There are those people who can sleep just about anywhere. If they want to, they can sleep, wherever they want, however they want.
While a few lucky folks can pass out easily upon take off, for most of us, quality in-flight sleep is a struggle. And that can lead to exhaustion and several nights of playing catch-up when you arrive at your final destination.
When boarding a plane, you have the purest of intentions: You’re going to use this rare empty stretch of time to catch up on much-needed sleep. You’ll land at your destination bright-eyed, bushy-tailed, and ready to take on the world!
But things aren’t ever that simple, are they? In reality, you end up doing all the things that keep you from floating into dreamland. Epically long flights, cramped seats, and loud passengers.
By the time you deplane, you’re tired and dishevelled.
Sleeping on a plane can be difficult but is often necessary for overnight flights. Luckily there are some ways to improve your flying experience and make sleeping during a flight much more pleasant.
Comfort on a plane starts with your seat. Is it in the aisle, window, exit row, close to the bathroom, or the bulkhead? A middle exit row seat isn’t even that bad since you can usually exit your seat without making anyone get up. Note that not all exit rows recline but I will take leg room over a reclining seat every time. However, mostly people to do tend to opt for the window seat.
Yes, it might make bathroom breaks more awkward, but having that window to lean against is way better than falling asleep on your neighbour’s shoulder. Every seat has its ups and downs and it is up for you to decide what you prefer.
Once you have found the perfect seat it is time to sleep on the plane. This starts at home and being prepared. An eye mask in the airflight has been proven to be extremely beneficial for many passengers and is essential because they always turn on those overhead lights when you’re trying to sleep. Airlines love to keep the lights on in the cabin for no reason and people in the window seats like to keep their window shades open the whole flight! When you need to get some rest it is a great way to block out the world around you.
Another handy carry on for your journey are earplugs. They block out the pilot, babies, loud talkers, and engine noise. This and the eye-mask should get the job done for most people. They can really be a lifesaver, and easy to carry. Another alternative for earplugs are the noise cancelling headphones. These headphones are a pretty common site these days on flights and for good reason. They do a great job blocking the cabin noise.
Additionally, make sure you wear your most comfy outfit. Put on the sweat pants! Let’s be honest, the cute outfit you put on when you got to the airport is no longer looking great and it’s definitely not going to look better after a 15 hour flight. Furthermore, most flights tend to be on the cold side which is nice when it is a full flight but bad when you are in shorts and a t-shirt. Some airlines that haven’t decided to completely make us hate them provide blankets for free but some do charge for the “luxury” of not being cold. So make sure to carry something warm for along the way.
Another thig to note is that, 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). 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. A better way to sit is to keep your legs straight, with a slight bend to your knees. You want to avoid any blood pooling in the lower part of your body.
Bring what you need with you to lay back, snooze off and enjoy the flight. So if you struggle to sleep while flying, don’t fret. You’re not the only one! But there is still hope.