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The long haul sleep/insomnia thread

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The long haul sleep/insomnia thread

Old 18th Nov 2018, 08:48
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The long haul sleep/insomnia thread

This is all about home sleep. Iím ignoring downroute sleep because thatís just a mess at the best of times.

Iíve been flying long haul for just about 4 years now. The biggest difficulty Iíve found is managing sleep when I get back home. Landing day I go straight to bed (luckily for me I have a fairly short commute). I sleep for about 2-3 hours and then in the evening I tend to go to bed around about 9-9:30. That night I tend to get fairly good sleep.

However the the next few nights no matter what I do I will always wake up at 2-3 am and struggle to get back to sleep properly (or at least well) and the next morning I tend to feel crap. Then itís back to work. Iíve got a Fitbit and ive noticed the days I feel less rubbish are the days I have more deep sleep (more than an hour).

Ive gone through all the usual stuff. No screen time in the hour before bed, just read a book. No caffeine after lunch. Iím pretty sure I donít suffer from depression. Iím at a bit of a loss really. At the start of my long haul career I really wasnít coping with sleep and ended up taking sleep aids (good ole CVS) but Iíve completely abandoned them and I am loathe to explore any other pharmaceutical remedies (not withstanding most of them negating the privileges of my class 1 medical).

So im going to start off by looking at the collective wisdom here. Oh and now sheís not staring over my shoulder her indoors snores so I often decamp to the spare room.
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Old 18th Nov 2018, 20:00
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I honestly have no advice. My sleep gets messed about enough as is. Although when I went onto HRT, that meant I finally slept through the night.
I am interested as I have to go to the US twice a year and it's the return disrupted sleep I'm keen to reduce.
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Old 19th Nov 2018, 15:03
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I really would like to offer my advice. But I am just too friggin tired!
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Old 19th Nov 2018, 16:21
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The only thing that really helped me was using nlp, accepting that there wasn't a lot that I could do about it, relaxing and getting what rest I could.
Best remedy was taking unpaid leave and decamping the family onto our yacht for a month.
Was part of the dormicom trial and wouldn't recommend it as felt knackered for a couple of days afterwards.
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Old 3rd Dec 2018, 20:33
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Iíve been flying long haul for over 20 years and often used to have this problem, particularly returning from a 4 day or longer west-coast US trip. Like you, I have a couple of hours sleep when I get home and then try to go to bed at a normal time, which for me would be not before 10pm.

I found where I was going wrong was sleeping for a lengthy period, in excess of 8 hours. Now I set the alarm to get 8 hours and then go for a run at some stage during the day, despite feeling like itís the last thing I want to do. It seems to work most of the time. Good luck!
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Old 3rd Dec 2018, 23:17
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My advise is to go back to short haul, your body will appreciate that.
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Old 4th Dec 2018, 10:13
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I have not had a serious problem so far, and I am no spring chicken.

I read a chapter of a novel in bed before sleep, which usually settles me. (An actual book, not a screen). If sleep doesn’t happen, I try another chapter or put my bedside radio, tuned to a quiet speech channel on a sleep timer of 15 mins. I have rigged up headphones for the television so Mrs Uplinker doesn’t disturb me. And, as you have tried, sleep in the spare room.

Try giving up caffeine altogether - I drink only decaff. Try only decaff for a month and see how you get on.

How fit are you? I ask because the folk at work who complain about not being able to change sleep patterns are almost universally fat and unfit. I don’t know if this is a causal factor, but as lekkerste says, going for a run once or twice a week seems to help. I also do daily press-ups and sit-ups and eat healthily. If your waist diameter is larger than your hip diameter, you probably need to cut out all sugar, eat much less carbs, and get toned up

Good luck !
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Old 7th Dec 2018, 10:04
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PS, I think there is caffeine in Coke, and there certainly is in all those ‘energy drinks’, so check the ingredients and avoid them like the plague.
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Old 7th Dec 2018, 13:08
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To be honest I run about 40k a week, never drink caffeine after lunch if Iím not flying and havenít touched an energy drink or Coca Cola in years.

I think setting ting the alarm 8 hours after going to bed would possibly be the way forward. At least worth a try.
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Old 7th Dec 2018, 22:29
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Mentioned everywhere I get the chance. Matthew Walker's Why We Sleep. If you think it sounds boring, think again. It's like reading a thriller. Some of the statistics are downright scary.

Zolpidem/Ambien. Very convenient and powerful sleeper. Never, ever, use the CR, (Controlled release) version. It's a killer.

If you think you can do with little sleep, think again. The research spans decades and is from top universities. Poo-poo it at your peril.

Things you never think of. Being tired on the road is much more dangerous than being under the influence. The statistics on this one are jaw-dropping. Drunk, you make slow decisions. During micro-sleeps, you don't make them at all.

Brain chemistry, healing, and general wellbeing. 7 to 9 hours. Just think, we had a PM that boasted 4 hours a night - and she had her finger on the big red button.
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Old 17th Dec 2018, 23:53
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For what it's worth (as anything is worth a try) I find camomile tea about 45 mins before bed helps me.

20 mins controlled rest in addition to any bunk time on any LH flight, but particularly an East of GMT return back to UK. Basically a power nap. I think this modestly lifts your circadian rhythm and makes the transition back to home base time less hard.

Going 75% pattern. Absolutely cast iron way to get on top of fatigue IMHO. Partly, I think it is psychological in that you can always see a week of downtime on your roster. Partly, physical, you will get 7 nights in your own bed to reset the internal clocks.

If I had my time again, I'd have gone PT 10 years ago and trimmed spending to suit. The improvement to my lifestyle far outweighed the loss of earnings.
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Old 18th Dec 2018, 00:09
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Originally Posted by Loose rivets View Post
Zolpidem/Ambien. Very convenient and powerful sleeper. Never, ever, use the CR, (Controlled release) version. It's a killer.
Avoid Zolpidem at all costs!

I got a prescription for them from my GP for a few weeks short term use. Long story short, 9 months down the line, I'm in the midst of a full blown Zolpidem addiction/habit that I just can't kick - only managed 2 or 3 nights out of the last 6 months without taking a Zolpidem (and there was usually alcohol involved there). All too convenient to just swallow a pill and be asleep within 15minutes.

(PS- forgot to add that I'm not involved in the aviation industry or 'position of responsibility at all anymore)
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