Sunday, August 2, 2009

Survive the red eye flight

Get the best seat possible: Be sure to avoid being stuck in the middle seat of the back row. To maximise your chance of catching a few winks you can opt to pay extra for the comfort of a roomier seat in business or first class. If you cannot afford this, just ask for the best seat going in economy or else chance asking for an upgrade. If you are in economy, get a window seat if you have a strong bladder and want to rest your head against the window. Otherwise request an aisle seat as it’s far better to be disturbed, than to disturb.

Be careful about what you ask for: If you request a seat with extra leg room, chances are you could be placed next to the toilet area on the plane. You will only be only too delighted by the constant queue of people standing next to you waiting for the loo while you try to sleep. Insist that you do not want to sit next to a toilet.

Pack flight essentials: Include a small bag in your carry-on, filled with items that put you in the mood for sleep. With ear plugs, an eye mask, a travel pillow, and warm socks you will ready for bed.

A little help to sleep: Some rest easily with either a prescribed sleeping aid or an over-the-counter medicine. There is no one wonder drug that works for everyone. Talk with your doctor about what will work best for you. If you decide to take anything, first take it at home well before your trip to ensure that it does not cause any unwanted side effects. If you are able to take aspirin take one every 10 hours to thin your blood and avoid blood clots while flying. Make sure the aspirin is in its own box, do not take loose. Seek medical advice on this tip before you fly.

Eat wisely while on board: While no specific clinical research has been done to find out if fatty in-flight will trigger DVT in theory eating stodgy meals could make a difference. It’s recommended to stick to the lighter options. Oily fish is rich in beneficial oils that help to reduce the tendency for blood to clot. Salmon is a good option: if it comes with a creamy sauce, try to leave this on the side. It may even be worth taking fish-oil capsules for a week before and after you fly and making a conscious effort to eat more foods fortified with omega3, such as certain brands of eggs, milk and yoghurt.

Choose comfortable footwear: Remember that compression of the cabin will increase your shoe size by one size. So, if you take your shoes off, be prepared to walk off the plane without them on, as they might not fit back on. I suggest trainers.

Refresh and revive: When they bring round the hot towels during the flight put it over your face and breath through it, it sorts out all your nose, mouth and ears which will become congested by the cabin pressure air. Once you’ve cleared out your head, then use the towel to clean as much as your arms and neck as you can.

Avoid bed on arrival: When you land in your final destination, it can be very tempting to head straight to the hotel bed. Many red-eye regulars skip the nap that first day and then go to sleep early that evening. The aim is to wake up the next day feeling relatively in sync with your new time zone.

Take it easy the first few days: It is all about resetting your body clock to the new time as quickly as possible. Ambition is the enemy after a long red-eye flight. Keep your plans for that first day as simple as possible. If you plan to rent a car at the airport and drive on to another city, be sure to consider whether you will feel alert enough to safely do so.

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