Wouldn’t it be great to take a long haul flight and not have to worry about sleeping through the first three days of your vacation? While there’s no avoiding the dreaded jet lag, there are ways to get a reasonable level of sleep without taking copious amounts of valium. No need for a business class ticket – save your cash and sleep all the way in coach.
Try the following tips and you could be exploring your new destination in no time. They’re all natural (no sleep inducing drugs necessary) and listed in a somewhat chronological order.
- Wake up early
If you’re not flying first thing in the morning, try waking up early anyway. If you usually exercise, you can also go for a run, attend a yoga class or hit the gym. Rising early and using up some energy will help your body
relax later on and fall asleep more easily. If you have booked a morning flight, the early start should help, but you may want to consider booking an overnight flight next time so you can sleep most of the way.
- Mentally prepare
If you spend the time leading up to your flight dreading the thought of the non-existent leg room and crying baby you’ll probably be sitting next to, it’s not going to help you sleep. Remain zen and don’t let the journey stress you out before it has even begun.
- Avoid caffeine
On the day of your flight avoid your regular coffee and steer clear of all caffeinated drinks, including coke, energy drinks, and black tea. It’s also best to avoid very sugary drinks, as well as food.
- Request a window seat
You may usually prefer the aisle, but you’ll get a better sleep if you’re in a window seat. Not only is it better for leaning your pillow against, you’ll also avoid being woken by someone needing to use the bathroom.
- Stay hydrated, but not too much
It’s important to drink water and stay hydrated on flights, but be careful not to overdo it or you’ll find your sleep being interrupted by bathroom breaks. If you have a late flight, spend the morning drinking lots of water so you can tone down the volume while you’re in the air.
- Don’t watch T.V. the whole time
This is probably the hardest tip to follow, as the in-flight entertainment is seen by many as the silver lining in a cloud of uncomfortable transport. You don’t have to avoid T.V. altogether, but you definitely shouldn’t expect sleep to come easy if you’re watching film after film. Try watching one or two things at the start of your flight and then turn the screen off. Same goes for your electronic devices, such as smartphones, tablets, and computers.
- Read something complicated
Now that watching T.V. has been minimized, you’ll need another activity to keep you busy before bedtime. Reading something complicated is quite possibly the best, all natural sleep inducing technique out there. We all have something we’ve been avoiding on our reading list – now is the time to finally attempt it. It all depends on your tastes, but this could be anything from classic literature or history, to your physics homework or language study.
- Order a night cap
Okay, alcohol is technically a drug, but a glass of red wine or a bit of whisky can do wonders if you’re struggling to reach sleep-mode. To keep it healthy, you could order a cup of chamomile tea instead.
- Wear comfy and warm clothing
It may have been sunny weather when you departed, but the temperature inside airplanes can be likened to your average refrigerator, so make sure you have brought a sweater (with a hood is ideal), socks, and comfy pants. Put them on before bedtime.
- Use an eye mask
All eye mask advocates know the value of this simple and inexpensive accessory. For those who have never given it a proper chance because the middle bit tickles your nose or the pressure on your eyes is too much, it’s time to try again. There are slightly more fancy masks out there that address the noted annoyances, so buy one of those if the simple masks provided by the airline don’t float your boat.
- Full recline
Yes, it’s often frustrating when the person in front of you reclines to the max, but this is necessary for the best sleep possible. Throw out airplane etiquette and recline all the way.
- Wrap up tight
Use the provided blanket and wrap yourself tight. Seriously, swaddle yourself like a baby. There is no scientific proof that this works, but it does.
- Don’t be a slave to meal times
The airline will continue to serve meals at high frequency, even if it’s the middle of the night. If you want a good sleep, you can’t be waking up for every meal and snack. If available, put a ‘do not wake for meals’ sticker on your chair. If not, simply ask the flight attendant not to wake you. If you have a nice neighbor, you can even ask them in advance to put the meal on your tray for you so you can still eat it when you wake up naturally.
- Bring music or ear plugs
It’s better to not have to use these, but it’s a good idea to bring them along in case you’re seated next to a snorer or noisy people. It’s hard enough sleeping in an actual bed with noise around, so you need to come prepared if you want to get any sleep on an airplane.
Author: Slumberless Team
Slumberless is a small group of people that are passionate about finding ways to have a more restful sleep every night