And I am not talking about using Visine to get the red out. I am talking about taking an all night flight, either cross-country or to a land, far, far away. This means leaving around midnight, and arriving sometime at your destination the next morning or day. I often took the red-eye flights from SFO to points east, like New York City, Boston, Washington, DC, Atlanta, Miami, and Chicago. Upon landing, I often times went directly to work, before I could check into a hotel, shower, and eat a decent meal.
There are ways to beat the red-eye syndrome, as I call it. One is not to ever take a red-eye flight, virtually impossible for a business traveler, or a bargain hunter. Two, is to take some precautions that make some sense.
If you can sleep, grabbing a window seat is best. Otherwise, you may be wakened every hour or so for the “urinator.” Personally, I like the aisle, since I like to get up and stretch my legs several times during the flight, and often walk to the back of the plane a few times as well. Anything to prevent DVT, deep vein thrombosis.
Popping pills has always been easy, being in the pharmacy business for 44 years now. Choose your medication based on your own body and your needs. Some people can get by with Benadryl (diphenhydramine 25 or 50mg) OTC, or even melatonin tablets. I prefer to use zolpidem (brand name Ambien) 5 or 10 mg. When all else fails, I have an alcoholic drink of some kind, preferably champagne on foreign flights. While contrary to scientific evidence, it works for me, as long as I stayed well hydrated through the flight.
Again, conventional wisdom says to skip the dinner cart meal, and eat beforehand. I do this when seated in coach, but I tend to pick a little at the food in Business or First Class. It is generally a little healthier, and served in smaller portions. But yes, it is best to eat something decent, either on the way to the airport, or better yet, some home cooking. And we always tend to carry a few healthy snacks, like apples and cheese, and some energy bars.
Brushing your teeth upon landing is a great refresher. Either carry your own, or on most foreign airlines, use the one provided in your little travel kit. It is also stocked with ear plugs, eye shades, slipper socks, hand lotion, and a “Do NOT Disturb” sign.
I use noise-cancelling headphones with or without music. It assures that nobody will talk to you, particularly your seatmate. And stay away from those flight maps that appear on your screen. It only serves to make the trip longer in my experience. It is best to turn it OFF completely, after watching your bedtime movie.
Bose? – QuietComfort? 15 Acoustic Noise Cancelling? Headphones Limited Edition – Slate/Brown – Larger Front Sony Noise Canceling Headphones
Hydrate, hydrate, hydrate! Water is the best, but other non-alcoholic beverages will suffice. Bring your own so that you always have some at hand, particularly for your late night or early morning medications.
Might I also add that the same or similar suggestions apply to train and bus travel as well. I have crossed the U.S. twice on Amtrak, and taken a 12.5 hour bus trip from Cape Horn back up to Chile. Stick with the things that work best for you, no matter the form of transportation. Unless you decide to drive!