It took a good few journeys before I could totally let myself go and was able to sleep during flights, and I tried out many tips for sleeping on a plane before I was successful. Now however, I can drop off without any problems and the flight just whizzes by. Unless you particularly want to enjoy the company of your fellow passengers or catch the in-flight movie, sleeping through a plane journey is so good. You arrive refreshed and stress-free because you ignored the incessant chatterbox next to you or the gruesome kids across the aisle. Here are the top tips for sleeping on a plane.
1. Wear Loose Fitting Clothes
One of the obvious tips for sleeping on a plane and just being on a plane in general, is to dress comfortably. You’ll need to wear layers, because you can never know whether you’ll be too hot or too cold on board, and if you’re going somewhere hot you will want to be de-layering when you get there. The trick is to wear loose fitting clothes made of nice soft fabric - nothing that’s so tight it cuts off your blood circulation. You could always take your pyjamas (or the latest trendy onesie) to change into if you have a long-haul flight, for extra comfort.
2. Bring a Small Carry on
Having a couple of oddly shaped, over-spilling bags, means that you’ll more than likely have to store them under your seat. Just bring one carry on, with zips, so that it is safe in the overhead compartment leaving you with more leg room to stretch out and get some sleep on the flight.
3. Seats to Avoid
If you can choose your seat there are three areas of the plane to avoid – the bathrooms, the galley and the wings. These are the areas of most in-flight activity and when sitting in these places, you are more likely to be disturbed than elsewhere.
4. Reserve the Window Seat
I wish I’d known this advice for sleeping on a plane before my first flight to New York many years ago. I sat in the middle seat and woke up, mouth open, on a stranger’s shoulder. It seems such common sense now and I know it’s pretty common on flights, but that doesn’t make it less embarrassing! Opt for a window seat so you can rest your head on the wall of the plane, and not wake up dribbling on a stranger. Another plus of the window seat is that you won’t get woken up by people trying to get past you to use the toilet.
5. Bring a Blanket
You can’t guarantee the temperature on a plane, or whether you will be given a free blanket. Some airlines charge for a pillow and a blanket now so make sure you bring your own, just in case. Even if you are given a blanket they are never the cosy quality of ones from home. If the plane is too hot you don’t have to use it as a blanket; you could roll it up and used as a pillow, or a footrest.
6. Don’t Order a Fancy Meal
If you’re planning on getting sleep on a flight don’t fork out for a fancy meal. Eating a big meal before you sleep can make you feel bloated, and too uncomfortable to sleep. If you order a custom or fancy meal then the flight attendants, will usually wake you up to give it to you. Then, once you’ve finished you’ll have the leftovers taking up room in your sleeping space until it is cleared.
7. Wear Headphones
This is one of the tips for sleeping on a plane that I never forget. Every flight when I want to get a bit of shut eye, I always remember to bring a pair of good headphones. If you listen to the radio or television while you drift off at home make sure you do the same on the plane. If you need absolute silence when you sleep, download a white noise track on your ipod, buy some noise cancelling headphones, or just wear good old fashioned ear plugs.
8. Wear a Sleep Mask
If you are flying in the day time and want to get some sleep on the flight, bring a sleep mask. Wearing a sleep mask blocks out the light and tricks your mind into thinking its night time. Also, a sleep mask helps your eyes to stay closed, and you’ll be more likely to fall asleep.
9. If All else Fails, Medicate
If none of these tips for sleeping on a plane work for you then why not try some over- the-counter medicines such as: Melatonine (which also helps to prevent jet lag), Dramamine, medicines containing dephenhydramine and medicines designed for insomnia. Make sure you give the meds a go before you try them out on the plane, just in case they don’t work for you, or give you an unwanted reaction. If you are really desperate for sleep on the plane, and you know you won’t be able to get off, ask your doctor. Watch out though, these prescription sleep aids can have some side effects, such as hallucinations - which might cause a problem at 30,000 feet!
I hope these tips for sleeping on a plane help you catch some zzzzs the next time you fly. Do you have any foolproof methods that work for you?