Humans are not biologically designed to sleep while sitting. Sleeping while on board a craft flying at an altitude of tens of thousands of feet, with passengers talking in hushed voices, babies crying and the engine noise steadily whirring in the background, do not make planes the best sleeping quarters for anyone. The cramped economy seats, the occasional bumpy air pockets and the flashes of lightning can all contribute to restlessness that makes sleeping a huge challenge while globetrotting.
Whether you are on the verge of an exciting adventure or you are on your way to do business, there is nothing like being totally rested and collected while flying. Not being able to get enough sleep on the plane can ruin your first 36 hours once you landed to catch up on sleep. If you are wondering “What’s the best way to sleep on a plane?” try reading the post by Natalie Paris published at Telegraph Travel. She offered ten tips to get a good night sleep while crossing great distances by planes.
Splurge on your seat
… Fly business class. Or better still, first class, says Dr Richard Dawood, the Telegraph’s travel health expert. It’s a nice option if you can afford it.
… it is sensible to travel in the highest or most comfortable class that you can afford..
Even if you cannot travel in a premium class, you may be able to pay a little more for a seat with extra leg room. Most airlines offer this option when booking..
Pick a quiet spot
… the most in-demand seat on a plane is in 7F, near the front of the plane … Those seeking peace and quiet may wish to avoid the front, however, as this is where parents with babies will often travel, and where flight attendants will be clattering around with drinks trolleys.
So consider the back of the aircraft. Window seats obviously reduce the chance of being disturbed and also give you somewhere to rest your head.
Keep it loose – except around your calves
If you are aiming to sleep, travel in comfortable, non-constricting clothing (apart from compression stockings).
For those in first- or business-class, this is a no-brainer.
What about the rest of us? … Dr Dawood believes that the best position (controversially for those behind you) is to put your seat back as far as possible. “Recline as much as possible and make yourself as comfortable as conditions permit,” he says.
There may be unoccupied seats on the flight that you can overflow into – consider asking cabin crew if you can move should you spot an empty row.
If you are lucky enough to have a free neighbouring seat, you can curl up foetal-style on your side, though forget about trying this if you’ve got long legs.
Get your buckle out
There is nothing more annoying than being on the verge of nodding off, only for a member of cabin crew to prod you, trying to find out whether you’re buckled up. Keeping your seatbelt visible above your clothes before take off will prevent this.
More sleep strategies on a plane
If you intend to catch your “40 winks,” avoid small talks, don’t drink too much booze, avoid the TV, bring a pillow, and if all these fail, pop a pill.
Avoiding small talks with your next-seat neighbor can be a challenge if you happen to sit beside a passenger who is “overly sociable.” How do you avoid small talks? Travel with a book you can flash around that screams “Don’t talk to me!” Other “non-verbal” signals that you are not interested to chat are headphones and talking in an incomprehensible foreign language.
While booze can make your head light and sleepy, it is best to avoid it when you are about to board a plane. Caffeine and having a full stomach can keep you wide awake and are not recommended. Instead, have an herbal tea that can relax your stomach.
Watching TV can be a fabulous way to kill time, but the light from the screen can stimulate your brain to wakefulness. A better alternative is to listen to relaxing music. You can also cancel the noise using headphones.
Bring a pillow that can make you sleep better in your favorite sleeping position. There are several options out there such as the Try a pillow “ostrich” pillow and the “elastic band” pillow.
If you are on a long haul flight and you want to spend most hours in the dreamland, Dr. Dawood suggests popping a short-acting sleeping tablet that can let you sleep for about 4 hours. You must, however, only consider it if you can lie down flat. If you will resort to popping a sleeping pill, take note that it can leave you disoriented, feeling drowsy and unable to act with haste during emergencies. Make sure you will take something safe; it is best to seek medical advice before deciding on this option and the brand of the pill.
“Sleeping deeply in a cramped, upright, seated position can significantly increase the risk of deep vein thrombosis (DVT), and should therefore be avoided. (If you really must do this, be sure to wear compression stockings.)”
Once you get to your destination, there’s more sleep problems you’ll likely experience …jetlag. You can still use some of the tips here pills when you find sleep is eluding you. While the use of short-acting pills can readily address wakefulness, it must be considered as a last resort.