I fly lots of redeyes from Los Angeles to New York (so I don't have to waste a day of travel), then go to work that morning. Here are my tips for maximizing my sleep so I'm not a zombie.
  1. Stay on East Coast time.
    Much easier to do if you're only going for the weekend. But the goal is to fall asleep as soon as you get on the plane. That way, when you land at 6 a.m. ET, it will feel early, but not middle of the night (3 a.m.) early.
  2. Use the restroom before takeoff.
    This is part of minimizing the likelihood you'll wake up.
  3. Fill your water bottle before takeoff.
    Bring an empty water bottle through security and fill it up at the water fountain. (Or buy one once you're through security.) If you wake up and are thirsty during the flight, you won't have to wait for a flight attendant to bring you a drink.
  4. Wear an eye mask. Put it on immediately.
    You're trying to create a dark, night time environment. That's particularly helpful if your seat mate turns on his or her overhead light.
  5. Get a window seat.
    This assumes you're not super tall, in which case an aisle seat is probably preferable. If you're in the window seat, you can lean your head against the wall and won't be bothered by other people in your aisle needing to go to the bathroom.
  6. Bring lots of extra clothing to stay warm.
    Most redeye flights give a blanket, but not all, and flights can get chilly. I keep a couple extra hoodies/jacket in the bag that goes under my seat. One of them I put over my face to further block out light.
  7. Turn off your phone and eliminate distractions.
    Planes that have their own TVs at each seat can be very tempting. Don't fall for it! Turn off your phone and don't start watching a show or playing a game in the theory you're just going to do it for 10 minutes.
  8. Try to get more than one seat.
    When you check in, see if there are any empty rows, and change seats accordingly.
  9. Get a seat with more legroom.
    Obviously, you can pay more to guarantee this, but otherwise when you check in, ask if they have any exit row seats available.
  10. Try to take a nap before work.
    If you take an early redeye that leaves around 9:30 p.m. and lands before 6 a.m., you may be able to take a nap before work. If not, go straight to work -- this may mean getting there early, but hopefully you will be able to also leave early.
  11. Caffeine. But not too late in the day.
    I don't drink coffee, but I treat myself to coffee candy the day arrive on a redeye. I try not to have it too late in the day such that I can't fall asleep at night.
  12. Don't make plans for the night you return.
    Go home after work and go to sleep early so you can catch up, since chances are you only got about 5 hours of sleep.