The Search for Sleep On Lengthy Flights


長途飛行難成眠


By Joe Sharkey



After the subject of poor airline service is exhausted, sleep, or the difficulty of getting enough of it, is what frequent business travelers talk about most.
將差勁的航空公司服務嫌到沒力之後- 經常出差的人聊最多的話題是在飛機- 睡覺,或在飛機上要睡到飽有多難。-


Once in an airport bar, a senior oil field worker, who traveled constantly, described to me his predicament on an 18-hour nonstop trip to Asia.
有次在一個機場吧台,經常旅行的一- 油田高級職員,向我大吐有次花18小- 直飛亞洲的苦水。


“I watched two movies, slept for five hours, ate three meals, got drunk twice, and I still wasn’t there, plus I had a hangover when I did get there,” he said wearily.
他不勝疲累地說:「我看了兩部電影- 睡了五個鐘頭、吃了三頓、醉了兩次- 結果還沒到目的地,真的抵達時,還- 外帶宿醉。」


That can’t be the right way to handle those increasingly long flights many people are taking. So I sought out some experts.
許多人搭機的時間越來越長,這絕非- 確的因應之道。所以我請教了專家。


“Your reaction time, your mood, your vigilance, your memory, your executive functioning are all affected adversely by not sleeping enough or having sleep that’s fragmented by having to wake up and start breathing again,” said Dr. Barbara Phillips, a professor of medicine at the University of Kentucky and medical director of the university’s Good Samaritan Health Care Sleep Laboratory.
肯塔基大學醫學教授與該校「好撒馬- 亞人醫療睡眠實驗室」醫學主任芭芭- ‧菲利普說:「睡眠不足,或是必須- 醒來換氣而導致睡眠斷斷續續時,對- 的反應時間、情緒、警覺性、記憶、- 行能力都有負面影響。」


Apnea, an ailment in which sleep is interrupted when the breathing passage constricts, is one of the major problems turning up in sleep medicine, said Dr. Phillips.
菲利普說,睡眠呼吸中止症,一種呼- 道阻塞造成睡眠中斷的疾病,是睡眠- 學一大明顯問題。


Another is jet lag, when the body’s biological clock does not correspond with local time – though travelers are far less likely to seek medical attention for that.
另一個問題是時差,身體的生理時鐘- 當地的時間不合。不過,很少旅客因- 時差就醫。


Many business travelers try to deal with jet lag and the difficulty of sleeping on planes by taking prescription medications like Ambien, whose generic name is zolpidem.
許多商務旅客會試圖使用處方藥,如- 名為佐沛眠的安眠藥Ambien,解決時差- 飛機上睡不好的問題。


Dr. Phillips cautions that its effects can last seven hours, creating a potential problem “when you’re on a five-hour flight to Atlanta.”
菲利普警告說,Ambien的藥效可持續七- 時,飛亞特蘭大只要五小時,服用可- 就會出問題。


Greg Belenky, director of the Sleep and Performance Research Center at the University of Washington, approves of the judicious use of medications like Ambien. He disapproves of alcohol as a sleep inducer on long flights.
華盛頓大學睡眠與表現研究中心主任- 雷格‧貝蘭奇贊成審慎服用Ambien這類- 藥物。他不主張長途飛行時藉由飲酒- 入眠。


“It’s more trouble than it’s worth,” he said. “Any alcohol will tend to disrupt sleep later in the evening.”
他說:「這樣做得不償失。任何酒精- 更晚時都可能打斷睡眠。」


One option, he said, is melatonin, a supplement available in health food stores, to mimic “a hormone that’s normally secreted in phase with the circadian rhythm when you’re in the dark and sleeping.”
他說,在健康食品店買得到的營養補- 品褪黑激素是選擇之一,它會模仿「- 種按照晝夜律動,正常時在黑暗與睡- 眠時才會分泌的荷爾蒙。」


Air travelers who suffer from sleep apnea can carry CPAP (for continuous positive airway pressure) machines, which have become more portable.
患有睡眠呼吸中止症的飛機旅客,可- 攜帶已變得更方便攜帶的正壓呼吸輔- 器CPAP(連續式正壓呼吸輔助)。


“The machines have shrunk by a third in size in the last few years,” said Johnny Goodman, co-founder (with his father, John Goodman) of CPAP.com, a retailer of portable medical devices to treat sleep apnea.
販售治療睡眠呼吸中止症攜帶型醫療- 置的零售商CPAP.com 的共同創辦人強尼‧古德曼說:「這- 機器這幾年來縮小了三分之一。」他- 父親約翰‧古德曼共同創辦公司。


The devices work like a reverse vacuum cleaner, pumping air through a hose and mask to keep breathing passages open during sleep.
這部機器就像是依反向原理運作的吸- 器,靠一根管子與面罩將空氣唧入,- 使用者在睡眠時,保持呼吸道暢通。-


I used to associate the symptoms of sleep apnea with comedy movies from the 1930s and ’40s. You know, the rumbling snore followed by comic blubbering and sudden cessation of breath.
睡眠呼吸中止症的症狀,總讓我聯想- 一九三○與四○年代的喜劇電影。你- 道的,就是鼾聲雷動後,接下來是滑- 稽的嗚咽聲,然後突然呼吸中斷。


“It’s actually not funny,” Dr. Phillips said. Sleep apnea, often the consequence of obesity but many times not, can have a long-term effect on the heart, but also creates short-term problems, including those facing business travelers.
菲利普說:「其實這件事並不好笑。- 通常由肥胖引起,但許多時候不是睡- 呼吸中止症,不僅對心臟有長期影響- ,還會製造短期問題,包括商務旅客- 現的問題。


As international air travel expands and nonstop routes become longer – some are 18 hours and more – sleep scientists are working with the airlines and regulatory authorities on fatigue management for airplane crews.
隨著國際空中旅行擴大,直飛航線越- 越長,有些甚至達到18個小時或更長- 睡眠學家正與航空公司與管理當局合- ,協助解決航空公司機組人員的疲勞- 管理問題。


As for passengers, all the prescriptions and proscriptions aside, one bit of advice here still holds. Business travelers dispatched by their companies on long airplane trips ought to fly in a degree of comfort.
至於乘客方面,除了規定及禁止事項- 外,有一項建議仍然適用。奉公司之- 出差的商務旅客,在飛長途時,應該- 享有某種程度的舒適。


Coach seats make sleep difficult. “It’s a problem sleeping upright,” Dr. Belenky said. “The flatter you can get, the better you’ll sleep. When sleeping upright in a tight seat,” he said, “the body has to push out adrenaline-like compounds to keep the blood flow to the brain adequate.”
飛機座椅並不好睡。貝蘭奇說:「直- 睡覺是個問題。躺得愈平,睡得愈好- 在硬梆梆的座椅上直立著睡,身體必- 須分泌更多的類腎上腺素化合物,才- 維持血液正常流向腦部。」


Dr. Phillips added: “My God, when I went to Australia, I took Ambien, melatonin and red wine. And I kind of did have a hangover when I got there. It’s hard to sleep on airplanes. The best treatment is to fly business class – and you can quote me on that.”
菲利普說:「我的天。我飛澳洲時,- 了安眠藥、褪黑激素,又喝了紅酒。- 達那裡時,還真有點宿醉的感覺。飛- 機上很難睡著。最好的方法是坐商務- 。沒錯,這是我說的。」

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