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Doctor's Orders: Relax, Don't Work

Next time you fly, you have the best excuse to turn off your work laptop.  Experts say you are better off settling in with a drink and an in-flight movie.

Traveling by plan can make it more difficult to think.  That is the latest findings by Britain's foremost aviation doctor.

Professor David Gradwell says fliers should sit back and relax rather than keep busy by doing puzzles or catching up on work.


Well, he says it's because the air pressure on board planes is lower than it is at sea level, making it harder for the brain to make use of oxygen in the air.  Therefore, the brain's performance level is diminished. 

When a plane is cruising at 40,000ft, the air pressure in the cabin will be equal to that found outside at 6,000 to 8,000ft. 

What does this mean exactly?  Well, according to Professor Gradwell, learning is a bit impaired at 8,000ft.  Basically, you don't want to make the biggest decision of your life. 

There is a catch though.  If you regularly do a task, the change in air pressure won't really affect you on this task.  This explains why commercial pilots' thinking is not impaired.  They get used to carrying out tasks in a simulator at ground levels before carrying them out during a flight.

So before settling into work, think twice before hitting send on that email.



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