Long Flight Love: How To Stay Awake

So maybe catching up on sleep during a long flight from New York to London is your idea of a big win in the air. Perhaps you would rather not hear the crying baby, see the questionable cuisine in coach or smell the odd aromas that might linger around the aircraft cabin. For you, there are plenty of tips, suggestions and methods for falling asleep on a long flight.

However, those of us who actually like to fly, can’t get enough time in the air and look forward to the flying experience, instead seek great ways to stay awake and enjoy every blissful minute of flight. Here are a few great tips for staying awake on a long flight.

Sleep as much as you can the night before- Banking a little sleep several days or a week before the long flight will help. “Recent sleep research indicates that ‘banking sleep’ beforehand can improve performance after subsequent sleep restriction or total deprivation,” says Zeo, a leading sleep management company in the U.S.

Do things that you like to do- Watch action movies with engaging plots or play favorite video games. Better yet, deny yourself video game playtime for a few days before flying, just so you will rabidly appreciate every single minute of play. Note: Mile High Club activities, while perhaps energizing, are not recommended.

Engage in scintillating conversation- There’s nothing like a good talk between new friends met on the plane. Plus, if that flight takes you to Ireland, you’ll be all set to grab a pint and “meet up with kinfolk and townsfolk alike to engage in lively conversation after a few rounds,” says NetPlaces.Consider flying a social occasion- Like boarding a cruise ship in the olden days, friends should come to see us off at the airport. Waving goodbye from the jetway perks up emotions and there is nothing wrong with a little jealousy on their part, or pride on our part. Once on the plane, make a point of being pleasant to your neighbors. Though some may follow the advice of Wanderfly‘s “Ways To Keep Your Neighbor From Talking Your Ear Off,” which promotes wearing headphones and pretending to be deaf or crazy, others will find that engaging in exciting conversation will keep sleep far away.

Get the names of friendly crew members- Sure, their main reason for living is to keep us safe in the air, but they can do it nicely. Write down their names and send an email or tweet off to their land-based bosses. Note: Do not use this tip when flying Skymark Airlines, the Japanese low-cost airline that, according to Asia Sentinel, specifically says passengers should not expect flight attendants to help with luggage, listen to complaints or even be minimally polite.

Just Say Yes to coffee and caffeinated drinks- Coffee and soda are a good start. Two to four cups of coffee a day get us 200 to 300 milligrams of caffeine, which should be fine for most people, says the Mayo Clinic. Caffeine-rich products like Upshot are better with 80 milligrams, in addition to Red Fin Energy Shot‘s 100-milligram drink. 357 Magnum Energy Shot brings a hefty 125 milligrams, and 5150 Juice reigns supreme with 500 milligrams of caffeine. “While we don’t condone over-the-top caffeine use, we are big proponents of smart spending,” warns MainStreet, offering a look at 20 drinks with the highest caffeine content per ounce.

Not recommended: Going outside to stretch your legs or putting on a bunch of clothes that make you look fat, then doing belly slams or laughing incessantly, as suggested by WikiHow in “25 Tips On How To Stay Awake At A Sleepover.”

[Flickr photo by S.H. Photography]

Road trip tip: How to stay awake while driving

There are ways to stay awake while driving. I’ve done some of them. Coffee is one. Chewing gum is another. This video explains why and how those two methods work, plus offers other suggestions.

At the end there’s a statistic that gives one pause. Falling asleep at the wheel is not uncommon. It doesn’t hurt to have a few tricks for a road trip, but also is a reminder that pulling over to take a nap is not the worst option. In that case, it seems that being parked at a rest stop would feel more restful than being parked at a fast food or gas station parking lot. Consider that Virginia.

If you do stop at a rest stop to take a nap, make sure you are alert before you take off otherwise you might forget something.