How To Sleep On A Plane – Some people have a knack for falling asleep whether they are standing, sitting, or leaning. When it comes to flying, there are some who can fall asleep fast while sitting next to any passenger while others can’t find a good position in their seat no matter how hard they try.
It can be tough to sleep on a plane – the cramped seats, annoying neighbors, and constant noise. The experience leaves some people feeling very stressed. Falling asleep is critical to avoiding sleep debt when traveling internationally or on a red-eye flight. Here are some tips to help you fall asleep and maximize your sleeping time in the air.
The Basics Of Sleeping When Flying
Falling asleep confined to such a small space next to a stranger is no easy feat but this does not mean that you should forego sleep on a plane. Attend to three basic needs to help you get in the right frame of mind to sleep comfortably on a plane, no matter how long the flight.
The right temperature
Create a temperate and comfortable environment no matter where you sit. The air within an airplane starts warm then rapidly cools as the aircraft ascends. Carry a sweatshirt or sweater on the plane, or wrap yourself in a blanket before fastening your seatbelt .
Wear noise-cancelling headphones
Most international flights are equipped with noise-canceling headphones. If you are flying domestically, invest in a good set of noise-canceling headphones. Take advantage of in-flight entertainment to make you sleepy, or look for programs that offer white noise, peaceful and soothing sounds.
Dim the lights
Dim the lights as much as possible so your body is able to produce melatonin or sleep hormones. Light suppresses melatonin production. Airplanes tend to be dark at night, so sleep may come more naturally than expected.
How To Sleep On A Plane – It All Start With Preparation
Now that you have the basics, there are a few more details that can aid in getting the vital rest you need during air travel:
Biological clocks shift an hour a day
Your internal clock, or circadian rhythm, tells you when it is time to sleep. When flying outside your time zone, this internal clock creates jet lag and can result in a feeling of extreme fatigue or dizziness. It takes about 24 hours for your body to shift an hour .
Change sleep habits before your trip
Mitigate the effects of jet lag by adjusting your sleep habits a week earlier. As your biological clock gradually changes, try to adjust your sleep habits with the time zone at your destination. You may find the flight much more enjoyable and stress-free.
Uncross those legs
Many of us cross our legs when we sit. However, it is much better to sit with your legs uncrossed. When you cross your legs, the blood flow is hindered on one side and strain is placed on the lumbar region. This is not recommended if the flight is more than four hours. A better option is to keep your legs parallel with your knees slightly bent .
Know the direction of your destination. Know where you will be heading. If you are going east, be in bed half an hour to an hour earlier than your usual sleep. There are fewer adjustments when moving west.
How To Sleep On A Plane – 11 Expert Proven Tips
Going on a long haul flight can be daunting especially for first-timers. Here are some tricks that have helped other flyers when trying to figure out how to sleep on a plane:
Tip #1 – Choose your seat
Some passengers prefer specific seats on the plane for logical reasons. When traveling at night, a window seat is recommended. If you sleep on your right side, opt for the right side of the plane, and vice versa . Consider choosing a window seat by the exit row as these tend to have more leg room. If there is room, use your carry-on luggage to prop up your feet.
Tip #2 – Black it out
An eye mask could be your best friend. A blackout sleep mask prevents any light from penetrating. This lack of light allows your body to produce more melatonin for you to drift off quickly and peacefully .
Tip #3 – Change your clothes
If you are on a red-eye flight, consider changing into pajama pants. Sweatpants also work well. Always wear socks. An airplane floor is very dirty (especially the bathroom). You may feel more inclined to doze when wearing your favorite, comfortable sleepwear .
Tip # 4 – Use the tray table
It might be a matter of finding a good position. Some easily fall asleep when they lean back in their airplane seat, while others prefer pillowing their head in their hands. If you are the latter, the tray table can be used as a desk on which to lean .
Tip #5 – Earplugs help
Some travelers are unable to fall asleep because of the sound of the engines. Consider investing in a good pair of earplugs or noise-canceling headphones. There are numerous types of noise-canceling devices on the market to fit your needs .
Tip #5 – Bring your neck pillow
Sleeping in an economy seat can be uncomfortable unless you are lucky enough to be in a row with some empty seats. Travel pillows are a huge help on those long flights. This u-shaped neck pillow is explicitly designed as a seat neck pillow. Having a pillow on hand provides a modicum of comfort especially on an overnight flight. If you are on the aisle, a neck pillow can support your head and neck. If you are in the middle seat, flight attendants recommend putting the neck pillow in front of you so your head can lean forward . On a long flight, consider bringing your favorite pillow paired with some comfy PJs, and sleeping should no longer be a problem.
Tip #6 – Take caution when taking sleep aids
Some flyers have such difficulty sleeping on a long haul flight that they resort to taking over-the-counter sleep aids. If you are on a domestic flight, taking a sleeping aid could create more problems in the long run. Sleeping aids are best used on international flights as these can take up to 17 hours or more. Always consult with your doctor as to what effects these medications may have .
Tip #7 – Practice breathing techniques
One way to help relax into a calm state is to practice breathing techniques. Control your breathing to get better control over your emotions and even help reach a more peaceful state of mind.
Tip #8 – Read a book
Instead of watching movie after movie, read a book or magazine instead. Television, iPads, and mobile devices emit blue light and diminish your chances of getting to sleep during a flight. This light prevents sleep hormones from being produced. Reading a book, on the other hand, can ease you to sleep .
Tip #9 – Get more leg room
Although this may sound impossible when seated in coach, create additional space by removing any bags below the seat in front of you and placing them overhead. This creates more space for you to stretch your legs. More leg room lessens the cramped feeling, so you will be able to find a comfortable sleeping position in your seat.
Tip #10 – Create some privacy
Many passengers prefer seats closer to the front of the cabin when they board the plane. Some seasoned travelers prefer to book a seat as far away from the engine as possible. Seats at the back tend to have fewer people in them, so you might be able to book a seat next to a vacant seat. This can be especially helpful when flying economy class. A little extra space can help you gain some much-needed shuteye during your flight .
Whether your flight is in first-class or economy, the goal is to learn how to ease yourself into a calm and relaxed state.
How To Sleep On A Plane Resources:
 Travel And Leisure; You’ve Been Sleeping on Planes All Wrong, Marisa Garcia, December 04, 2017.
 The Points Guy; How to Sleep on a Plane, Michael Y. Park, January 6, 2018.
 Greatist; The Expert-Approved Guide to Sleeping on a Plane, Amy Eisinger, August 26, 2015.
 Entrepreneur; Surprising Tricks: How to Sleep on a Plane, Jenna Schnuer, May 30, 2014.
 GQ; How to Successfully Sleep on a Plane, Natalie B. Compton, March 12, 2018.
 Real Simple; How to Sleep on a Plane, Julia Edelstein.
 Huffington Post; 10 Tricks For Falling Asleep On A Plane — And Staying That Way, Suzy Strutner, August 20, 2015.
 Independent; How To Fall Asleep On A Plane Quickly, Helen Coffey, May 03, 2018.
 Thrillist; Your Guide To Sleeping Like A Baby On A Plane, Frankie Caracciolo, September 11, 2018.
 Refinery29; Follow These Tips If You Want Any Hope Of Sleeping On A Flight, Cory Stieg, January 24, 2018.
 Business Insider; How to sleep well on a long flight, Sarah Schmalbruch, June 04, 2015.
 BBC; Secrets Of Getting Good Sleep On A Plane, Katie Beck, January 18, 2018.