• 11 Apr, 2024
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Pilot Dad’s Self Care Travel Tips: Taking Flight On and Off the Ground

Guest Post By: Doyle Tonneson


As a Major Airline International Pilot, I have realized how much Americans love to explore unique cultures and traditions. Traveling is one of the greatest ways to do so. It comes with some cons, though, and travel plans can quickly be impaired if you have severe jet lag. From temporary sleep disorder to just the feeling of tiredness after a long plane journey, these are things you don’t want to experience when you plan on hitting the ground running and seeing new sites.

But, there’s good news. As an athletic #girldad who is always chasing around my dancing queen, I found myself missing a key ingredient to my fitness lifestyle. The key was gaining the knowledge of HEAT therapy and the benefits of an infrared sauna. I purchased a Sanctuary 3 Full Spectrum 3-Person Infrared Sauna from Clearlight and I can honestly say it’s been a game changer that I’ve implemented into my daily routine and pre/post trip regimen. I can relieve any discomforts of traveling and finish a long haul trip feeling refreshed, thanks to Clearlight.


Pilot Doyle Tonneson in Cockpit of Plane


Piloting Your Health with Self Care While Traveling


Better Mood

I’ve found that hot stimulation in a sauna can act as a mood enhancer and also promotes a feeling of contentment. My wife always jokes with me – anytime I get a little “moody” she tells me to “go sit in the sauna” – hahaha! That in and of itself says a lot about the experience, pleasure and overall well-being I get from my infrared. The calming effect reduces cortisol levels and positively impacts my mind and body.


Muscle Relief

As for flying internationally, 95 percent of my flights are 8+hours. Flying for this long can cause muscles to stiffen, poor circulation from long periods of sitting, and dehydration as a result of climbing and descending through different cabin pressure altitudes. Lengthy flights also add to joint and muscle spasm. For me, a hot sauna session is an excellent way to heal my sore body parts. I make it a priority when returning home from a trip to always get in a sauna session for at least 30 mins before I tackle my “Honey Do” list.


Improved Sleep

Another benefit I’ve found within a few sessions is how much better I’m sleeping. Jet lag is no joke and causes a mismatch between your daily ‘rhythm’ and a new time zone (sometimes 5-7 hour time zone changes within one sequence) – so  I’m always at risk for this to have a potential impact on my mental performance. This psychological condition can cause disturbed sleep. As a pilot, we have strict guidelines on what we can and cannot take during duty so I cannot and do not take any medication or sleeping aids.

I now rely on my sauna to help combat insomnia. And, I’ve found the infrared heat automatically increases my melatonin production – a sleep-inducing hormone which helps me doze away faster than usual when I am resting between flights. And, this offers a much milder therapy than medicines and is something that won’t jeopardize my career.


Pilot Doyle Tonneson’s Clearlight Infrared Sauna Setup


The Key Components to a Healthy Lifestyle


These infrared sauna sessions are powerful to me and also help mitochondria reach my body at a cellular level. I can truly say that my sauna sessions pre and post-flight are the best approaches to boosting stamina and energy – not to mention just sweating out all the toxins I’ve picked up along the route. Without a doubt this has been the best investment to date.

For me, I have always said there are three key components to a healthy lifestyle:

  1. Nutrition
  2. Exercise
  3. Sleep

And, I’ve now added a 4th must – heat therapy. It’s really just as important as the first three. And, an added bonus, my wife, Josie Tonneson, has joined me in our Sanctuary and she’s feeling better than she ever has. Together, we are getting to instill this practice with my daughter (8 years old) as she watches my every step into the sauna and I know it’s molding into her what a healthy lifestyle should be.

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