You are really excited and have just booked a dream vacation. But then you realize next that you will be affected by lengthy flights, cramped seating, along with noisy passengers with kids who can’t keep still. You are not going to get any sleep on that flight for sure. You then ask yourself the question of how to fall asleep on a plane. Well, worry not, we got you covered. Read on.
While some lucky people are able to pass out very easily upon takeoff, for nearly all of us, quality in-flight rest is a challenge. And that could result in several nights and exhaustion of playing catch-up once you arrive at your destination.
After lots of long haul flights, I have come to recognize that the big difference in between a great vacation and a terrible one will be the quantity of rest I get. However with the noise of the aircraft and countless individuals on board, learning how to fall asleep on a plane is now a valued skill for travelers.
Beyond what you already know for example buying good earplugs, an eyemask, along with a pillow; wear comfortable clothing; and booking a first class ticket, listed here are some methods you can learn to help you get the sleep you need on a plane and get to your destination and enjoy your lifestyle vaction.
Pick Your Seat Carefully
If you are not on a budget, think about spending on the most comfortable choice. If you can, pay for Business or even First-Class.
The biggest advantage of First Class seats is the offer of a lying flat position, making sleeping a lot easier. Plus, they’re considerably more comfy.
However, even if you choose Economy, sleeping on the airplane is still possible. Not all Economy seats are identical. That is exactly why you need to check-in online quickly and select the seat of yours.
Pick a window seat: You will not be disturbed if your neighbors have to head to the toilets and can also lean against the window for several head and neck relief. More on that below.
Stay away from the seating close to the toilets: They are noisy due to the passenger traffic. Especially from the opening and shutting of the door and the loud air pressure type of flushing. On occasion they could stink.
Get a seat toward the front side of the engine, near the wings. It is a great choice if you are afraid of flying, as this particular part of the airplane is more stable and less noisy.
Also think about legroom. Economy seats normally have little of it, aside from seats in the front, but these’re usually located near the toilets. The best option is to choose a seat at an exit row where people used to exit the aircraft in case of emergency, provided that there are not toilets close by.
Get a Window Seat
Once you are able to reserve a window seat, you can lean on and rest your head on the side of the plane. This is way easier than trying to sleep holding a neck pillow while sitting upright. Plus you are able to control the light exposure as well.
Try to build a status with an airline. Fly one airline group as much as possible to clock customer loyality perks. You should be able to get better seat and priority boarding.
Ensure you are able to stretch out your feet. It is much more than a comfort problem, it is also better for blood cirulation. Make use of the airline’s website to choose the best seat possible.
Take Along Your Comfort Items
Remember the favorite teddy bear of yours as a child? Think about this as the adult version. It could be a pair of socks or a shawl or perhaps your favorite music.
So put that super faded t-shirt, broken-in sweater and chill playlist to good use. Falling asleep when you are in the midst of 100 odd individuals as well as 40,000 feet up in the air is all about making yourself feel really at home as much as possible.
Additionally you can use an U shaped pillow. Rather than placing it at the back of your neck, place it in the front. Place your chin on it. This is going to prevent your head ofrom bobbing up and down and waking you up. Use an inflatable pillow, to conserve save in the carry-on luggage.
To stay away from being awaken by the lighting of the airplane, bring a mask to cover your eyes. A scarf can also get the job done.
The primary enemy you are going to face when trying to fall asleep on a plane is sound. Not only from passengers, but of the aircraft itself. You should be able to fight back by getting a pair of good earplugs. However, your best chance of winning is to use a noise canceling headset. It is well worth the money.
Bonus, with the headphones on, your neighbors are not as likely to start a conversation when you want to sleep.
Wear Comfortable Clothes
Start by removing your shoes. Just simply wearing socks will make you immediately more at ease.
Some regular fliers go as much as changing into the pajamas once they’ve boarded the plane. If that is not your cup of tea, then simply choose baggy pants.
To prevent deep vein thrombosis (DVT), physicians endorse using compression stockings. The idea is to make sure the blood keeps flowing in your legs.
Uncross Your Legs
If you cross your legs, you rest down on just one side, which may limit blood flow and increase the chances of a blood clot if the flight is much more than 4 hours. Since the lower half of your body is somewhat twisted to the right or left, depending where leg you crossed. Since your upper body is facing directly forward, you introduce a little extra strain to the lumbar. When you fall asleep in that way, you will probably wake up at some point and quickly cross your legs the other way since you are attempting to even out which twist.
There is an easier method to sit and yet feel good. Start by maintaining your legs straight, bend a little at the knees. This prevents blood from pooling in the low portion of your body. If you are petite, shift your whole body to the side, and lean your shoulder into the seat.
When you recline your chair, it can help ease some of the strain on your lower lumbar backbone. With significantly less strain, it will be easier to sleep.
The next best position is resting up straight. But if your abdominal muscles of yours are weak, you will not have any lumbar support which could result in lower back pain. Get a lumbar pillow, which can help to keep that curve in your lower back. Alternatively you can also use a travel pillow or perhaps a rolled up jacket.
Falling asleep leaning forward with no backside support is the worst thing to do. In that position, you are placing the most stress on the spinal discs.
Make use of the armrests, they help relieve back stress. Rest the forearms on top to carefully support the upper body and relieve your spine from taking on all the back pressure.
All of us know that light exposure is a terrible idea when you are trying to fall asleep on a plane. This applies to the light created by seatback TV screens, tablets, mobile phones, or laptop computers. Screens are similar to sunlight, so when you are staring at it just before sleeping, you are suppressing melatonin release.
The brightness from your smartphones and laptop will not help you to sleep. It keeps your brain awake and will harm your eyes, contrary to what you think that it will make your eyes feel exhausted.
If you must read something, then the best option remains a traditional book, or maybe a Kindle!
Stay Away From Sleep Aids Except Melatonin
If you are traveling by yourself, be careful about taking sleep medication unless you understand the way it impacts you. Many over-the-counter sleep aids have antihistamines, that are usually longer acting and can make you feeling groggy.
If you need some help, consider melatonin. Although it is not regulated or even endorsed by the FDA, a few scientific studies show it may be helpful in shifting your circadian rhythm. A research has suggested that if your flight leaves in the early evening (typical of eastward travel), you need to take the melatonin prior to boarding.
Buckle Your Seatbelt Over The Blanket
To avoid getting woken up by the flight attendant who needs to check if you have buckled your seatbelt, ensure to wrap yourself in your blanket then buckle over it.
Now even if you fall asleep, flight attendants will find that you have your seatbelt on and allow you to sleep in peace.
I know, you are on vacation but no booze? Well, alcohol will not enable you to sleep soundly. It will promote sleep at the start and often lasts for 3 to 4 hours, and that is the time when you cannot resume sleep. In addition to that, you may wake up with a headache and feel thirsty. Which may lead to overdrinking of water which we are all aware regular bathroom trips will keep you awake longer.
Don’t consume a meal within 2 hours of attempting to fall asleep on a plane. Watch what you eat. Having fatty foods or overeating may feel uncomfortable and makes it harder for you to fall asleep. Once you consume a huge or a high fat meal, your heart must continue to work harder to pump much more blood to your intestines and stomach. Consuming huge amounts of oily meals may additionally result in changes which cause blood to clot easily. This is one thing you may wish to stay away from when you are on an extended flight.
Book The Most Direct Flight
Try to get a non-stop or the most direct flight, budget permitting of course. They will have the benefit of getting you right to your destination, without distrupting your sleep being forced to get off the airplane and again on a different one.
The longer you remain on a single plane, the better quality of sleep you will get. You may have many short naps, but they sure won’t beat a long night sleep without interruption.
Red-eye flights really help with sleep. They’re cheaper and they enable you to conserve on accommodation expenses, since you are able to fall asleep in the airplane. You’re not as likely to disrupt your typical sleeping pattern.
Forcing yourself to sleep throughout the day might cause intermittent sleep-wake syndrome. This occurs if you sleep just 1 to 4 hours at a time, many times throughout the day. Although you might still fill up your sleeping hours quota throughout the day, you’ll most likely encounter drowsiness and perhaps even insomnia.
Plan For Jet Lag
Your pre-flight plan depends on whether you are traveling east or west. If you are heading east, start your sleep at least half an hour to an hour earlier than normal in the days leading up to your trip. Attempt to get up 30 minutes earlier. This way you have shifted the entire sleeping window little earlier. A study found a mix of shifting sleep cycles and using melatonin that successfully allowed subjects to prevent jet lag entirely.
Research likewise implies when you are going east on an overnight flight, you need to stay away from exposure to light and attempt to sleep throughout the earlier half of the flight.
For people who are heading west, stay away from light exposure throughout the later half of the flight. Your circadian rhythm starts to delay. So if you are a night owl, flying west will benefit you the most.
To give an example, when you are flying from NYC to LA, you are currently 3 hours behind. Therefore when it has 3am in NYC, it’s just midnight in LA, making it an easier adjustment if you currently love staying up late. You will will also get to “sleep in” the following morning. Hence if you’ve an 8am meeting in LA, it will feel a lot more like 11am to your body.
However, the reverse of traveling east is normally harder. Arriving at 3am local time, your body believes it should still be midnight, and also getting up at 8am is going to be like 5am.
Adjust Your Body To The New Time Zone
Once you leave your city, begin to adjust as if you are already in new time zone of the destination. If you think you want a cup of morning coffee, have it as if you would be doing so at that time in the destination city. So if it is 11pm, then no. It doesn’t matter how you feel in the current time zone. The sooner you are able to start adjusting to the new destination, the better you will be the moment you arrive.
After You Have Landed
Do whatever it takes to stay up! If you have slept all day long, then you are likely to be up through the night, prolonging the problem. If you have to, keep it short, at most 15 to 30 minutes. You have to accept that it might have to take a couple of days to really feel entirely back to normal. Most people are able to shift the circadian rhythm approximately one hour each day. Therefore if you are groggy, hungry at strange times during the first couple of days, it is simply your body doing its part to adjust. Give it some time, and eventually you will be back to enjoying your vacation.