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3 Tips for Getting Enough Sleep On The Plane

My husband is mostly interested in saving us a few extra bucks for traveling around when we go on vacation, and he will frequently book us into the sort of flights we could just about have withstood as 20-somethings, but which are arduous adventures for people in their late 50s/early 60s and up... you know, you end up having to deboard and reboard several planes, slump around airports, and generally spend more hours getting to and from than what our ancestors did when they hitched up the old Red River Cart. But there is an opportunity to actually do some sleeping on one or more of the legs of the journey. It seems to be my job to maximize that event.

Here are some tips for getting a good rest on a plane trip:
(1) You can no longer take bottles of essential oils on the plane with you, but you can take a couple of cotton balls saturated with your favorite oils in a baggie or, better yet, a eyeglass case (take the glasses out, though-- essential oils can do the glass damage). Chamomile and Lavender are great for encouraging relaxation and rest. (Hint: only use therapeutic grade, preferrably organically grown, essential oils so you don't end up breathing in solvents and additive chemicals that inexpensive oils might contain).
(2) Skip heavy meals. Don't snack in the airports between flights. Hydrate with pure water. Munch on a piece of fresh organic fruit if you're hungry. Pack a couple of healthy snacks. (One of our recent flights did not include any meals-- a snack wasn't even offered. I drooled when I noticed a woman across the aisle eating something she had brought on with her). You WILL rest better with less food to digest.
(3) Hand reflexology is a very soothing and relaxing exercise, and can be done simply in an airplane seat (unlike foot reflexology or chiropractory... well, you get it). Here is a set of instructions from ehow.com:
Step 1

Relax the hand by holding the wrist and moving it gently around in a circle.

Step 2

Place your thumb on top of the opposite hand. Massage the fleshy part beneath the thumb. This will help to relax the spine.

Step 3

Flip over the hand and use the thumb from the opposite hand and walk your thumb up to the top of the palm. Make seven to nine rows up and down. This will relieve tendsion in the neck, spine, shoulders, and organs.

Step 4
Place the hand flat on a table. Using the opposite hand, work the thumb over the wrist to energize your whole body.

Step 5
Keep your hand flat on the table and work the thumb side of the wrist with the finger tips of the opposite hand. This will relax the lower back muscles.

Step 6

Still keeping your hand flat on the table work the thumb with the opposite hands pointer finger. This releases neck tension.
Step 7

Now take your hand off of the table. Using the opposite hand press your thumb into the palm an inch below the second and third finger. Gently rock the fingers on the hand you were resting on the table. This will provide overall relaxation.

There are many other methods and techniques that can be used, but if you try each of these and achieve some peace and serenity, you will feel much better during the time that many others are doing their "jet lag".

*Image of sleeping lions is courtesy of Mary-Anne v d byl
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