But I used to sleep like a baby
February 4, 2014 1:31 PM   Subscribe

I'm a relatively experienced air traveler and usually have no trouble napping on flights. But recently on the return leg of two trips I've experienced a dizzying, discombobulating roar in my ears when I drift from closed eyes to semi-sleep. The first time I just curled up and persevered, but my sleep quality was very poor and, more importantly, the experience left me dizzy for days afterwards. So the second time I forced myself to stay awake, but I'm wondering if anyone else has experienced the same feeling. If so, what have you done to combat/prevent it?
posted by serelliya to Health & Fitness (4 answers total) 1 user marked this as a favorite
Did you have a cold? Blocked sinuses and air travel don't mix very well.
posted by redlines at 1:40 PM on February 4, 2014

I travel extensively for work and find this happens when I am dehydrated, especially if I have a glass of wine before the flight. I get this dizzy/vertigo feeling which turns into nausea if I don't load up on water before a flight. Has your water in take/alcohol in take before flying changed?
posted by Suffocating Kitty at 1:42 PM on February 4, 2014

I get the dizziness/roar all the time. Usually it is because of junk in my ear canal that is irritating the lining and causing a buildup of wax. The pressure of the airplane makes this worse. This is what helps me:

Mix rubbing alcohol and vinegar in a 1:1 solution, pour in your ear, lay on your side or tilt your head so that it stays in your ear for about 5 minutes. Rinse with warm (NOT COLD!!) water. Put your hair dryer on the lowest, coolest setting, hold it at arm's length from your ear and dry it out.

Obviously, this is not practical on the plane, but it may help before or after.

Also, don't use cotton swabs in your ear - some gunk may come out, but you're also pushing some in as well as irritating your ear canal. It's counterproductive. Rinse your ears out in the shower on a daily basis (again, never with cold water).
posted by desjardins at 1:52 PM on February 4, 2014 [1 favorite]

I don't know if this is helpful but the "discombobulating roar" in your ears sometimes happens to me when I suffer from sleep paralysis.
posted by drunkonthemoon at 4:45 AM on February 5, 2014

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