10 Expert Tips to Sleep Better on Flights

In the past year alone, I’ve flown eight long-haul flights of about 10 hours each. I have tried and tested many ways to get the rest I need to kick into gear once I land.

Finding it difficult to fall asleep on a plane isn’t uncommon. No matter how comfortable you get, simply closing your eyes sometimes won’t suffice. There are so many factors that can hinder your sleep on an airplane, from the flight attendants and other passengers to the turbulence on airplanes.

Despite this, many travel experts and medical professionals have gone into depth about how best to approach sleeping on a plane. Here are some of their most effective tips.

1. Choose your seat wisely

The Entrepreneur Magazine states that choosing your seat is like deciding which side of the bed you’re most comfortable on. If you sleep on the right side of your bed, pick a seat on the right side of the plane, and visa versa.

In addition, if you choose a window seat you will tend to sleep more soundly as you have control of the light from the window and won’t be affected by the flight attendants and fellow passengers that pass up and down the aisle.

2. Take melatonin

Although taking sleeping aids are generally not promoted by medical experts, some consider melatonin the exception to the rule. It’s a hormone that induces deep sleep, which can be taken in the lead up to your flight. Ideally begin taking it three days prior to leaving, because it takes time to reach various parts of the body.

3. Turn off the TV or your phone

Turning off the TV or any other digital screen will help you sleep faster and better. The light they emit can distract you even when your eyes are closed. The visual stimuli from the screens also keep the brain alert, stopping you entering a relaxed state of mind. Equally, phone screens are also distracting, not to mention that they’re supposed to be inactive during the flight.

4. Listen to Music

Listening to music will keep your mind calm and undisturbed as well. It helps decrease stress, allowing the brain to have an easier time to fall asleep. Although slow and soothing music is recommended, the effectiveness of different genres is still subject to personal preference.

5. Avoid Coffee and Alcohol

Leesa advises against coffee and alcohol while flying because both are likely to keep your body from sleeping soundly. As difficult as it may be, sleeping during a flight is necessary to ensure that you have plenty of energy when you land, especially if you’re crossing time zones. Consuming too much coffee and alcohol will only make you feel groggy when you finally land.

6. Stretch Your Legs

The need to stretch especially if you’re on a long haul flight is of paramount importance. Stretching or taking a little walk along the aisle will increase the blood flow to the muscles and will reduce the chances of cramp and muscle tightness.

7. Dress Comfortably

Yahoo lists dressing comfortably as one of the key tips in falling asleep during a flight. For women, oversized knitted jumpers and stretchy leggings are recommended; while for men, a good comfortable shirt and regular fitted trousers or shorts are ideal. Additionally, it’s also recommended to wear clothes that will keep you warm as planes are notorious for being cold.

8. Wear a Sleep Mask or Shades

Having an eye mask within arm’s reach will be really beneficial as it can help block out any unwanted light as you’re trying to sleep. Most airlines catering to long haul flights will offer their passengers sleep masks, however, it’s worth noting that budget or short haul airlines typically won’t offer additions such as this to their passengers.

9. Bring Your Own Pillows

If you find it difficult to sleep without a cushion, it’s always best to bring your own pillow. Having a neck pillow could be the difference between you getting a good night’s sleep or not sleeping at all. It will also reduce the chance of getting a stiff neck due to the limitations that passengers are faced with in terms of the uncomfortable seats on planes.

10. Don’t Think About Sleep

In any situation, the one thing you must always avoid in order to get a good sleep is stress and over thinking. Fretting about whether you can sleep or not on the flight will only make you feel tense, causing even more restlessness. The best way to prepare is to keep the mind clear.

Do you have other in-flight sleeping tips to recommend? Share them in your comments!

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