How to Sleep on a Long Plane Flight
Getting off the plane well rested is an art form, so how do you do it?
Saturday, 6 January 2018
When you're on a long flight, and especially a 'red-eye' that departs in the evening and arrives at your destination the next morning, you're most likely going to want to get some sleep on the plane. This can be hard to do, so below I'm sharing some of my experiences on how best to get at least a few hours of shut-eye.
Choose the Right Seat
Where you sit on the plane can affect how much you're disturbed in flight, so do try and select your seat as soon as you can. For me there are a couple of tactics I will always try:
- Get the window seat - Sitting against the window completely minimises the chance you'll be woken by your neighbour needing to get up. You will also get the option of being able to lean your head against the cabin, and you'll also avoid the chances that your leg will get whacked by the crew of other passengers going up and down the aisle. I'd always try and avoid the middle seat as it has no advantages whatsoever.
- Sit away from the toilet and crew area - These locations will always be the busiest on the plane with people needing to go to the loo, or the crew preparing food and drinks. At times you'll have noticed people will need to queue for the loo, and if you're sitting opposite, you can often get disturbed
Increase your chances of sleep by getting comfortable. I'd always recommend an eye-mask and ear-plugs. These help keep out the sights and sounds of travelling on a plane and you might also find a neck pillow helps you rest your head. Also, wear loser fitting clothing and even take your shoes off. Our bodies also start to relax and prepare for sleep when we sense it getting cooler at night. With this in mind, try not to bundle yourself up in too many layers. Also, heed the crews' advice of wearing your belt over the blanket so that they don't have to wake you to check if you're wearing it. I find doing getting into sleep mode as soon as I board the most successful, and whilst you don't want to be rude, try to avoid starting up conversations with your neighbours.
As with good advice for getting to sleep at home, don't keep checking your electronic devices before trying to sleep. The strong levels of blue light that electronic screens produce mess with your bodies production of the sleep hormone melatonin. So turn that phone off, and don't even think about flicking through the movie selection in the onboard entertainment system.
Eat Before you Board
This goes hand-in-hand with not wanting to be disturbed during the flight. Make sure you've eaten and taken fluids before getting on board. That way you'll not be hungry enough to be waiting for the food cart to come around, and it might also reduce your need to get up for the toilet.
Sleeping on board a plane is never easy, particularly when in economy class. However, with some of these tips, it's certainly possible to catch a number of hours sleep leaving you more refreshed when you land.Back to Articles