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Why do people sleep on planes?

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Warks

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I mean in daylight on short haul flights, not red-eye or otherwise.

I flew SYD-AKL this week at 945AM and many people on the plane were spread out sleeping across seats (it wasn't full). Don't these people sleep at night?

I often fly other domestic routes and if I walk down to the back to enjoy the perfume room I often see at least 20% of people are asleep.

It's extremely rare for me to fall asleep for more than a moment on anything but an overnight flight. I do wonder how people do it.
 

Ansett

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I mean in daylight on short haul flights, not red-eye or otherwise.

I flew SYD-AKL this week at 945AM and many people on the plane were spread out sleeping across seats (it wasn't full). Don't these people sleep at night?

I often fly other domestic routes and if I walk down to the back to enjoy the perfume room I often see at least 20% of people are asleep.

It's extremely rare for me to fall asleep for more than a moment on anything but an overnight flight. I do wonder how people do it.
Perhaps these people awoke at some ungodly hour to get to the airport to check in on time and maybe they had combined it with a late night of fun dancing and frivolity :)
 

blackcat20

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Perhaps these people awoke at some ungodly hour to get to the airport to check in on time and maybe they had combined it with a late night of fun dancing and frivolity :)
Or they've connected from a long haul flight and had a rough night...
 

deejo77

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Or they are on a DSC run and have flown 4 sectors in the last 24hrs and that little bit of shut eye makes a huge difference when they get home and their kids want to play and they don't realise you are tired from flying
 

ukh

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There are a lot of people who are chronically fatigued but normally have no opportunity to catch up on sleep - this is their chance
 

GaryBne

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I'm not coming down on either side: Sleeping in public seems ... inappropriate to me but then again I too have had a nap ...

So let's see - a 9:45 am flight. Check in 90 minutes before, arrive 30 minutes before that, travel 60 minutes from home, shower breakfast 60 minutes so my alarm is set for 5:30 that is early for me, given I was probably up late last night getting ready.

So the trip to the airport , check in , customs , immigration was a little bit stressful, a little taxing.

Then I get to relax, comfy chair, a meal or snack .. then I am taken up to say 9,000 feet. ( inside cabin air pressure equivalent) At that level the air pressure is 72 kPa, which equates to 30% less oxygen. ( Not my expertise guys - so please correct me if needs be)

in any case - all of that sounds soporific to me.

(if nothing else - my post should put some readers to sleep ...)
 

Moopere

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It's extremely rare for me to fall asleep for more than a moment on anything but an overnight flight. I do wonder how people do it.
Ex Army here - and even though its been decades some habits you never seem to break - when there is nothing better to do _always_ take the opportunity to get some sleep :) I'm usually asleep before we even take off ... night/day doesn't matter. The only reason I'll wake up usually is another ex-army thing (heheehe), the only thing better then sleep is food.
 

MEL_Traveller

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I mean in daylight on short haul flights, not red-eye or otherwise.

I flew SYD-AKL this week at 945AM and many people on the plane were spread out sleeping across seats (it wasn't full). Don't these people sleep at night?

I often fly other domestic routes and if I walk down to the back to enjoy the perfume room I often see at least 20% of people are asleep.

It's extremely rare for me to fall asleep for more than a moment on anything but an overnight flight. I do wonder how people do it.
It's a whole combination of factors - as outlined in the previous answers.

A power nap - even just an hour, can make a huge difference to jet-lag or the after effects of a big night.

Plus, importantly, there are fewer distractions... no phones or email.

How to fall asleep? Life of Pi was my favourite for a few months. I've started to watch it seven times and each time fell asleep out of sheer boredom after 10 minutes. Totally disappointed when it was taken off standard IFE on board.

I hear the new Grace of Monaco film will be a good substitute.
 

burmans

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It's a whole combination of factors - as outlined in the previous answers.

A power nap - even just an hour, can make a huge difference to jet-lag or the after effects of a big night.

Plus, importantly, there are fewer distractions... no phones or email.

How to fall asleep? Life of Pi was my favourite for a few months. I've started to watch it seven times and each time fell asleep out of sheer boredom after 10 minutes. Totally disappointed when it was taken off standard IFE on board.

I hear the new Grace of Monaco film will be a good substitute.
Pretty much that, I don't sleep well on planes (except premium cabins) but if I am tired and can catch a nap, I'll go for it.
 

kyle

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For some reason, I feel very sleepy during taxi and ascent, but once it's cruising, I'm wide awake.
 

Aussie_flyer

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I am a night shift worker so I've been known to doze off on a flight like that, sometimes I've come straight to the airport after finishing work at 7 in the morning.

What I didn't get though was on a 45 minute sector the other day, DOH-AUH people moving to a spare row and getting some shut eye spread over 3 seats when the seatbelt sign was off for less than 20 minutes. That is NOT worth it
 

serfty

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For some reason, I feel very sleepy during taxi and ascent, but once it's cruising, I'm wide awake.
I often do similar - pondering why over a decade ago I eventually reasoned that it's basically 'cause there is little to do; the seatbelt sign is on, often no IFE at that stage and *bingo* - one drifts off to sleep.

Many a time I have been jolted to alertness by the general noise, vibration etc. that occurs then the tires touch down.

Or they've connected from a long haul flight and had a rough night...
This would be the most likely scenrio, I think :)
Sure - that was me on a 7:45am SYD-MEL flight yesterday, after having touched down from LAX shortly after 6am. (Although VA PE in row 11 with a shadow seat beside you hardly makes for a 'rough night'.)
 

seanpodge

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I'm not coming down on either side: Sleeping in public seems ... inappropriate to me but then again I too have had a nap ...
But an airplane at about 35,000 ft doesn't feel like a public space in the same way as a train or bus does.

There are other reasons too. As you mentioned, some have to do with all the pre boarding experience, which can be pretty tedious and tiring, especially if there's no lounge to retreat to. It also feels a lot more secure on a plane than on a train or bus. People seem a lot more trusting with their belongings on planes, which probably has something to do with the lack of easy escape from a plane that's 35,000 ft up. Re: sleeping on short haul flights, these flights are mainly on small planes that don't have the distractions such as AVOD that can keep one up. If you don't have any urgent work to attend to before you land, then the flight time for most is dead time, so sleeping is probably one of the more efficient things you can do, really.

As long as the stranger next to me hasn't got me confused with a pillow, then my only feeling is jealousy. I've only managed to get an hour or two of sleep in Y after taking a few cans of "liquid sleeping pills". ;)
 

Duffa

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Slightly OT, but I was thinking about posting why I always feel a bit jaded on arrival at SIN or LHR etc. I often get a little bit of shut-eye but I wonder if it might have something to do with the lashings of Krug and other assorted liquid treats that SQ insist on giving me?!
Has any drinker ever flown long-haul without alcohol? Do you wake up feeling different than when you do consume?
I'm afraid I'm not willing to try this myself - it seems like such a waste.

p.s. I don't want any condescending diatribes from teetotallers! Remember, non-drinkers. When you wake up, that's the best you're going to feel all day!!
 

RooFlyer

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Gawd, what I would give to have the ability to drift off when sitting upright, day flight or night flight. Never, ever done it.

Now I do have the privilege of J and a lay-flat at night, and I can still only get snatches of sleep over a 14 hour flight
 

JohnK

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Tiredness? Some people cannot sleep from anxiety when they are about to go on holidays.

Gawd, what I would give to have the ability to drift off when sitting upright, day flight or night flight. Never, ever done it.<br>
It is a blessing.
 

RailFlyer

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If you can pull off sleeping in a Y seat, why not. You can dream you are in F.

My standard operating procedure for business trips to Melbourne from Auckland is to catch the 6am flight. I stay up until midnight the night before (pretty normal for me anyway) and then am up at 3:30 to head for the airport. By the time my **** hits the uncomfortable Y seat I am already asleep. If I manage it perfectly I only wake up when the wheels hit the ground in Melbourne. I can then be in the office for 9:30 and get 1 or 2 days full work, before leaving on a 6pm flight and being home by 1am. Perfect. Interestingly though I can never sleep on the way home, even though I am often more tired.

I just wish there was a rule that the cabin lights and blinds were to be left dimmed/down for all flights and you can switch your light on or look out of your window if you want to as an exception. I am sure they can do the meal service under the dim lights.

I am concerned however that one day when I wake up by the shock of the plane (heavy) landing I may have a heart attack. Pretty sure that is not the way evolution planned for my body to be brought out of a deep sleep.
 

Grooba

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I'll drift off to sleep at any time of day once on board - with young kids who keep you up all night, jumping onto a plane is a godsend and opportunity to catch up on some well deserved shut eye.
 
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