How To Sleep On A Plane
Whether you’re traveling for business or pleasure when you fly, you want to arrive at your destination feeling ready for that meeting or to begin your adventure. But, if you can’t rest, the red-eye can leave you… well, red-eyed and wretched. So, what is the best way to sleep on a plane?
Booking a window seat means that your fellow passengers won’t need to disturb you when they want to use the restroom or stretch their legs. Also, something that many of us don’t think about is which side we to sleep on at home. If you tend to sleep on your left side, choose a window seat on the left of the plane or, if you prefer to sleep on your right side, pick a seat on the right. This will help you to find a more natural sleeping position.
However, you do have to be careful as not all seats are ideal. For example, those near the emergency exits might have more legroom but also may not recline. SeatGuru provides details of each seat on whatever plane is used by the airline you are flying with.
With time to kill at the airport it’s tempting to hit the bar or to have several cups of coffee, but this is not a good idea. Caffeine is not going to help you to sleep and alcohol might have a soporific effect but, if you sleep, you will probably wake up feeling less refreshed than if you hadn’t slept at all. Drink plenty of water to stay hydrated – but remember to use the bathroom before you try to sleep!
Wear comfortable, loose-fitting clothes and shoes that are easy to slip off. Our bodies tend to swell during a flight so anything tight can become unpleasant. You’ll get some weird looks if you wear pajamas but sweat pants and shirt work well. And think of other passengers if you are taking off your shoes; clean feet and socks please! If you’re flying long-haul consider using compression socks which help to prevent deep vein thrombosis (DVT) which can occur during long periods of immobility.
If you’re on business, carry your suit on and freshen up and change into it when you’ve landed. You’ll look and feel so much better.
To avoid being disturbed, let a flight attendant know that you want to sleep and they will leave you in peace on the snack cart run.
When you recline your seat check with the passenger behind you so they don’t end up with a cup of hot coffee in their lap.
A neck pillow is great for stopping your head lolling from side to side but here’s a hot tip – put it on back to front and your chin won’t fall on to your chest at the slightest bit of turbulence.
Some airlines provide eye masks but it’s safer to take your own. You might feel self-conscious wearing one so, as an alternative, you could wear a baseball cap with the brim pulled down over your eyes. This also lets people know that you don’t want to be disturbed.
When you have room in your luggage take a roll-up blanket as this can aid the sleeping process, especially when the air recirculation can bring down the cabin temperature. Again, these can be available on the plane but you don’t know how many people have used them. Another hot tip – use the airline’s blanket rolled up as a lumber support to improve your comfort. When using a blanket, fasten your seat belt over it so the flight attendants can see it if the seat belt signs come on.
Blocking out noise is one of the most crucial factors in getting some decent shuteye. Ear plugs are good but, if you find that some relaxing music helps you to sleep, ear buds will do the trick. However, even better are noise cancelling headphones which also prevent the music from getting out and irritating your neighbor.
Coming Down to Earth
Waking suddenly with a jolt, such as when the wheels hit the runway, can leave you feeling groggy and disorientated. Then you have the panic of getting your things together, putting on your shoes and joining in with the general bustle that occurs on arrival. To avoid this, set the alarm on your phone to go off thirty minutes before your arrival time – don’t forget to set it to vibrate if you’re wearing earplugs. Then you’ll have time to come around naturally, go to the restroom and get to your destination fully rested.