I Just Had the Best Night's Sleep of My Parenting Career ... on a Plane


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My 4-year-old doesn't sleep. And assuming you clicked on this story because of the headline, I'm going to guess your kid doesn't slide right into his or her bed -- and stay there all night -- either.

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In fact, sleep is such a precious commodity in my house that for our upcoming 10th wedding anniversary, I would happily forgo the traditional gift of jewelry from my husband for one uninterrupted night of slumber.

One. Damn. Night.

It's not like my husband is getting any rest either. We're both nightly recipients of the worst shiatsu massage ever -- with our youngest son's little feet restlessly jabbing us in the back, gut, head, etc., until the sun comes up.

It's unpleasant.

So when I decided to make the cross-country trip from our home in Los Angeles to the Women's March on Washington, I was determined to make that flight the best of my life. I was going to sleep. And I was going to sleep hard.

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My plan was to fly into New York and drive down to DC from there, using an extra day before the march to catch up with some of my friends and editors in Manhattan. I booked a red-eye with the sole purpose of sleeping the entire six hours. Yes, I know the recommendation is for more than that, but this would be a major improvement from what I had been logging on a per night basis.

With a full schedule of meetings the next day, there was no room for error. It's hard to get off a six-hour flight without looking like a hot mess unless you're a Kardashian rolling deep with a glam squad. All I had was a Drybar blowout and a dream.

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When I got to my gate I eyed the board suspiciously. My flight was 30 minutes delayed. Awesome. I would not be deterred. In full discretion, once they finally started boarding passengers and families needing extra time (for once, not me!), I popped a sleep aid prescribed by my doctor. I was downright giddy at the thought of my impending slumber but reminded myself to cool it. The excitement of sleep was not about to get in the way of actually achieving it.

I settled into my aisle seat next to a seemingly lovely man and his tween daughter. I didn't even bother to take off my giant puffer coat. It actually served as a lovely substitute for a down blanket and pillow (and I'm fairly certain the hood helped keep that blowout in check). Before I could even stress about whether or not my seatmates were going to need me to move throughout the flight for bathroom breaks, I was out like a light.

My eyes fluttered open once when a flight attendant gently asked if I wanted something to drink, but other than that, nada. Before the wheels went up I was sleeping peacefully and I didn't fully wake until they touched down in New York. In a word, it was amazing.

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I bounded off that airplane like I was queen of the world. It really is incredible what uninterrupted shut-eye can do for a person, even when sitting upright in coach overnight. I have never appreciated that cramped space so much in my life. I was a new woman, ready to take on the big city and, in a few days, the Capitol.

In fact, I felt so good that when I called my husband to let him know I had arrived safely, without skipping a beat I said, "I know what I want for our anniversary."

We're going to find the longest flight we can afford. And we're taking a red-eye.

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