You only have to travel on one long international flight to realise that sleeping on an aircraft can sometimes be very challenging. Your body clock is out of whack, the seating is cramped, jet lag is playing hell with your head, and you are surrounded by noise, lights, people moving around, knees in your back, and of course, upset children!
However, as difficult as it may seem, there are some things you can do to ease yourself into an onboard snooze, and we have some tips on how to grab that elusive sleep more often.
- most of us are a little excited before travelling and cannot get a good night’s sleep before travelling, so why try? Next time you fly, plan to get half as much sleep as normal the night before. You will probably still get as much sleep as you would have tossing and turning in bed, and you will be tired enough to sleep onboard the plane too.
- try and book the best seat onboard you can. The seats are definitely more comfortable and spacious in business or first class, and because of the higher cost most families with children tend to travel as a group together further back in the plane – with the rest of the noise! And if you can afford a lie-flat seat, why wouldnt you!
- book a seat with extra leg room. These are generally located around the exit points and tend to have lot more space between seats – especially great if you are tall. And that little extra room to stretch without people pushing past you can make all the difference.
- think about whether you normally sleep on your left or right side at home and book a window seat to suit that sleeping pattern. That way you can snuggle up to the window with a cushion instead of falling all over the person on your other side.
- talking of cushions, try taking your own comfy one. Something like the Travel Halo could be just the trick to dozing off in comfort.
- some sleep props are a waste of time, but we would certainly recommend some noise cancelling headphones and a light blocking eye mask. They could make a world of difference for you on a long flight.
- give some thought to what you eat – before and during the flight. You might not want to be filling up on soda, gassy foods, or alcohol and end up with a restless belly or an overactive brain. Opt for some healthy, easy-to-digest snacks, and ask for water or milk to drink, or bring your own chamomile tea bag for some calming drinks – just not too many.
- bring some comfy track pants or loose clothing to wear on board so you are not being strangled by a tight belt or trousers, and will not be concerned if they get creased as you toss and turn in your sleep.
- make sure that before sleeping you advise the cabin crew of your intention, then do your seat belt up and keep the buckle on top of any blanket or clothing. There is nothing worse than just falling asleep and then to be woken up and asked to buckle up! Our last international was with Malaysia Airlines – they were fantastic and very considerate.
- and lastly, don’t be embarrassed about bringing a comfort item to cuddle when dozing off. A favourite teddy, small blanket, or other item which reminds you of bed and calms you is ideal.
And there you have it. Ten simple but effective ways to drop off to sleep and hopefully stay that way while up in the air, or on a long-haul train or bus trip.
Do you have any more to add to the list? We would love to hear from you about your favourite way to sleep on planes.
Living each adventure,
Christine and Trevor
Empowering people to live a healthy, active, authentic and fulfilling life.
Adelaide, South Australia.
DISCLAIMER: This article is written for informational purposes only and is based on Christine and Trevor’s own life experiences. No food featured on this site should ever be consumed or handled if known or suspected allergies exist. Nothing featured here should be taken as medical, professional or legal advice. It is always recommended that you consult the appropriate professional before changing any routine or adopting any new procedure.
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