Red-Eye Flight Tips: A Man’s Guide to Overnight Travel


Up next we’re going to talk about how to survive a red-eye flight. Hey gents I’m Kyle from the Distilled Man. This channel is all about providing actionable advice for the everyday gentleman. So red eyes always sound like a good idea in theory. Sleep on the plane, wake up at my destination? The thing is, there’s a reason why overnight flights aren’t called bright eye flights or fresh face flights. You see, red eye pretty accurately sums up how you feel after spending the night in an economy seat at 35,000 feet. Fortunately there are some tricks that can help make night flights less painful. So in this video I’m going to share 7 tips for how you can survive a red eye. Real quick, I want to give a big thanks to AtmosWear for sponsoring this video and for supporting the channel. Number one, choose your seat carefully. There’s a lot you can do before your overnight flight to make it more bearable. And not surprisingly, choosing the right seat is pretty critical. So just like with buying a house, the most important thing is location location location. And Travel and Leisure suggests that you should strategically select an area of the cabin that’s away from areas where people might congregate. So right off the bat that means avoiding areas near the lavatories, for sure. I mean you get the hordes of people lining up, and then there’s the smell! But then also it may be tempting because of extra legroom, but try to avoid that that front seat that’s right by the door as well. Now for your actual seat selection. Now a lot of people opt for the aisle seat because they can easily, you know, get up and move around in the aisle and stretch their legs, but this has some drawbacks on a red-eye. While you are able to move around a little bit more easily when you sit in the aisle, you’re also more likely to be disturbed, which is just going to make sleep difficult. So nothing ruins a great dream by like the drink cart slamming into your shoulder at high speed, or, you know, getting nudged by a careless passenger’s hip as they lumber down the aisle. The window seat can help you avoid all that. Plus, it has another huge advantage on a red eye in that it gives you a place to rest your head. And one other tip, if you’re a side sleeper at home you may want to try to pick the same side of the plane that you normally sleep on in bed. That’s going to make you one degree closer to comfortable sleep. Number two, pre-adjust your sleep schedule to your destination. Again, much of having a good red eye flight starts well before you walk on that plane. And if you think about what really zaps the heck out of you on a red-eye flight it’s the fact that you’re getting piss-poor to almost no sleep. What makes you feel even more out of sorts when you arrive in the morning is that you’re in a different time zone. So you walk around in a haze like you’re in some bad acid trip. Wouldn’t it be easier if your body was already in the same time zone as your destination? As one article by The Points Guy mentions, some experts believe that it takes one full day to adjust your body clock by one hour. So that means that if you’re in the US flying from one coast to the other, you’re going to have to start adjusting your body clock three days earlier. And of course that’s going to be even more for a bigger time difference for international travel. By planning ahead, you’ll be able to gradually adjust your schedule so that you’ll be in a slightly better headspace when you arrive at your destination, or at least not have that added disorientation of being in a conflicting time zone. And one other tip: adjust your watch as soon as you get up on the plane, and that will help you psychologically complete the transition. Number three, wear comfortable clothes. So, often you might be taking a red-eye because you have an early morning meeting shortly after your flight. So you might be tempted to wear business attire. I mean you are on a business trip after all. This is a terrible idea. First of all, your slacks and your shirt are going to get all wrinkly and funky from you being cooped up in that flight for so long. Second of all, when you think of comfy nighttime clothes, you don’t often think of dress pants and a Oxford cloth button-down. Rather than try to dress like a business traveler, you should really try to optimize your outfit for comfort. For your bottom half, just think you know soft cotton chinos or a nice comfortable pair of jeans, or heck, even sweatpants if you had a nice pair you can wear out. And for your upper half, think layers that are comfortable that you can shed and put back on easily. So a good quality undershirt or t-shirt with a zip up fleece or sweatshirt or sweater. Our sponsor AtmosWear makes some extremely high quality undershirts that are great for high performance situations like travel. So the undershirts are made from nylon so they’re fast drying and breathable, and they help wick away sweat and keep you cool and dry, even if you’re sitting on a long flight. It’s funny, we often think of nylon as something for, you know, just for sportswear or for non-garment items like bags. But actually this fabric is really really soft and silky. In fact, one thing I learned is that when nylon was first introduced, it was actually marketed as a substitute for silk. And unlike some other undershirt fabrics, there’s some evidence that suggests that nylon helps inhibit the growth of odor causing bacteria. So these shirts, you can actually wear them longer before they start to smell. So they’re a great choice as a base layer for travel, when you’re going to be cooped up for a long period of time and maybe you won’t have time to shower. And that way you don’t have to completely change when you arrive, you can just throw on a clean shirt over the top and you’re ready to roll. I also like AtmosWear because, well first of all, they’re very well-made, but they’re also designed to be extra-long, which is helpful because then they don’t come untucked as much, especially for taller guys like me. And they’re great for travel like I mentioned before, but they’re also just really good for any sort of high pressure or active situation, or maybe extreme temperatures, like a summer wedding or maybe a business meeting where you know it’s going to be stressful and you might be sweating but you still want to stay sort of put together. AtmosWear has been kind enough to offer a special discount for Distilled Man viewers. Just enter the offer code below to get special savings. Number four, be careful about what you consume. So overnight flights are an endurance sport really if you think about it. So you’ve got to treat your body like an athlete or like a temple or I don’t know ,just be kind to it. So some people, they like to down a few stiff drinks before a flight to help them sleep, but for most people alcohol is a bad idea. Anyone who’s taken a long flight and forgotten to bring lip balm or a bottle of water knows exactly how dry and unforgiving cabin air can be. And combine that with the diuretic properties of alcohol and you’re just asking to feel like crap the next day when you’ve land at zero dark early. The same goes for caffeine: try to limit your intake and maybe even cut yourself off at noon. Instead, try to spend those hours leading up to the flight prehydrating, and once you get on the plane make sure you continue to drink a lot of water. Surprisingly I’ve seen some travel tips that suggest that you should actually limit the amount of water you drink on a red-eye just so you don’t have to get up in the middle of night to go pee. But given what we know about airline cabins I mean that’s just crazy. As Frommer’s has pointed out, the air in an airplane is actually drier than a desert. So the typical airline cabin has a humidity of about 10 to 20% and sometimes it can be as low as 1%, whereas the Sahara Desert is 25 percent humidity! Beyond staying hydrated, one thing you should do in moderation is eat. So try to avoid heavy or rich meals before you you take off and then also try to avoid spicy foods or foods that otherwise might upset your stomach. Number 5, recreate your bedtime routine. So as I mentioned earlier, one of the big challenges with red-eye flights is that you don’t get enough quality sleep, and of course it doesn’t help that you’re stuck inside this big rumbling metal tube alongside 200 other snoring passengers. But the other challenge of red-eye flights is that sleeping on a plane is so much different than your normal nighttime routine. As an article by SmarterTravel recommended, you can actually lay the groundwork for better sleep by trying to recreate some of your normal bedtime routine. so all those things that you normally do to help wind down before going to bed can help be cues to your body that it’s time to go night-night. Wash your face and brush your teeth. Take off any accessories like your watch or your glasses or jewelry if you wear any. Take off your shoes tuck yourself into a blanket. Maybe crack open that fiction book and read a few pages. You know, I personally I try to avoid nonfiction or business ebooks right before bed. Beyond this there are a few more basic ways to tell your body that it’s time to go to sleep. Try to limit blue light from TV screens or other devices. So blue light can really interrupt our sleep/wake cycles and mess with our ability to fall asleep. And then also watch your temperature. So actually being a little bit cooler can often help you sleep. Research shows that the drop in body temperature can actually help signal your body that it’s time to go to bed. Invest in a quality neck pillow so you can feel comfortable and avoid having a stiff neck in the morning. Wear a comfortable eye mask and wear some earplugs to help block out the light and noise. Number six, keep freshening up supplies easily accessible. One of the worst things about a red eye is that after spending several hours cramped up in a tiny seat you have to get up and face the day. But you’re tired, you’re cranky, you’ve got mega morning mouth (made worse by the dryer than desert air) and you’ve been sitting in your own funk for several hours. Keeping some basic toiletries at the top of your carry-on bag for quick access can be a very smart move. So your toothbrush, your toothpaste maybe mouthwash, comb, maybe deodorant. When you have all these things handy, sometimes a quick trip to the lavatory shortly before landing can actually help you feel less like a stinky zombie while walking up that jetway. You won’t feel completely human yet, and you certainly aren’t ready to just stride into that business meeting, but at least you’ll feel semi presentable enough to stumble through the terminal and interact with your uber driver without having a total meltdown. Number seven, after a red-eye give yourself a morning reset. Even if you’ve managed to catch some shut-eye on the plane your daily rhythm is really disrupted. You know, being on a plane all night you lose that sense of transition from one day to the next, and it can be really disorienting when the days sort of blur together like that. It’s like a surreal foggy dream. And that’s why you should try to simulate the reset of a new day. If you can, go to the hotel and get rid of your bag. So your room’s not going to be ready yet but at least you can stash your suitcase with the bellboy, so you don’t have to roll that thing around. Then take out those freshening up supplies that we talked about a moment ago go into the hotel bathroom and give yourself a little primp if you need one. So wash your face, brush your teeth, comb your hair, maybe assess your your armpits to see if they need a little quick wipe with water and a paper towel. Put on a fresh dress shirt and pants, lace up those dress shoes. Go and grab a real breakfast, preferably something with protein. Try to resist the urge to grab that quick pastry even though it may look convenient and tasty now, that subsequent sugar crash is only going to compound you feeling like crap later. Use caffeine sparingly. Your coffee should be a gentle encouragement for you to wake up. It should not be your only fuel for the day. And get out and take a brisk walk. So by moving, getting some fresh air, moving your limbs to get the blood going but also seeing morning light getting exposure to morning light will help remind your body that it’s a new day and it’s time for you to go out and kick some butt. It may not be as good as eight hours of uninterrupted sleep, but all of these little things combined can help you feel like you’ve had a little bit more of a reset. So that’s it, gentlemen. 7 tips for how to survive a red eye. If you like this video, do me a favor and hit that like button below now. If you want to subscribe to the channel you can do that by clicking right about here. And if you want a free copy of my ebook, 48 Hour Gentlemen, you can do that by clicking right about here. And finally, if you just want to watch another Distilled Man video you can do that by clicking right about here. Thanks again for watching, and I’ll see you soon.

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