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10 Helpful Tips for Surviving a Redeye Flight


A couple of weeks ago, I was in Cape Cod and Boston. From Los Angeles to Boston, the redeye flight was so cheap that I jumped on the price without questioning it. As the departure date was getting closer, I started dreading the fact that I chose a redeye flight. There are definitely pros to it; they tend to be cheaper, you forgo paying an additional night at a hotel and you get a full day to enjoy your destination. But the struggle is real when it comes to overnight flights, agreed?

For my redeye flight to Boston, I did my best to make the most out of it including a positive attitude. Guess what? It wasn't all that bad! So here I am, sharing the 10 things I did to help you survive the infamous redeye flight, too! If you have flight anxiety on top of that, click here for my Fear of Flying post!

Melatonin - Medication is never the answer to sleeplessness but a lot of Melatonin pills are natural. It induces sleepiness and makes you fall asleep faster with supposedly a better night's rest. I take Melatonin pills even at home since my mind runs wild at night and have had issues falling asleep. Personally, I think Melatonin is a better option than taking Tylenol PM or Ibuprofen unnecessarily.

Drink H2O - Seems obvious to stay hydrated inflight but drinking pop or alcohol during a redeye can in reverse, cause dehydration. Not to mention the possible effect of caffeine. Stick to the H2O during an overnight flight!

Dress Appropriately - This below is exactly what I wear for redeye flights. A baggy cardigan that can act as a blanket, comfortable and stretchy yoga pants, a loose t-shirt and slip-on shoes. To each their own but I won't be caught dead wearing pajamas to the airport let alone in public so I try to get as close as I can to sleepwear!

                    
Brush Your Teeth - Most of us have conditioned our minds that shortly after we brush our teeth at night, it's time for bed. That's why I believe in brushing my teeth right after boarding. This way, your mind will get into sleep mode and hey, clean teeth are important! I always carry on this toothbrush kit for convenience.

Avoid Electronics Before Flight / Night Time Mode - This is true for anytime you're trying to get sleep but it's especially crucial for redeye flights. After the safety video, turn off that screen, try not to play around with your phone or at the least, switch it to Night Mode. This keeps your mind from being too active to ease into sleep.

Prepare Redeye Accessories - My carry-on accessories differ from regular flights and redeye flights. I normally woudn't bring these items for a regular flight but I'll do anything to be comfortable! I bring an eye-mask, eyedrops, face-wipes and motion sickness bands along with a good neck pillow and sound-canceling headphones.

Eat Before the Flight - Your goal is to fall asleep as soon as you board. Eating mid-flight of a redeye can make you feel full, uncomfortable and throwing off your body from the norm, causing difficulty in sleeping.

Choose Seating Wisely - While window or aisle seats depends on preference, one thing is for sure when it comes to redeye flights. Don't choose exit row, non-reclining seats and seats by the galley or the bathroom. If you're not sure which seats don't recline, check on Seat Guru. That's been my go-to website for years!

Choose Flight Options Wisely - I know this isn't possible for every case but try to book a nonstop redeye to your destination. There's nothing worse than managing to fall asleep and having to wake up at 2AM to connect to your next flight. Keep in mind there's a difference between a direct flight and a nonstop flight: direct flight means the plane will directly get to your destination but not necessarily without making a stop. A nonstop flight is just that, no stops.

Listen to Soothing Sounds or Calming Music - Pretty self-explanatory, right? If you can't be bothered to make a playlist yourself, most music apps will have their own or user-generated playlist perfect for sleeping. My favorite app for soothing sounds is Noizio. You can pick from several different sounds that drown out unwanted noises. I use this almost every night to help me sleep!

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Do you have any tips to share when flying a redeye flight? Share your knowledge and expertise in the comments below! 


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36 comments

  1. I actually love flying redeye so I can try to sleep before waking up to my destination. You have amazing tips!

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    1. Ahh Christine I am so jealous you love flying redeye! Maybe I need to just train myself mentally to love it, haha! Thank you so much for stopping by as always!! xo

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  2. Love love love these tips! I'm with you wearing comfortable clothes that look neat and nice, and neck pillow is a must for me as well. I always have really hard time falling asleep though and will make sure to try melatonin pills as well as a soothing sound next time! xoxo, nano

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    1. Thank you so much Nano! I'm glad you agree about dressing nicely!! Yes - Melatonin is natural so definitely give it a try! Thanks for stopping by! xo

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  3. This is actually so helpful! I have major struggles sleeping on planes! Which can absolutely kill you the next day, especially for long haul! I didn't even know melatonin was a thing - and I totally agree about not taking painkillers unnecessarily! Great post!

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    1. Yes! Definitely try Melatonin, SO much better than painkillers! Thanks so much for stopping by Chiera! xo

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  4. Excellent tips! One thing to be cautious of... don't pass out or take sleeping aids before takeoff. Just in case (G-d forbid), something happens and you have to get off the plane, you need to be able to do so.

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    1. So true!! Good point! Thanks for stopping by!! xo

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  5. I took a red-eye to Barcelona about a week ago. I find your last tip so valuable; calming music makes all the difference.

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    1. Thank you so much for stopping by Tao! Yes, calming music is key! xo

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  6. Great tips. I'm with you on the H2O and not eating thing. I always look like a bit of a tramp travelling back to the desert with a through the night flight, but being comfy is a must over the fashion stakes! Your options were very good just not sure anyone wants to see me in yoga pants outside the gym lol. #flyawayfriday

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    1. Haha I look like a hot mess after a red eye whether I try or not! Thanks for stopping by! xo

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  7. Great advice Kana. We will need to keep this in mind on our way back from Japan - we have a full day stopover in Seoul on our way home so hopefully we should be nice and tired for our overnight flight back to NZ! But comfortable clothes is really important, I ditch my jeans & tailored shirts for comfy pants & a loose t-shirt, as well as items like eyedrops & face wipes. And I never drink on a long haul flight anyway just because it's too dehydrating. H20 all the way! #FlyAwayFriday

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    1. Thanks Juliette! Yes comfy clothes for the win - oh and water too! I just see people drinking away through the plane and I cringe! Haha! Thanks for stopping by! xo

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  8. I have mixed experiences with red eye flights. Sometimes they are fine and other times they are painful. My problem is that I cannot sleep in planes. For people like me, I recommend having something to keep your mind busy, bringing something to eat (you will need that if your flight is longer than 8 hour) and trying to score a seat in the emergency aisle.

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    1. That's a really good point, keeping busy is definitely a great way! I'm a huge fan of the emergency seats too during long flights - leg room, yay! Thanks for stopping by Ruth! xo

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  9. I'm absolutely terrible at getting any sleep on flights. I just make sure I'm super comfy and have things to keep me occupied so I don't go insane while everyone else is asleep. #FlyAwayFriday

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    1. I know, I think sleeping is the most difficult part for redeyes! I just need it or else I look like a hot mess afterwards, haha! Thanks for stopping by! xo

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  10. These are all such great tips! I take them a lot more seriously ever since I got dry eye - which is really more like wet eye. I feel asleep on a long haul flight with my contacts in, which usually doesn't bother me. But in this instance it made my eyes so red. I had to get drops and I could barely see a whole day. Never again! Now I mentally prepare myself to follow these steps and take contacts out well before I think I may fall asleep! Thanks for these! :)

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    1. Oh my gosh that sounds terrible!!! Is everything ok now?! I don't wear contacts so I can only imagine the process that goes into it. I would definitely forget to take them out I'm sure, haha! Thanks for stopping by! xo

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  11. These are great tips. We take a lot of red eye flights because they're cheaper and when we're paying for three tickets, airfare adds up really fast. However, most of the time I'm not able to sleep because at least one kid is awake. But then again, this is also true at home a lot of the times... #FlyAwayFriday

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    1. Oh I bet! I know, the great thing about red eye flights is that they're so cheap. Sometimes it's worth suffering through it. Haha, I have so much respect for you as a Mama!! Thanks for stopping by! xo

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  12. I've never taken the red eye but drinking more water is something I absolutely swear by on long-haul flights. I never used to drink much because of having to make multiple trips to the bathroom (super annoying on a flight) but when I changed to drinking more it changed everything. I felt so much better! Great tips :) #FlyAwayFriday

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    1. You've never flown a red eye?! I am so jealous! Haha. I agree, going to the bathroom tons of times (especially in a window seat) can get annoying! Thanks for stopping by! xo

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  13. Love these tips! I end up on red eyes a lot, for the price and trying to maximize time in a destination, but I hate getting off the plane feeling groggy and grumpy.
    #flyawayfriday

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    1. Thanks Natalie! Haha yup me too! Cheap and maximizing time is worth suffering through the red eye flights! Thanks for stopping by! xo

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  14. Awesome tips Kana! Will definitely have to look into noise-cancelling headphones and the Noizio app! #flyawayFriday

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    1. Thanks Flo! Yes the Noizio app is life! I use it every night even when I'm at home! xo

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  15. Great tips Kana! I'm not a fan of red eye flights but sometimes they're necessary for the price difference! I just bought a red eye from Hong Kong to Taiwan that was $250 cheaper than any other option for my partner and I, not super long flight thankfully, but I'll keep these tips in mind. I've heard melatonin can work wonders.

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    1. Thanks Mimi! I know! Sometimes it's so cheap, you just can't ignore the red eyes! Oh my gosh, a $250 difference is huge!!! Thanks for stopping by! xo

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  16. Really cool tips! Very handy! I tend to choose these flights when I get a day in a new city. Although it does get exhausting sometimes... I should try melatonin, I´m always having troubles to get some sleep on board. Thanks for sharing #flyawayfriday

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    1. Thanks Anna! Definitely worth the entire day of exploring at the destination, agreed! Yes, give Melatonin a try, it might be great for you! Thanks for stopping by! xo

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  17. Hi Kana! Nice tipps! I do some of them exactly the same way you do, like dressing comfortable, brushing my teeth right after boarding and even the accessories. Noise-concelling headphones are a MUST! And I've never heard of Seat Guru, so thanks for sharing this! xoxo Claudi

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    1. Yes! Seat Guru can be a savior sometimes especially when there's so many aircrafts out there; god forbid you get stuck in a seat with no reclining during a redeye!! Thanks so much for stopping by! xo

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  18. Love these tips! I hate red eye flights and avoid them like the plague but sometimes coast-to-coast flights, red-eyes are mandatory. I'll have to try them if I ever do one again!

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    1. Yeah definitely! I hate them too but you're right, going from coast to coast it's sometimes necessary...plus it's so much cheaper sometimes! xo

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