Who's Ready for Take-off?
My husband, Rich, is blessed with the enviable ability to drop off to sleep just about anywhere, including the dentist’s chair. When I began getting serious about my painting, I often overcame his reluctance to model for me by asking him to stretch out on the sofa for just a few minutes; in no time he’d be snoozing away, and I could sketch to my heart’s content.
So it will come as no surprise when I tell you that Rich’s ability to sleep on airplanes is legendary. Once, when we were seated separately on a flight from the US to Norway, I went to check in with him toward the end of the flight. And I found his seatmate regarding him with frank astonishment.
“I don’t know how he does it,” she told me. “He fell asleep when the wheels lifted off the ground and hasn’t woken up since. At one point, he was kneeling backward on the seat with his head against the headrest. When dinner was served, the flight attendant came by, lowered his tray table, left the food and then eventually removed it uneaten. So he leaned forward and began sleeping with his head down on the tray table. Then the guy in front of him put back his seat, trapping your husband’s head between the seatback and the tray table. Your husband barely managed to wriggle free. All this and he never once woke up!” Half an hour later, as the plan began its decent into Oslo, Rich sat up, smiled at his seatmate and said, “Not a bad flight!”
It’s a gift. But preparation helps, too. We don’t eat too much, either before or during the flight; airline food quality makes this a lot easier. We drink lots of water and never touch alcohol or coffee. For ten-hour, overnight flights, we usually take half a sleeping pill; any more and we’re too groggy when we land. We bring comfortable eyeshades (the ones provided by the airlines tend to be too tight with stringy straps) and soft earplugs. And we take a homeopathic product called No-Jet-Lag.
The first time we used No-Jet-Lag was on a flight from Cleveland to Istanbul. Stumbling off the plane in the morning, after 14 hours in transit passing through seven times zones, we expected to be total zombies. We were surprised to discover that although we were tired, we weren’t trashed; after a cup of strong Turkish coffee, we spent the day sightseeing and went to bed at the normal local hour. How does it work? Who knows? I’ve never been able to grasp the logic of homeopathy. The smaller the dose, they say, the more effective the remedy, which suggests that the best results would occur if you didn’t take any at all – but of course, the manufacturers don’t recommend that. All I know for sure is that we've had good results with it, and I always pack it for long flights.
The same manufacturer (who frankly deserves a Nobel Prize) also developed a homeopathic product called Drink Ease, which prevents hangovers. Being a total alcohol lightweight, it’s easy for me to over-imbibe when others are just getting into their stride for the evening. When I travel, and new-met friends insist on introducing me to their favorite local libations, round after round after round, it’s nice to know I’ve got Drink Ease tucked in my suitcase. These days I don’t leave home without it.
This post was written in response to questions I've been asked about packing for long and varied trips. Unlike some of my better-organized and more practical blogger friends, I haven't obtained free or discounted gear or supplies in return for promoting anything on this blog. I'm just letting you know what products Rich and I consider to be the most useful for our kind of travel. Watch for future posts about the garments, gear, gadgets and supplies that find their way into our suitcases!
1/23/2013 04:31:59 am
1/23/2013 10:41:39 am
Thanks for your kind words about The Siesta. I love painting, and am working on a portrait of Rich right now. Struggling a bit; faces are so much harder to capture than feet!
1/24/2013 04:59:54 am
1/23/2013 05:59:51 am
I'm intrigued by the "No Jet Lag". I always find coming home to be the worst journey, no matter whether I'm flying East or West. India and San Francisco were both about 10 hour flights from London and both outward journeys were a joy, both return journeys being horrific! So I will remember the "No Jet Lag" for return journeys in the future.
1/24/2013 09:26:41 am
Outward journeys are always easier, at least for me, because I'm so excited about where I'm going. But whichever direction I'm going, it's never fun to spend 10 hours in the air! Hope you find the No-Jet-Lag helps!
1/23/2013 10:29:57 am
How does not jet lag interact with the sleeping pill you take?
1/24/2013 09:23:44 am
I know people who have gotten ill on planes, but usually because of some bug they contracted or bad food that they ate before the flight. Of course, anything is possible! One of the biggest health risks on planes is dehydration, because of the dry air, which is why I avoid alcohol and coffee and drink lots of water. They say taking a shower as soon as you land helps restore your fluids, too. As to the No-Jet-Lag, it says on the package "No Side Effects or Drug Interactions" and we have found this to be true.
6/25/2013 01:15:26 am
Glad that I have found your site. When I read your article, the first thing that came to my mind is about my husband, because he is ditto of your husbad,who always fall asleep ,no what where the place in what occasion. My friends has suggested me about No-Jet-Lag but I was afraid to try the same. Your article enlightened me. Cheers!!
7/16/2013 10:56:31 pm
Oh my goodness, your husband is so lucky! If I could pick any super power, it would be that one—to be able to sleep in any location without problems.
7/17/2013 09:51:30 am
I have always deeply envied Rich's sleeping ability, although I never thought of it as a super power until now. I sometimes use melatonin, especially when I'm on the ground and adapting to a very different time zone. I actually find that I sleep better when I take a siesta after lunch. It's like my body just gets used to the idea it's OK to relax and sleep. But I'll never reach Rich's super power level!
9/25/2013 06:46:04 am
If you re planning for long trip its very important to first make a list of the necessary things which you may need. And I must say you are very good artist, any one can come to this conclusion after watching the above painting.
10/5/2013 03:45:17 am
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10/13/2013 01:13:01 am
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10/22/2013 12:22:16 am
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3/10/2022 05:06:13 am
This is a very informative—edifying article to all. Thanks a lot! Continue to post!
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As my regular readers know, I never get free or discounted goods or services for mentioning anything on this blog (or anywhere else). I only write about things that interest me and that I believe might prove useful for you all to know about. Whew! I wanted to clear that up before we went any further. Thanks for listening.
TO I'm an American travel writer based in Seville, Spain.
Wanderlust has taken me to more than 60 countries. Every week I provide travel tips and adventure stories to inspire your journeys and let you have more fun — and better food — on the road
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