CRJ200 Airline Pilot

The personal experiences, thoughts of an CRJ captain

Perfect Nights Rest on Overnights

Posted by Jeffrey on September 8, 2008

Being an airline pilot is demanding. You keep odd hours, there are long days, extreme conditions, and practically a different hotel every night. It’s important to eat as well as you can, stay hydrated, exercise, and most importantly to sleep well.

There are several things you can do to ensure that you get a good nights rest in a hotel room:

1. Try to keep the noise level down. Difficult sometimes I know, that is why I always carry some earplugs with me. They should be soft so as to not distract you because they are uncomfortable. Mine always fall out sometime during the night but that’s OK. Getting to sleep is the difficult part most the time. Mine don’t block out all the noise but if filter’s it enough so that I can go to sleep.

2. Use “white noise.” The air conditioner is a good source of “white noise” most the time. There have been occasions that the air conditioning is too loud, in which case I immediately get another room. Your rest is too important to suffer through a noisy air conditioner.

If the air conditioner continually turns off and on, and quite noisily at that, you might want to consider setting it to the “fan” setting so that it never turns off. Part of the problem with this is that you aren’t always getting that “conditioned” air and that can make you uncomfortable.

3. Get your room DARK. Most hotels have very heavy curtains that block out a lot of light. The bigger and heavier, the better. I carry some clips with me to secure the curtains if I need to.

I was in a hotel the other night, and the light from underneath the door was so bright I had to put a towel down. It worked. My room was now very dark.

4. Keep your room ventilated. Not only does the air conditioner provide “white noise” it also helps keep the room ventilated and the air fresh. I prefer rooms where I can set the temperature using a digital thermostat. Somewhere between 68° F to 72° F is ideal for sleeping.

5. Don’t drink caffeinated drinks, alchohol, or exercise to close to bedtime.

6. Try to get seven to eight hours sleep. As a pilot I spend the night in many different time zones, but I always discipline myself to go to bed early enough to get the right amount of sleep. To do this I recommend a little stretching or yoga, meditation, and a good travel alarm clock. The stretching and yoga relaxes you and the alarm clock provides subconscious security that you will wake up on time. Recently I picked up the Seiko Global Atomic Travel Alarm Clock. It’s slim and inexpensive but has everything I want in a clock, especially temperature display.

Anyway, those are a few thoughts about sleeping that I use that I thought might be helpful.

Till next time…

P.S. To get some more ideas on how to sleep better, visit HELPGUIDE.org.

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