Many travelers would like to sleep during long flights but find it difficult to fall asleep in the discomfort of the airplane cabin. Booking first class or business class tickets is the best way to get a much more comfortable seat. Some of these seats lie flat or even have their own private spaces. Not all of us can afford these luxurious tickets but that does not mean we cannot take steps to make it easier for us to sleep during a flight. Try out these practical tips on your next flight.
Pick the right seat
Try to book a window seat, so you can have a place to rest your head. With this spot too, you will not be disturbed by other passengers who are trying to go to the aisle.
Front row seats are not advisable since many families with children book these rows for them to easily disembark the plane after the flight. So, the best row to book a window seat is near the back row. The farthest ones back are not advisable since it will be near the lavatories and people coming and going in the lavatory might disturb your sleep.
Wear loose-fitting clothes and slip-on shoes
Loose clothing makes you feel comfortable and that helps you drift to sleep. Constricting clothes especially pants, restrict the flow of your blood that might result in you having swollen legs and/or leg pain.
Wearing slip-on shoes feels more comfortable while sleeping compared to closed shoes because they are not as constricting. Also, you can easily remove them while sleeping and easily put them back on. Some people prefer being able to remove their shoes so they can move their toes or feet especially during long hours of flight.
Being up at high altitude slows down the digestive system so, eating too much could be troublesome. The food you ate will be in your stomach longer, making you feel heavy and sometimes bloated which might result in you having trouble getting sleep. Too much salty foods will also make you more dehydrated. So the suggestion is to eat lightly and avoid salty foods.
Drink lots of water before boarding the plane. The air inside the plane has less moisture due to being in high altitude and recirculated. With less moisture inside, the plane makes you easily dehydrated and feel dry. Being hydrated will also keep you from waking up due to thirst. But make sure you use the facilities before boarding and/or before trying to doze off. That will keep you from waking up to go to the bathroom.
Ditch coffee and alcoholic beverages
Keeping hydrated is a must but drinking coffee and alcoholic beverages is a no-no. Coffee has caffeine content that will make you more alert during the flight. Drinking alcoholic beverages blocks rapid eye movement (REM) that diminishes our quality of sleep. Less of REM sleep will likely make us feel tired and less refreshed when you wake up.
Stick to water or drink fruit juice when the flight attendant offers you some from the beverage cart. Try herbal tea. You could bring a chamomile tea bag with you to help you calm and relax. Chamomile tea is commonly known for its sedative effects. It can act as a sleeping aid with its relaxing and sleep-inducing properties. Hot water and a cup can be given to you by the flight attendant on board.
Be comfortable in your seat
Recline your chair as far as possible but be polite to other passengers. Before you recline your chair, look at the person seated at your back, the person might be eating or he has coffee on their tray.
Brightness is the enemy of good sleep. Being seated in a window seat will give you access to control the light coming from outside the plane. If not, wear an eye mask to help you get rid of that annoying illumination.
Use noise-canceling headphones
Some people are light sleepers and are very sensitive to the noise surrounding them and there is plenty of that on an airplane. Use noise-canceling headphones to block out the noise and listen to some relaxing music to help you sleep.
Bring a neck pillow
A neck pillow should be permanent gear for every traveler. It is designed to give people comfort while traveling and it will also keep your heads in place during turbulence. Wearing a neck pillow will also minimize getting neck pain from sleeping in an uncomfortable position.
Inform the flight attendant
Tell the stewardess in advance that you do not want to be disturbed so, they will not offer you anything from their cart. But, make sure to keep your seat belt visible to keep them from asking you if you buckled in the case of turbulence.
Strategize your pre-flight activities
Wear yourself out pre-boarding so you are tired when you get on the plane. A strenuous work-out will make your muscles tired and ready for. If you have a night-time flight, just by waking up early the day of your flight will make you sleepier when you board the plane.
Take a pill
Only do this if the above-mentioned tips do not help and you really need to sleep. Only do this on the advice of a doctor. Sleeping medications have side effects that may affect you negatively not to mention you need to be able to respond in case of an emergency.
Sleep in advance
If sleeping on the airplane is just to difficult for you, then consider getting good solid sleep in advance of your flight. This will help to reduce the impact of the flight. Being well rested will make you feel refreshed and can help minimize the effects of jet lag. Getting enough sleep will also give you more time to enjoy your trip once on the ground.