Recovering…From a Red Eye

Just got home from Hawaii early this morning.   There aren’t a lot of choices if one wants a non stop flight from the big island to LA, so we opted for the red eye.

I can honestly say I feel more worked and sore from that than I do from the race itself!

It’s not like a journey to Europe where you have a sleeper seat.  Nope, no matter how much leg room you may have, or how little, it’s simply a very uncomfortable experience, often resulting in very, very minimal, if any sleep.

We arrived at about 5:30 this morning, headed home, showered and straight to bed for at least a little bit of sleep.

How does one recover?

Not by drinking copious amounts of coffee and sugary breakfast foods, even though the lack of sleep can easily skew one’s judgement and make that seem like an option at the time.

Ultimately, you’re just going to have to catch up on the sleep you missed, but in the interim, just to get through that day, following are a few things that might help.

  • Before the flight itself, don’t make the mistake of drinking two, three or four alcoholic beverages, thinking it will ‘relax you into a stupor’.  Don’t confuse passing out from booze with falling asleep.  Even though you may, in fact, fall asleep, it’s poor quality; even poorer than what you’d get because you’re on the plane anyway!
  • Try to make the best of a not so great situation.  Wear an eye mask to block out the light and listen to white noise using good quality headset.
  • Ask for some extra pillows to at least make an attempt to keep your body in the least assaulting position possible on those extremely un-ergonomic airline seats.
  • Hydrate really well and if you can’t sleep, get up often to stretch and walk a little.
  • As far as ‘taking something’; be careful here, too.  Even natural supplements can sometimes have ill effects. I find that when I’ve tried melatonin, I wake quite groggy.
  • When you arrive, if you are hungry, go for protein and fat, not sugar and caffeine.  If you’re not, keep downing the water and get home.
  • If you’re heading straight to a meeting, keep the theme of eating properly and staying hydrated all day and do your best to get an early night that evening.
  • Add even more fresh leafy greens and good fats to help your immune system stay strong after the lack of sleep will likely compromise it, at least a little.
  • Get some motion in!  Even walking will help work out the kinks from the stuffy cabin and excessive sitting.

It’s not fun, it’s not comfortable but if we make the best choices around an uncomfortable journey, at least we can get over it more quickly!