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How To Stay Awake and Alert as an Airline Pilot

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Being an airline pilot is a potentially lucrative career, and it also allows pilots to see more of the world, if only in passing. It stands to reason, then, that many people would be interested in this line of work. However, pursuing this career path requires extensive training, first and foremost, as well as tending to other concerns. For example, a major responsibility for pilots is staving off exhaustion and staying alert. Here’s what you need to know about staying awake and alert on the job when flying a plane.

Staying Alert

Anyone who’s driven a car or studied to do so is most likely familiar with the phenomenon of highway hypnosis. Effectively, a long drive can make you sleepy and less alert, potentially ending with a total, albeit brief, loss of consciousness. The same principle applies to flying. It’s also potentially a greater problem when flying an aircraft thousands of feet in the air, and it’s ultimately far easier to fall victim to this phenomenon during a flight. This is because the origin of this problem is the monotony of driving, and skies are even less visually stimulating than roads. Staying alert is both a priority and a challenge, so you’ll need to prepare for this.

Getting Energy From Your Diet

One of the most fundamental ways to raise your energy level is with your diet. First and foremost, carbs give you energy. However, not all carbs are created equal. Simple carbs are absorbed quickly, giving your body a quick burst of energy, typically followed by a crash. Complex carbs, on the other hand, take longer to digest and absorb, giving you more time to burn that energy. On the other hand, dietary supplements can help you get more energy by giving you unbridled access to the vitamins and nutrients you need to stay energized. However, you should do some research into Thrive side effects, for example, in order to make sure the supplement will work as intended and not blindside you with unexpected downsides.

Sleeping Properly

Unsurprisingly, sleep plays a major role in your energy levels. What is surprising, however, is the requirements for effective sleep. While everyone is at least tangentially familiar with the idea that you need 8 hours of sleep each night, this is far from the whole story. First of all, 8 hours is not a hard and fast rule, and the official figure is actually anywhere from 7 to 9 hours.
Furthermore, the amount of sleep can vary from person to person. In addition to sleeping for a sufficient amount of time, it’s important to go to sleep at the same time of day each night and, likewise, wake up at the same time each day. This doesn’t have to be exact, but your body and brain need approximately 8 hours of sleep, followed by 16 hours of wakefulness, totaling 24 hours. Without a full day in between waking and sleeping, you’ll find yourself restlessly trying to fall asleep, and that restlessness will carry over into your sleep and even your dreams. This can negatively impact the quality of rest you get during the night, leading to sleepiness and grogginess the following day. Consistency is crucial.

Another surprising aspect of getting a good night’s sleep is that exercise is also important for a sound, restorative sleep. In addition to this, exercise can energize you in the short term, making a quick jog a great pick me up. Getting plenty of sleep on a consistent schedule and getting plenty of exercise are crucial for staying alert during the day, especially when working against highway hypnosis.

Airline pilots get to experience something fairly unique, and they get to travel for work. While this sounds like a dream come true, it’s not without its downsides. Piloting an aircraft is complicated and requires a ton of training, and even then, it’s difficult to avoid sleepiness looking at endless skies. With these tips in mind, you can stay energized for long flights.

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Updated 02-22-2021 at 11:41 AM by kevgardner83

Tags: pilot