It sounds like a good idea when you look at the price, but sitting in an economy seat at 36,000 feet is not conducive to a good night’s sleep. The pros and cons of taking a red-eye flight are obvious: you arrive at your destination in the morning and you don’t lose a whole day traveling. However, you’re too exhausted to be productive because you spent the previous night shifting positions in your uncomfortable airline seat. Here are a few tips to make sure you leave your next red-eye flight somewhat rested so you can work the next day.
Beat Jet Lag in Advance
Not only do you lose hours of refreshing sleep on a red-eye flight, but the time change also knocks you off track. It can take a full day to adjust to a time change of just one hour. Try to advance your body clock when traveling eastbound. You will have to wake up earlier and go to bed earlier than you normally would. Do the reverse when headed westbound. Try this before your trip so you have a better chance of being into the right time zone when you deplane.
Choose your seat carefully
The right seat is critical. As in real estate, the main criteria is location, location, location. Avoid seats located near the restroom and the seats that don’t recline. Sitting in the aisle makes it likely you’ll get an elbow injury. If you sleep on a certain side of the bed at home, choose a window seat on the side of the plane that provides you with a more comfortable experience and maybe some additional time to sleep.
Eat Light & Right
Look for the healthiest, leanest meal you can find, preferably at the gate before you board. Avoid spicy foods that might cause an upset stomach. In-flight meals are overly processed and salty, so they may make you feel bloated or more dehydrated during the flight.
Hydrate Like It’s Your Job
Drink water, and skip the alcohol and caffeine. The pressurized cabin usually leaves passengers a little dehydrated, so buy a large bottle of water at the gate before you board the plane and drink water steadily throughout the flight. Tuck a small amenity kit into your bag with eye drops and lip balm to keep your face from drying out, too.
Yes, sleeping on a plane is difficult, so come prepared. Bring a comfortable travel pillow, sleep mask, ear plugs or noise-cancelling earphones – all worth every penny to frequent fliers. Take off your watch and accessories to remind yourself that it’s bedtime. And be sure to buckle your seat belt over your blanket so that the flight attendant doesn’t need to disturb you to check it. Have a back-up blanket in case you don’t get one on the plane or to avoid paying for one when flying with airlines who charge for them.
Bring a toiletry bag with all of the usual items you use to get ready in the morning, including a toothbrush, mouthwash, deodorant, hair brush and a fresh set of clothes. You will feel mentally more prepared to tackle the new day after freshening up.
Dress for Comfort
Even though you’re on a business trip, do not attempt to wear business attire on the plane, even if you’re flying with your boss. Your slacks and dress shirt will be trashed after a 5-hour haul. Soft cotton chinos are a better choice, paired with comfortable undershirts and a quarter-zip pullover. When you arrive, throw on a clean dress shirt over the undershirt and you can head straight to your meeting. You’ll look presentable, but will also be able to relax in-flight.
Once you arrive at your hotel or office, take a few minutes to primp in the bathroom before you start your meeting. Get a real breakfast with protein and bypass the tempting cinnamon rolls. Take a brisk walk in fresh air to get the blood flowing and catch some of the morning light to reset your body clock.
Of course, the best way to sleep on an airplane is to get one of those roomy seats up front. Travel Leaders Group has all the right connections to improve your air travel experience. Are you making the most of your airline soft dollar program?
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