As someone with family in a galaxy far, far away (or, as it’s more usually called, “England”), I’ve spent a lot of the holidays on transatlantic flights — and if you don’t get at least some sleep on these 12-hour monsters, you are dooming yourself to spend the first two days of your visit in a miserable jet-lagged haze.
Luckily, over the years I’ve developed a (personally) foolproof system for being an absolute champion sleeper on flights like this that enables me to wake up on the runway and waltz into London Heathrow Arrivals like a well-refreshed boss. And I’m sharing it here with you, dear reader.
You will need in your carry-on luggage:
- A big soft scarf (like, big)
- Noise-canceling headphones
- Face moisturizer
- Vicks VapoRub or generic equivalent
- Neck pillow
- Facial wipes
- Water bottle full of water from the Departure lounge
And here’s the patented Méthode de Carly:
- Get on the plane, fire up a movie, eat the dinner they give me or that I’ve brought aboard (strongly recommend the latter here). Have a glass of red wine with my dinner, accompanied by a good amount of water. (Plane travel dehydrates you super-fast and I do not want a “plangover” because they are the absolute worst.)
- When finished with the above, take Benadryl (anti-histamine that also makes me sleepy). I am not going to tell you the dosage I take because I am not a doctor and you should read the back of the box.
- Go to the restroom with carry-on bag and do the following:
- Change into PJs. Yes, I am that person in PJs on the flight. Deal.
- Take off all my makeup with facial wipes and apply inch-thick layer of moisturizer (remember: plane travel dehyrates!)
- Fill water bottle because I don’t want to have to get up again when thirsty and disturb my slumber
- Apply Vicks VapoRub to nose, because planes can smell and menthol makes me feel zen
- Go back to seat and make self as comfortable as possible on 10+ hour economy flight: pillow, noise-canceling headphones (to block out the sound of jet engines next to my face) and — this is the weirdest part — arrange big scarf over head like a drape on a canary’s cage. (And you thought the PJs were going to make you look weird.)
- Ensconced in sound-proof, light-resistant tent of comfort, and already sleepy from Benadryl, fall asleep for many hours and wake up refreshed and capable of dealing with a vastly altered time zone.
And there you have it! A version of this guide appears in this episode of The Cooler, a podcast you really should be listening to:
What tricks do you have for making plane travel bearable? Leave a comment!