Not enough legroom. People climbing over you. Noise from movies and video games and screaming children. Sunlight pouring through your neighbor’s window at 35,000 feet. With all the distractions and hassles of air travel, sleeping on planes can sometimes feel impossible.
Being able to sleep on a plane can be the best way to pass the time on a long flight. When taking a night flight during your normal sleeping hours, sleeping on the plane can also help prevent jet lag after reaching your destination. However, the noise, sunlight and crowded space can make it difficult for you to sleep on a plane. Luckily, there are several steps you can take before your flight to ensure you get some rest in the air.
Here are ways on how to get the best sleep on a plane:
1. Score A Window Seat
If you can reserve a window seat, lean against and rest your head on the side of the plane. It's a lot easier than trying to fall asleep on a neck pillow while basically sitting upright. Bonus: You can also control your light exposure.
2. Bring A Neck Pillow, A Sleep Mask, Earplugs, And Compression Socks
Create a sleep kit for the plane that includes all of these items. The neck pillow will help support your neck, even in turbulence as you try to slumber in your seat, the sleep mask will block out any light that could keep you awake and the earplugs will reduce any noises around you. Earphones can also work to block out any surrounding noise on the plane and help you focus on sleep.
3. Cut Down On Your Carry-Ons
If you have two full-size carry-ons, one might end up under your feet, limiting your legroom and making it harder to sleep. Instead, pack lighter so you can fit everything into a single bag. Keep a few small necessities near the top of the bag — a book or magazine, a snack, a bottle of water. Before you stow your bag in the overhead compartment, pull out the important items that you’ll need during the flight and put them in the back of the seat in front of you.
4. Uncross Your Legs
When you cross your legs, you clamp down on one side, which could restrict blood flow and increase your chances of a blood clot if your flight is more than four hours. You can also torque your low back. Because your lower half is slightly twisted either to the right or left (depending on which leg you crossed), and your upper body is still facing straight ahead, you add a small amount of additional stress to your lumbar. If you fall asleep that way, you’ll likely wake up at some point and immediately cross your legs the other way because you’re subconsciously trying to even out that twist.
5. Wear Warm Clothing And Shoes You Can Slip On And Off
Dress for the plane in comfortable layers and be sure to always carry or wear a sweater as you may get cold on the flight due to inactivity and constant air circulation. You should also wear comfortable shoes you can take on and off easily. Taking your shoes off during the flight will improve your circulation and can help you fall asleep. If your feet tend to get cold on the plane, you should wear socks with your shoes or bring an extra pair of socks in your carry on.
6. Skip The Caffeine
Especially on a daytime flight, where even the view out the window can be a distraction, you’ll find it much harder to sleep if you have caffeine coursing through your veins. Avoid the temptation to have a cup of coffee or a soda before boarding and stick to water or juice when the drink cart comes around.
7. Have A Light Meal Before Your Flight
Don’t get stuck paying too much for a bland sandwich or a bag of chips during your flight. Airline food isn’t only expensive, it can cause indigestion and gas, which will make it more difficult to get some sleep. Instead, go for a light snack or meal before your flight that consists of easy to digest items like yogurt, nuts like raw almonds, and fruits like oranges, which are a good source of vitamin C and liquids.
8. Get A Little Creative
Here is where being short has its advantages. Curl up. You might get some weird looks, but it’ll be worth it. If you’re taller, lift both armrests and lean against the side of the plane. Put your pillow, scarf, sweatshirt, and whatever else you have you have that can serve as a cushion behind your back.
It is not always comfortable sleeping on a flight. But there are means that you can still get some sleep if you follow the tips. In this post, I shared with you tips on how to get the best sleep on a plane.
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