You’re in economy class, it’s a 12-hour flight, and you want to get some sleep to curtail jetlag. But it’s cramped with little legroom, there’s noise from people watching movies and playing video games, sunlight coming from the window your neighbor keeps open, and the occasional noisy children. How are you supposed to get any sleep?
It would be nice if you can easily fall asleep to pass the long flight, but sleep during air travel is one of the most difficult things to do. But if you pick the right seat, have a few things with you to help, and make a few changes in your flying habits, you can make it less of a torture.
We here in Olly Sleep can help you make your next flight a more restful one with these tips!
Choose Your Seat Well
The seat location is the most important factor in how you sleep on a plane. Getting a window seat is the best possible option as you get something to lean on and can close it whenever you want to remove light.
The bulkhead and exit row seats are tempting due to the leg room. However, some exit row seats don’t recline (so they don’t block exits during emergency) and some bulkhead seats don’t have armrests that can be raised.
The last row seats don’t recline and are near the lavatories, which may make noise and odor more obvious issues. Seats at and near the last row may be noisier due to being close to the engines, as well as sounds from the galley.
Choose which ones are best for you and have things like earplugs or noise-cancelling headphones to dampen noise.
Having two full-sized carry-ons means you have one right under your feet, which can limit legroom. Pack as light as possible so you don’t have to have something too big on your person. Just have a few essentials like a bottle of water, some snacks (if the airport will allow it), a book, and whatever you need to get some sleep.
Don’t Take Caffeine
Obviously, you wouldn’t want to be hopped up on stimulants just before your flight if you’re planning to sleep. Perhaps you feel like you need a cup of coffee to get yourself through airport procedures, but you’re going to hate yourself once you’ve boarded the plane.
Try a Sleep Aid
Make sure to consult your physician before taking anything to help you sleep. Ask your doctor about these following sleep aid options.
Unisom SleepTabs are doxylamine succinate tablets that have been tested to be safe and effective for helping you fall asleep 33% faster. It’s non-habit forming and can help you fall asleep on the plane with a lot less difficulty. Each pack has 48 25mg tablets, making them easy to bring with you on your carry-on.
ZzzQuil liquid caps are easy to absorb and made by the makers of Vicks NyQuil, so they know how to make the best sleep aids. ZzzQuil can help you go to sleep in as little as 20 minutes while still being non-habit forming. That makes it the perfect solution for getting sleep in the middle of a long flight.
Claim or Bring Your Own Pillow and Blanket
Most of the time, there aren’t enough pillows and blankets to go around in planes. Once you get to your seat, you’ll want to immediately ask the flight attendant for a pillow and a blanket. But if you want to be sure, bring your own neck pillow. Find a good neck pillow that actually works in supporting your neck and bring it with you on every flight.
Take Off Your Shoes
This is a bit controversial due to what other people in the plane may think. But taking your shoes off in the plane not only makes you more comfortable, but it also aids in your circulation. It’s best to wear shoes that you can take off and put back on easily. Wear compression socks too to promote better circulation.
Use Earplugs or Headphones (with Discretion)
If there’s one thing you can do to help you sleep in a plane, it’s to bring something to keep noise out. Earplugs should be effective enough in making things quiet for you. But if you’re someone who likes to listen to music or videos while on the plane whenever you’re awake, then you may want to invest in a good pair of noise-cancelling headphones.