How to Get Good Sleep on a Plane – Useful Tips for Frequent Travelers

In the lead up to your holiday, you can feel the strain of having to make sure everything is sorted and organised before you jet off. However, get those unavoidable necessities ticked off of the list and you can begin to get excited about to taking your seat on the plane and relaxing as you set off to enjoy a well-deserved holiday

Suffering from sleep in a flight
Suffering from sleep in a flight

For those of you who don’t fly well, or aren’t frequent fliers and find it tricky to get decent sleep while you’re on a flight, we’ve got a collection of useful tips that you can take note of that have been proven to help with effectively drifting off on a plane.

Why we all want to sleep and rest well on your flight

Despite where you are going and what you intend to do while you’re there, whether it’s cliff diving, sunbathing or sightseeing, you will want to get the best, high-quality sleep that you possibly can while you’re in the air so that you’re full of beans when you touch down.

Flights often depart at times that don’t fit in your usual daytime routine, and therefore, getting some sleep banking done in the days before you head to the airport might be of assistance.

Skip the booze

You might well look forward to dashing to the airport bar to sink a few drinks and really kick-start the feeling of being in ‘holiday mode’, but if you want to enjoy some good sleep during the journey on the plane, then you’ll knock the drinking on the head until you’re at your holiday destination.

Alcohol dehydrates you and reduces effective blood flow at high altitudes, which will disrupt sleep. Furthermore, while you might think a drink or two will send you off to sleep, it may do so initially, but this fleeting kip won’t have been of any substance, so it’s advisable to focus on how you can get sound slumber and not that extra G&T!

Don’t overeat on your flight

We might sound like we’re being killjoys now after the point about alcohol, but if you want to get forty winks of a solid standard it’s advisable to swerve eating more than you need to.

Stash of Food to Survive the long journey

Instead, opt for a sensible meal that is eaten as close to your regular mealtimes as possible is the sound advice to adhere to.

The reason for this is because overeating, as well as eating fatty foods has the potential to leave you feeling bloated and in discomfort; both of which are not ideal when you are trying to sleep. Additionally, when you consume big or high-fat meals, your heart has to work extra hard to pump more blood to your stomach.

Lastly, eating large volumes of fatty foods can cause clotting of the blood, and this is definitely a problem that you do not want to have to contend with when you’re aboard a long flight!

Consider your seating position

Constantly working on the go

Don’t cross your legs when you’re sat on a plane. Why? Well, it’s simple; when your legs are crossed, you are mistakably clamping down on one side, which can cause a restriction of the blood flow.

So, if you choose fatty meals before you fly and then you cross your legs for prolonged periods during your flight then you’re further increasing the likelihood of getting a blood clot… Not good!

Crossing your legs can also agitate your back. This is down to the fact that your lower half is partially twisted when you cross your leg. Also, your upper body is still pointing straight forward, so further stress is applied to your lumbar too.

This might lead to unwanted discomfort that will effectively prevent you from sleeping well on the plane.  

Pick a sitting position that is conducive to sleep instead. Close your eyes and sit with your legs straight, paying attention to have a slight bend to your knees. Don’t let your head lean too far forward or you can strain your neck; it might be worth purchasing a travel pillow to ease this and aid sleep.

Useful neck pillow for long red eye flights
Useful neck pillow for long red-eye flights

Avoid sleeping pills

Don’t be tempted to neck some sleeping pills just before you take off unless you have been prescribed them by a doctor, or for the over-the-counter medication, you are completely aware of the effects and how it affects you during and after taking them, the National Sleep Foundation advises.

This advice is worthwhile as the majority of over-the-counter sleep tablets contain antihistamines. These pills tend to leave you feeling slightly groggy as they work for prolonged periods.

If you’re set on taking something to guarantee you get off to sleep effectively, there have been recommendations by some people to pick up some melatonin tablets. Studies point to the fact that melatonin can be relied upon to help you sleep as it is naturally secreted in the brain as you prepare for sleep at night. However, I am never a big advocate for having to be too dependent on tablets, so go with improving your own well-being the natural way as much as possible.

Share with me any thoughts on how else one can sleep better on the plane?

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