We’ve all tried to do it. And we all know it will never be as good as eight straight at home. But sleeping on airplanes is a necessary thing for anyone who travels frequently, especially internationally. But how do you get the best quality sleep while sitting upright with no personal space? Here are some tips.
Find a good seat. Obviously first or business class is great, but that’s not always available. The next best seat is a window in a bulkhead, where you’ll be able to lean on a wall, control the window shade, and have extra legroom. After that, choose a regular window seat. At least there you will have access to the wall and window shade. An aisle is okay, but not optimal, and of course the middle seat is never ideal. An empty seat next to you helps a lot, and having a row to yourself is even better (although almost impossible to find these days).
Bonus: If you’re in a bulkhead, use your personal item as a footrest. It gives you more options for body positions, which helps keep any one part of your body from hurting a lot (ie, tailbone).
Do the same stuff you do at home. Avoid caffeine several hours before trying to sleep. Don’t eat crazy spicy or heavy food right before. Don’t drink tons of alcohol, since that can dehydrate you and ruin the quality of your sleep. Wash your face (or use a cleansing cloth), read for a few minutes, have some herbal tea. Doing your normal routine will help ease you to sleep.
Get cozy and comfy. The most important items are a travel blanket and pillow. Inflatable pillows don’t take up much room, but make sure they have a nice cover so you’re not laying your head on rubber. I love wrapping myself in my Cabin Cuddler for sleeping on long flights.
Isolate yourself. An eye mask will block out your neighbor’s offending reading light and make you feel like you’re all alone. Adding ear plugs or noise canceling headphones helps even more. I love noise canceling headphones and my White Noise app.
Sleep aids. Not everyone needs a sleep aid, but I’ve found that Tylenol PM really helps me sleep more comfortably on flights. Some people like something stronger, such as Ambien, and some people use natural options, such as Melatonin.
Short flights. If you’re only trying to catch an hour or so, some of the above suggestions still help. Avoid caffeine, look for a window seat, and use your pashmina to cover up. I will often use my headphones, although usually skip the eye mask for a short flight.
Readers, how do you get a good night’s sleep while flying?