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Resting/Sleeping on Transatlantic Flights

Would it be okay to take a Sominex or a Tylenol PM or even some Benadryl during a transatlantic flight to help you relax and perhaps get a nap? Or does this screw your system up and exacerbate jet lag?

Posted by
4125 posts

The conventional wisdom is that anything like that in your system will prolong jet lag, which is not the same thing as just being tired. See the jet-lag graffiti wall on this site. You may have a good experience with it though.

Posted by
2779 posts

Donna, I have tried Tylenol PM from a flight from Chicago to Frankfurt and for some reason it didn't really work. Ever since I've been having a few glasses of (red) wine with my dinner on board and find it very easy to get a couple of hours of good rest. But generally speaking a sleeping aid won't add anything to mess to your system the jetlag brings anyway.

Posted by
800 posts

Donna - what has worked us is: everyone wakes up VERY early day of the flight and has a normal day. On board we often don't eat the dinner meal, or just eat a little bit if it comes pretty quickly. We then take drugs - each one of us, including my children as young as 9. Son takes Benadryl, daughter takes Dramamine (regular, not non-drowsy), I take Xanax (I am afraid to fly but have no trouble sleeping anywhere if I am relaxed), and my husband takes Ambien.

My husband has trouble sleeping anyway. He has tried everything over the years-doing nothing, a glass of wine, TylenolPM, Xanax - without any relief. If he gets little or no sleep on the plane it really hurts him for the next 2 days. After being prescribed the Ambien, he tested it at home to see what it was like. First time he tried it on a flight it made all the difference in the world. We all have an active first day and wake up normally and feel great on day 2. Be sure to test drugs out first at home but we swear by them!

Posted by
5367 posts

Try them out at home, if they help, then they most likely will help on the plane. I find, more important for me, is that once I land, force yourself into the local pattern. We get right out and have an active afternoon and evening, walking outside, lots of fresh air. Then a good meal and another walk, heading to bed 10-11:00 PM local time. We usually sleep well, getting up early and going again. We also resist any urges for naps for the next few days, for us it disturbs our night sleep and prolongs the jet lag.

Posted by
1555 posts

Tylenol PM is my home drug of choice but has absolutely no impact on in-flight sleep. I concur testing stuff out at home, no need to have a medical emergency on your hands, especially on the way to a fun vacation! Last overseas trip I got up progressively earlier for the 2 weeks before the trip (adjusted to E. Coast time from W. Coast), dozed on the plane, went for a long walk outside (afternon arrival time) and went to bed early-ish (7 p.m.). Woke up like normal with the sun and had no trouble at all.