Falling asleep on a plane
Traveling out of the country is one of the most exciting things that 66 million Americans do every year. Unfortunately, traveling abroad often times requires long and excruciating plane rides. They are hours of boredom during a time that you planned on living it up with beach days and lattes. The best way to pass the time though is just to sleep through it.
And thus we have our problem.
If you’ve ever tried to sleep on a plane before, you know the struggle. The turbulence makes you feel like someone is shaking you endlessly, and altitude changes can feel like a punch to the stomach.
But there are ways to overcome these difficulties. Here are 5 of my favorites!
Get a window seat
Window seats are always nice because you can enjoy the great view while flying. But they also have some somnolent advantages.
Place your pillow between you and the side of the plane and rest up against the window. This way you won’t need to sit upright the entire time, which we all know is a difficult position to sleep in.
Sleeping during a daytime flight can be especially difficult because all the open windows will bring a ton of light into the cabin. Having a window seat allows you to control the light intensity in your immediate proximity. If everyone around you has their windows open, a simple sleep mask will solve that problem.
A bonus to the window seat is that it will help with motion sickness!
Don’t look at your phone
As if there aren’t enough distractions while flying, we like to look at our phones in the middle of trying to sleep. If you want good quality sleep, stow away any electronic devices. The blue light emitted from phones and tablets, similar to sunlight, reduce melatonin levels — making it much more difficult to sleep.
On many international flights, there are TV’s on the back of every seat for in-flight entertainment. They are actually very tempting because they’ve got many of the newest movies and some really fun games on there. But the same goes for these. Don’t mess with them unless you’re not trying to sleep.
Stretch before boarding
I tried this one out for myself on a recent trip to Europe. Before I left for the airport, I stretched profusely until I felt really loose. After getting off the 9-hour flight, I felt just about good enough to do it again!
I also took measures during the flight to reduce any pain afterward. Sitting without twisting my body too much, keeping my legs straight with a slight bend at the knee, relaxing my arms by my side, and leaning my seat back all helped to decrease any uncomfortability.
On the way back, I didn’t stretch at all — and I certainly felt the difference. Aches in my back and legs were bothering me during and a few hours after the flight.
Sleep on the pullout tray
This is another alternative to sleeping while sitting straight up. While it might be tough for some to bend down enough to rest on the pullout tray, if you’re short then it will work. You can bring a pillow to put on it, or simply flip around your neck pillow and use it that way. It’s very similar to laying your head on a desk when you sleep in class.
By the way, I’m not advocating sleeping in class, nor am I saying that I’ve ever done it.
But it’s a lot like that.
I also tried this one on my recent trip and it seems that simply getting horizontal after sitting vertically for so long will help you doze off easier.
Listen to soothing music
once you get up in the air, you’ll quickly notice that the sound of the engine stays very loud and annoying. It’s tough to sleep with that constant noise unless for some reason it soothes you. This was the case for my friend who enjoyed the white noise type buzzing sound of the engine. Myself and many others I’ve spoken to do not find it soothing and would rather pop in headphones to drown it out. If you’re trying to sleep, listen to something with a soft slow beat. This will mix with the engine sound in the background to create a soothing white noise.
Don’t forget, these aren’t the only things you can do. Many people have personal preferences when it comes to getting comfortable on a plane. For example, I like to wear a hoodie and tie the hood closed around my head.
I may look weird but I don’t care because I’m asleep.
Don’t ignore the troubles that come along with an extensive plane ride. Take these tips into account and make your travel as comfortable as possible.
Also, let me know how these work for you and if there is a good one I left out!