Don’t Try To Fall Asleep Right After Take Off
Although it’s easy to fall asleep during pressurization of the cabin immediately after take off, chances are you’ll end up waking up once the plane levels off and flight attendants start serving drinks and meals. Instead, wait until everyone has settled into their seats and the lights have been turned off.
Expect That Youll Still Be Groggy
Take it easy when you get to your destination.
Even if you do your best to sleep, youre likely to feel pretty tired when you get to your destination, Smarr says.
One thing is to just know what is happening and be okay with it, he says. And if youre the one picking up the guests at the airport? them to have full energy.
Even as you try to establish your routine, make sure youre listening to your body. The beauty of holiday travel, unlike business travel, is that you probably dont have to go straight to a morning meeting, Smarr says. So dont rush yourself. Take it easy after your flight, consider a nap the next day, and be patient even if it takes a few days for your body to get back on track.
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Choose Your Seats Carefully
Not even getting into cabin classes, where you are in the plane makes a huge difference when it comes to a restful flight and a nerve-wracking one. Seats to avoid include those right by the toilets or the galley.
In the former case, youll have to deal with lines of passengers waiting to take their turn in the loo, which, lets face it, will begin to seriously stink after a couple hours and/or the first meal service. In the latter case, your problem wont be passengers but flight attendants clanking around while preparing meals and, in the case of some crews, yucking it up and having a little FA party while youre trying to catch your shut-eye.
And if you cant sleep feeling cramped, look for bulkhead seats, where theres no one in front of you to recline into your personal space and give you creepy nightmares about being buried alive in plastic and polyester.
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Steer Clear Of Screens
Watching TV is an easy way to pass the time on a flight, but the blue light emitted by the screen keeps your brain awake blue light prevents the pineal gland, a pea-sized organ in the brain, from releasing melatonin, a hormone that makes you drowsy, so throwing off your biological clock. The same goes for playing games on your phone or iPad. Lose the electronics and listen to relaxing music, or curl up with a good old paperback.
Tips For Sleeping On A Plane
I was once on a flight from Colorado to Minnesota, and the man next to me sat down and fell asleep before everyone was even seated. I am still in awe of this man because I struggle to sleep on flights.
In 2018, I went 24 hours without sleep because I was on my way to Barcelona and just could not sleep. That experience spurred a need in me to know how to sleep better on a plane. These tips will help you never have to experience what I did on that fateful trip.
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Insomniacs May Actually Sleep Better On Planes
It may sound paradoxical, but sometimes those who have the hardest time falling asleep on the ground find it much easier to get to Sleepytown in the discomfort of an airplane filled with hundreds of total strangers.
People with insomnia sometimes have an association with their own bed that creates frustration and stress, becoming a self-fulfilling prophecy every night, van der Helm said. Other places dont have that association, so they actually fall asleep faster away from home. The less you worry about sleeping, even on a plane, the fewer stress hormones are created, and the better your sleep will be.
Set Your Alarm To Wake Up 45 Minutes Before Landing
The worst part of sleeping is waking up, I always say. Its even worse on a plane, when youre waking up to fluorescent lights, luggage carousels, and sunshine so bright you can practically hear it.
If its a long flight, consider setting a watch or cell phone alarm for 45 minutes before you have to land. That gives you time to go to the restroom, gather your gear, tie your shoes, watch the approach to your destination, drink a cup of coffee, and walk off the plane fully awake.
Reaching your destination fully rested, whether you indulge in a short and sweet nap or a full rack en route, always beats lurching around an airport tired and crabby. Grab your 40 winks in flight, and youll be a happier traveler.
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Go With The Local Flow
After you land, try to sync up with the local schedule. If youre landing when people are awake in the middle of the day, thats what you want to do, too. Sleep as much as you can on the plane, she says. If youre going to be landing at night, do your best to stay awake on the plane and sleep at your destination.
Lean Backward With Proper Support
If youre flying in Economy class, your options for reclining your seat may be limited. Experts at the American Academy of Sleep Medicine say that leaning back to a 135-degree angle is the safest sleep position, as it places less pressure on the body and decreases the likelihood of developing a blood clot. Youll want to move back 40 degrees in your seat, but dont be that person that leans their chair all the way. Dont take armrests lightly. A study in the Orthopedic Clinics of North America found that armrests can alleviate back pressure, which often prevents sleep. Rest your forearms on top of the rests to support your upper body and take some of the work off your spine.
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Eat Bananas Not Chocolate
Next time you’re in the USA, stock up on melatonin pills, which are available over the counter there. Pop one just before you plan to sleep on the plane, as this naturally occuring substance regulates sleep hormones to help you nod off. Until then, eat foods which contain melatonin – bananas, oats, cherries.
Sleeping On A Plane With Sleeping Pills
According to Expedia, 15% of travelers always or sometimes use medication to help them sleep. While sleep aids are powerful, they could create health problems in the long run. Pills like Ambien and Benadryl have side effects such as sleepwalking, dehydration, and prolonged grogginess and put you at a higher risk of getting a blood clot on a long flight. Since its produced by your body, melatonin can be a safer sleep aid. The Cochrane Database of Systematic Reviews found that a dosage between 0.5 and 5 milligrams can be effective at helping you sleep faster. The catch? Melatonin has to be taken about five hours before a flight. An alternative to sleeping meds is using a natural sleep aid like lavender to calm you. Foods such as bananas, almonds, cherry juice, chamomile tea, and snacks with high carbs have also been shown to aid in slumber.
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Find The Right Lullaby
Music is known to have a calming effect so having the right soundtrack for your flight might be the key for your good nights sleep. There are loads of albums available that are designed to help you drift off, but in most instances they are more of a nuisance. I find it more soothing to listen to something I know, have listened to 1000 times and that wont distract me .
Flying With Sleep Problems
Finally, for people who suffer from sleep disorders, flying on an airplane may introduce its own set of considerations. Snoring may make you self-conscious when sleeping among strangers, for example. If you snore, you might consider using Breathe Right nasal strips on the flight. Although not always effective, they may open up your nose some and reduce the snoring. Fortunately, the noise of the jet engines will likely overwhelm most snores.
If you have sleep apnea, you will likely not have electrical accommodations to use your continuous positive airway pressure on the flight. Sitting upright will decrease the risk and severity of your sleep apnea. Not treating it for the length of a flight is okay, and you are unlikely to suffer any imminent health complications. For those who use an oral appliance to treat apnea, you might be able to put this in to aid your sleep.
People with restless legs syndrome may find long flights to be particularly bothersome. There are a number of ways to relieve these symptoms while flying: distracting activities like crossword puzzles may be helpful, and walking around or massaging legs may provide some relief. The occasional use of medications such as opioids or gabapentin may also be helpful.
If you have a sleep disorder, you may want to speak with your healthcare provider about ways to make your flight more comfortable. In some cases, prescription medications may be indicated to provide relief.
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Stay Hydrated But Dont Overdo It
Staying hydrated is always important, and you may be extra thirsty up in the sky because of how dry airplanes tend to be. A cup of herbal tea is a great option to stay hydrated. To keep those extra bathroom trips at bay, try not to go overboard with it. Sleeping requires you to be comfortable, which might be difficult when you’re frequently running to the restroom.
How To Sleep Better On A Plane
By Scott Mackenzie for Men’s Journal
Sleeping on an airplane often requires more effort than it does relaxation, but it is absolutely worth it. Late night flights are called “red eyes” for a reason, and no matter how energetic or fit you may be, muscling through your day on minimal sleep is never a good idea. That said, late-night flights are also an extremely practical way to get more bang for your vacation buck. The key is to have a system for getting some shuteye between runways. Here are a few tips that can make nodding off considerably easier.
Choose Your Itinerary Wisely When overnight travel is inevitable, nothing is more important than choosing the right itinerary. Pick the nonstop every time and, if one isn’t available, choose the itinerary with the longest single leg. You’ll have more uninterrupted time to nap, wake up and try to doze off again. Late departures are especially helpful unless you plan to work during the trip. Next, consider the seat type and location. Use the restroom before you board and pick a window seat. It provides more space to lean against the window and no one will climb over you. Seats near the front of the cabin tend to be quieter, but avoid anything near a lavatory or galley.
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Resist The Free Booze
A glass of wine can be tempting – particularly when it’s on the house – and you might think it will help knock you out, but it actually prevents you from getting quality sleep and dehydrates you further. The same goes for caffeine, obviously. Instead, opt for water or boring-but-restive camomile tea. Don’t eat too heavy a meal, which can make it harder to nod off. Avoid salty snacks as the sodium can trigger bloating.
Make Sure You Have Lumbar Support
Lumbar refers to your lower spine. It’s best to fall asleep with your butt planted on your seat and your back against the back of your seat. It can be tempting to hunch over or try to curl up, but you probably won’t stay comfortable for long or you’re likely to wake up in pain if that’s how you fall asleep.
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Tips For Sleeping On Long
Thereâs nothing worse than settling in for a long-haul international flight across the ocean, only to sit there wide-awake for 12 solid hours. While sleeping on planes can be difficult, there are some things you can do to ease the discomfort.
Here are our expert tips for how to sleep on a plane.
Eat Light And Skip The Wine
While a grumbling tummy might prevent you from getting to dreamland , eating a super-heavy meal isnt a good idea pre-boarding, according to Geronemus. Because your body will need to digest, you dont want to make that process happen when youre up in the air, trying to rest. Instead, he recommends eating light, with a grilled chicken salad or something of the sort. And though vino might usually do the trick to make you pass out on the couch after a workday, Geronemus says to skip the booze to get quality sleep. Here are 11 things that traveling on a plane does to your body.
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Key Positions To Sleep On A Plane
Unless youre flying on a lie-flat seat that allows you to spread out, youre confined to your one armrest and a seat that only reclines a few degrees. Thats why its important how you position your body, not only to improve how to sleep on a plane but also to prevent getting a crick in your neck.
Dr. Rick Swartzburg Chiropractor and inventor of the Snuggle-Pedic pillowrecommends:
Tilting the seat back a bit and using a pillow that will stay put behind your neck, which can also wedge your head and neck as you lean a bit towards the window frame. This gives you the best advantage in terms of pure support. If the pillow that wraps around your side is not thick enough, you can use a blanket or jacket to further add to the lateral support of your head and neck, but be sure that you give more support to your neck than your head.
Matt Boyd, founder of Moving.co.nzreminds you not to forget about how you position your bottom half:
A good tip is keep your legs straight, with a slight bend on your knees. If youre trying to go to sleep on the plane the thing you want to do is lean back the seat at a comfortable position and uncross your legs.
Once youve found the right position and are ready to drift off to sleep, subtly let others know not to bother you like Ana Rojas of ComfyCommuter:
I have used a hotel Do Not Disturb sign and hung it on my blouse. This seemed to have worked pretty well!
Your Biological Clock Shifts An Hour A Day
You probably already know that we each have an internal clock that tells our bodies when to get up, when to go to sleep and so on. When you travel well outside your normal time zone, of course, your internal clock becomes wildly out of synch with the time in the real world in your new location, which is what gives you jet lag. Your clock eventually catches up, but it can be rough going until then, and that has a massive effect on how easily youll sleep on a plane, or anywhere else.
What most people dont know, though, is that it takes roughly 24 hours for the average persons biological clock to shift by one hour, according to sleep expert Els van der Helm, founder of Amsterdam-based Shleep, which just came out with a new sleep-aid app . So if you travel from, say, New York to Paris, its going to take you about six days before your bodys finally on local time.
That said, everyones clock adjusts at slightly different rates, though the fastest rate seems to be about 90 minutes every 24 hours.
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Avoid Screens Before Sleeping
The light from your laptop and smartphones won’t help you sleep. You may think it will because you feel like your eyes are getting tired, but all it actually does is keep your brain awake and damage your eyes.
So stay away from all screens before going to sleep. If you really must, then download f.lux: it removes some of the blue light produced by your screen and helps you sleep better.
But your best option remains a good old book, or a Kindle!
As a last resort, pop a pill to help you fall asleep. But ask your doctor about it before your flight, and take it at the appropriate time if you don’t want to feel completely groggy when the plane lands.
There are also people arguing that sleeping on a plane while in high altitude could damage your hearing. That’s just a word of warning, I don’t think it should stop you from sleeping during your next flight!
Earplugs Or Noise Cancelling Headphones
Planes are noisy. Seat mates snore. Babies cry. If sleep is important to you, invest in a quality pair of earplugs at the very least. If you want to take it up a notch, noise cancelling headphones are a key piece of flight gear for increasing quiet on long flights. Shawn compared the bluetooth headphones options so that you dont have to.
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