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Do you struggle to sleep while flying? I know I do! And it’s no wonder: airplanes aren’t exactly designed for comfort! But, it is possible to get some rest during your next flight! Keep reading to see how these 9 tips can help you sleep better on airplanes!
- Tip #1: Use a sleep mask.
- Tip #2: Bring noise-cancelling headphones.
- Tip #3: Wear layers.
- Tip #4: Invest in a quality travel pillow.
- Tip #5: Wear loose fitting shoes.
- Tip #6: Wear comfortable clothes.
- Tip #7: Consider taking melatonin.
- Tip #8: Pick your seat strategically.
- Tip #9: Consider flying during normal sleeping hours.
Tip #1: Use a sleep mask.
One of the biggest challenges to getting good sleep on planes is the inability to control the lighting.
Even if the cabin lights are turned down, you can’t control when they are turned on or off. You also can’t prevent someone sitting near you from turning on a reading light or using electronics.
According to sleep experts, exposure to light affects your sleep by interfering with your circadian rhythms and suppressing your melatonin levels.
So, in order to sleep better on airplanes, it’s important to block out as much light as possible. The easiest ways to do this is by using a sleep mask during your flight.
I find that whenever I use my sleep mask when flying, I sleep so much better! It keeps the light level at a constant darkness so I can fall into a deeper level of sleep.
Tip #2: Bring noise-cancelling headphones.
Another thing that can greatly disrupt your sleep while traveling is noise. It doesn’t matter if it is a crying baby, a couple of chatterboxes, or someone watching a movie without headphones, noise can kill any hopes you have of sleeping.
Recently, on a flight from Texas to North Carolina, I was so tired and just wanted to take a nap. Yet, that was impossible, thanks to three screaming children sitting behind me. And unfortunately, I didn’t have any headphones with me to block out the chaos.
So, having a pair of noise-cancelling headphones is key. These will eliminate all of the noise around you, even if you don’t have any music playing through them. These headphones can instantly transport you from a noisy airplane to silent oasis of zen.
Tip #3: Wear layers.
You never know what the temperature will be like on an airplane. Sometimes, it is super warm. Other times, it is so cold that you feel like you are sitting in a refrigerator.
It can be difficult to sleep if you aren’t comfortable or if the temperature is not what you are used to when sleeping.
In order to ensure that the temperature on your flight is perfect for you to get some shut eye, wear layers during your flight. Layer a sweater or sweatshirt over a t-shirt. Wear pants (or bring a lightweight blanket). And don’t forget to wear (or bring) some socks with you in case your feet get cold.
Having options and layers as far as your clothing is concerned will allow you to adjust to the temperature of the plane so you can reach a level of comfort and relaxation that is conducive to sleep.
Tip #4: Invest in a quality travel pillow.
The next tip to getting better sleep on airplanes is to invest in a good quality travel pillow. It’s no surprise that the more comfortable you are, the better you are able to sleep. And a good travel pillow can be the difference between being comfortable and feeling miserable on an airplane.
There are tons of different travel pillows on the market these days. So, experiment and shop around until you find the one that works best for you.
Tip #5: Wear loose fitting shoes.
Sitting for long periods of time during a flight will cause your feet to swell. If you are wearing shoes that are tight at the start of your flight, this can cause them to become very uncomfortable by the time you land. And this discomfort can disrupt your sleep.
Wearing loose fitting shoes on your travel day will give your feet space to expand while in the air. This can lead to greater comfort and a more restful flight.
Tip #6: Wear comfortable clothes.
Just like wearing loose fitting shoes can help you be more relaxed during your next flight, wearing comfortable clothing can also help you get more sleep.
Choose an outfit that will let you adjust to the temperature of the plane and that will not be too constricting or ride up on you. Pick a soft fabric that won’t irritate your skin.
While looking good is important, when traveling, comfort should take priority over fashion. If you need to look professional soon after landing, consider packing your preferred outfit in your carryon and changing once you land.
Tip #7: Consider taking melatonin.
My next tip for getting better sleep on airplanes is to consider taking melatonin before your flight.
According to the National Center for Complementary and Integrative Health, melatonin is a hormone produced by our brains that helps us to sleep. Melatonin dietary supplements can help boost your body’s natural production and help you sleep. This means that taking one before your flight could help you get better zzzz’s while in the air.
While melatonin supplements appear to be safe to take in the short term, you should consult your doctor before taking them and check the label for any allergies you may have.
Also, while these supplements are readily available in the United States, in many other countries, they require a prescription from a doctor.
Tip #8: Pick your seat strategically.
Another tip to help you sleep better on airplanes is to pick your seat strategically.
First, think about whether you will be more comfortable in an aisle or window seat. If you are tall, an aisle seat may be better for you so you can stretch your legs out a bit more. If, on the other hand, you are smaller in stature, a window seat may be more comfortable. This would allow you to lean your head against the window to sleep.
Additionally, you should also think about where within the plane is most conducive to sleep.
Sitting in an exit row may give you more leg room but it may come with more of a roar due to being closer to the engines. Likewise, it’s not a good idea to sit close to the restrooms if you are wanting to sleep during the flight.
Tip #9: Consider flying during normal sleeping hours.
My last tip for getting better sleep on airplanes is to try to schedule your flights during or close to your normal sleeping hours. During these times, you will naturally be more tired, which will make it easier for you to fall asleep.
I find that I usually have no problem sleeping during red eye flights.
If you can’t get a flight during your normal sleep time, then try to schedule one that requires you to get up and head to the airport during a time when you would normally be asleep. This can cause you to be extra tired, which can sometimes help you sleep once you take off.
It is not always easy to sleep while flying, but these tips can help you sleep better on airplanes. I hope you are able to get some good rest on your next trip!
For more tips on flying, see how to actually enjoy long flights, how to maximize your comfort on long flights, airport safety tips, how to save on airfare, tips to reduce anxiety when flying, how to avoid losing your luggage, and tips to get through airport security easier. Also, check out my tips on flying with kids and mistakes to avoid when flying with toddlers.
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