Monday, August 14, 2017

The best ways to sleep on a plane

The best ways to sleep on a plane

So, you’ve just booked a dream vacation but you’re dreading the long hours in a cramped seat, the lack of legroom, people climbing past you, noises from talking passengers, screaming children and a myriad of other distractions and hassles that come with air travel. It’s no wonder getting some shut eye on a flight seems impossible. It can be cinch if say you were flying on a short flight from Kuala Lumpur to Langkawi but those long haul flights can be a nightmare, especially if you are flying solo. It’s like a game of roulette, holding your breath every time a potential seat mate walks down the aisle. 

Even if you get lucky with nice seat partners, there is a zero percent chance of getting much sleep unless you can magically contort yourself into a pretzel every time they need to use the bathroom or get something from the overhead carriage. This can lead to exhaustion and several nights of trying to catch up on sleep when you arrive at your final destination. Here are few things you can do help you get some rest on a long flight. Happy travels!

Choose a window seat

If you are checking in online before your flight, reserve a window seat and if you are getting your boarding pass at the airport, request for one. You’ll be able to lean and rest your head on the side of the plane, which is easier that trying sleep on a neck pillow. The best part of a window seat is, only you have to get up when you need to go to the bathroom. You can also control your light exposure. If you can, pick a window seat that is on the same side you sleep on at home. But if you happen to get a window seat on the left side of the plane is a good thing too. The windows are usually off center compared to the right side, which makes cozying up against that side of the plane a lot easier. 

Wear comfortable clothes

Pick out your coziest sweater, your favorite super soft faded t-shirt and make yourself feel at home as much as possible. When you’re in the midst of 200 people, trapped in a metal cylinder 38,000 feet up in the air, those comfy sweatpants instead of tight jeans make a ton of difference. No cute outfit will still look cute after 15 hours on a plane. But if you insist on looking fancy at the airport, throw a pair of sweatpants in your carry on and as soon as the captain turns off the “fasten seatbelt” light, head the bathroom and change. While you’re there, you could remove your makeup as well and apply lots of moisturizer to give your skin a rest. 

Get creative

Those U-shaped neck pillows provide a decent amount of support for your neck. If you don’t have one, bring a really big scarf or thick sweater so that you can use it as a cushion behind your back. For a little extra help, spritz your creative “pillows” with a calming lavender essential oil for relaxation and for blocking out other unpleasant airplane smells. You can ask the flight attendant for a couple of extra airplane pillows and wedge them between the seat’s adjustable headrest to keep your head from rolling around and jerking you awake. 

Power Down

Clearly, light exposure doesn’t help if you’re trying to sleep. This also applies to the light produced by the seatback TV screens, mobile phones, tablets or laptops. According to experts who specialize in sleep, electronic screens are similar to sunlight, so if you’re looking at that right before bed, you’re suppressing melatonin release and putting yourself in a sluggish coma. These lights send signals to your brain that just makes it more awake. One of the best ways to sleep on a plane is to get some noise-cancelling earphones and choose relaxing music instead of the movies that are available on the in flight entertainment. Earphones and eyemasks also act a polite signal to a talkative seatmate to let you get some shut eye. 

Skip Alcohol

It’s hard to resist alcohol, especially if you’re on vacation, but booze won’t help you sleep soundly, contrary to popular belief. Experts say that alcohol may initially promote sleep, but it’s typically only in effect for three to four hours and then you can’t go back to sleep. You also may wake up with a headache because you are dehydrated which will make you want more water. That means going to the bathroom more often and that will disrupt your sleep. Try to avoid coffee, tea and soda as these beverages are dehydrating too. 

Don’t Eat Too Much

Among the many ways to sleep on a plane, watching what you eat is one of the most important. Avoid eating a full meal within two hours of trying to sleep. According to experts, overeating or having fatty foods might make you feel uncomfortable and make it more difficult to fall asleep. Eating a big meal high in fat, makes your heart pump more blood to your stomach and intestines and can also lead to changes that cause blood clots, something you want to avoid on a long flight. Keep some chamomile tea in your carry-on bag and stick to healthy, sleep inducing snacks like almonds and bananas while you’re at the airport. 

Goodnight, and good flight!

If you’re thinking of travelling solo, check out our next article to give yourself some reasons to do so at

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