A red eye flights is both a blessing and a curse. On one hand you get a whole extra day at your destination. However, on the other hand, you feel exhausted from the lack of a good night’s sleep.
When Brandon and I first moved to Phoenix, we’d regularly book red eye flights home. When you are traveling forward in time, having that extra day makes a world of difference. Plus when you are in your early 20s, getting only 3.5 hours doesn’t seem to effect you all that much. However, in your 30s, it is a different story.
We definitely don’t book them as often as we used to. However on our most recent trip to Michigan we decided to just go for it. To be honest, one of the main reasons we did this was because we waited until about 3 weeks out to purchase our tickets. It was slim pickings at that point. The other reason is what I mentioned above, we wanted to get the most out of our trip.
Again, flying red eye and the lack of sleep that comes with it definitely takes a toll on your body. Especially in your 30s. So going into this last flight I really wanted to make a point to conquer the red eye. I wanted to be able to fully function when I arrived in Michigan with a full day ahead of me.
I realized getting to sleep and staying asleep for the duration of the flight is key. In order to do that there a few necessary steps you need to take. Followed by a couple of things once you have arrived at your destination.
Tips for Surviving a Red Eye Flight
Follow Your Night Time Routine
This was something I had read about over and over when I was researching how to survive a red eye flight. Most articles I read were geared towards long overseas trips, but I figured it was worth a shot.
Our flight left Phoenix at 11pm. Before we left for the airport I made sure to remove all my make-up and do my normal nighttime skincare routine. Followed up with brushing my teeth. Once we boarded the plane, I snuggled up (as much as possible) and opened my book to read. I’ve been making it a point this year to read for at least 10 minutes before I go to sleep, so this is part of my nighttime routine as well.
The whole idea of following your nighttime routine prior to taking off is so that your mind/body is aware that it is still time for bed. If your mind/body knows it’s time for bed, you’ll be able to fall asleep much quicker than if you were dressed and ready for a new day.
Wear Comfy Clothes
A no brainer for some, but to be honest, I’m not usually one to wear workout clothes or loungewear on a flight. However knowing that I needed to get what little sleep I could on this flight, I knew I was going to have to go for comfort with this one.
I put together the comfiest outfit I could, while (hopefully) still looking put together. My look consisted of Navy Blue Cropped Wide Leg Pants (elastic waist), my all-time favorite White Tank Bodysuit, a Denim Jacket, and White Sneakers.
Don’t Forget the Necessities
If you are anything like me, you always manage to forget something when flying. However with a red eye flight, I knew I was going to need all the necessities. A few of my in-flight must-haves:
- A Large Scarf – I have a leopard scarf I rarely fly without. It’s huge and easily doubles as a blanket which is how I use it more often than not. Having this for the red eye was a must for me. When I got on the plane I wrapped up in it so I felt cozy and ready for bed.
- Neck Pillow – Never ever will I fly without one. I haven’t found the best one yet, but the one I have suffices just fine until I do.
- A Good Book – Aside from sleeping, reading on the plane, for me, is the fastest way to pass time. On the red eye, don’t plan on reading too much because you want to get as much sleep as possible. However if you are like me and reading is part of your nighttime routine, a book is a must have.
- Headphones – Obviously a necessity to drown out the noise. I created a “Red Eye” playlist of slow, soothing songs that I knew I could easily fall asleep to. Another great idea I read about is to download a noise machine app (make sure you can use it without wifi).
Prep for Your Day After Landing
For us when we go back to Michigan we try to fly into the Kalamazoo airport as it’s the closest to where we live, however that means we will have a layover in either Detroit or Chicago. This time it was Detroit.
When I arrived in Detroit I headed to the bathroom to “freshen up”. I first splashed my face with water then did a quick little make-up routine. Just like how following your nighttime routine prepares your body/mind for sleep, taking a little time to freshen up post flight will tell your body/mind that it is a new day.
This will definitely be something I continue to do on any overnight flights we take. I felt so much better, more awake and refreshed after my quick 3.5 hour nap.
Once you’ve landed and you are at your destination, it is easy to want to crawl right back into bed and nap. Try to avoid this though! You’ve arrived in the morning so that you can enjoy an extra day.
When I say exercise, I don’t mean to put in a crazy workout, just make sure you move a bit. This past trip, I made a point to take a walk and it made a world of difference. It wasn’t a long walk by any means, just a quick one around the neighborhood, but I felt invigorated and refreshed!
Taking a quick walk, jumping on a treadmill, doing any sort of movement to get the heart rate up and the blood flowing, will help you to wake up a bit and feel (somewhat) ready to take on the day.