planes, rarely have I sleeped. maybe 5-6 flights out of 100-150 that I could say I really sleeped.

  124. GetToThePoints` Guest

    Try listening to binaural beats. There are different apps that will play these. Try several until you find one you can relax to.

  125. sxc7885 New Member

    I avoid overdoing it with the alcoholic drinks especially in the air as I find that drinking will impact my sleep and keep me awake which can be no fun when flying business or first with some good options.

  126. Chris K Gold

    Try a few coach flights and trying to sleep. Upon returning to business and first will be much easier.

    1. Jimmy’s Travel Report Gold

      That was funny.

Featured Comments Most helpful comments ( as chosen by the OMAAT community ).

The comments on this page have not been provided, reviewed, approved or otherwise endorsed by any advertiser, and it is not an advertiser's responsibility to ensure posts and/or questions are answered.

Matt J Guest

My tips are: (1) Stack your headphones (seriously) -- I find I sleep best when things are as quiet as possible, so when I'm flying, I put my airpods pro (which have noise canceling) on under my Bose noise canceling headphones. Two layers of noise canceling can get you really close to silent. (2) Limit your alcohol and caffeine intake within 8 hours of when you intend to sleep. The half life of caffeine is roughly 4-6 hours depending on what else is in your system, even if you don't "feel" its affects, it's still in there. While a cup of coffee might seem nice after a meal, it's effect on the body can be more pronounced in the air -- it's best to avoid it (sorry!). Similarly, alcohol can have negative effects on sleep cycle. Often times, particularly when flying, people will find it helps them fall asleep faster but makes them wake up sooner -- often 30-60 minutes after seemingly falling into a deep sleep. It's best to limit yourself to 1-2 drinks maximum for the 4-6 hours before you want to sleep. (3) When flying in business class, it can't hurt to ask the crew to lower the temperature, especially if the cabin is already dark. Most passengers don't realize the crew members are amendable to that, particularly when being asked by a business/first class customer and with most of the cabin trying to sleep. (4) Get picky about your eye mask. I personally like the Needra eye mask (you can find it on amazon) because it has a velcro strap, so you can adjust how loose it is and it has deep pockets built around the eyes so you don't feel the material on your eye lids. They're pretty cheap and take up no space in a carry on.

3
Carl Herko Guest

Skip the alcohol. Skip the coffee. I know that’s tough to do when you’re flying up front and one of the biggest perks of doing so is that they keep offering you more and more of that stuff throughout the flight. But, sad to say, that’s the easy answer to your problem.

3
FF Guest

I too have trouble sleeping on planes. A UA flight attendant suggested Ambien so I tried it. Worked great for a few flights and then I had several Ambien episodes, more or less sleep walking on the plane. I took one after a 36 hour day when I arrived at a safari tent in Kenya -- what a mistake, I got up in the middle of the night and literally had trashed the tent while sound asleep. I woke up to find my camera bag dumped, memory cards and batteries strewn everywhere, clothing all over the tent. I had no memory of doing any of it, but I had locked the tent fastener before I went to bed, so it had to be me. I was suprisingly rested but have not used Ambien since. Lots of Ambien episode stories on the web. Skip the alcohol as well, just dries you out even more.

2
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