Best Ways to Fall Asleep on a Flight


If you’ve ever suffered through a long flight, you know how difficult it is to get comfortable and actually fall asleep on a plane. Even people gifted with the ability to fall asleep instantly have issues sleeping while flying thanks to the noise, the cramped space and people moving around the cabin. If you’ve booked a flight and are hoping not to toss and turn for the entirety of it, take a look at these tips on how to get rest en route to your destination.

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1.) Choose the best seat 
Even in economy class, not all seats are created equal. If you want the best in-flight nap, snag a window seat when you book your flight. Not only can you lean against the window for head support, but you can also control the window-shade so you don’t have the sun glaring at you. There’s also the added benefit of not being disturbed when someone seated in your aisle needs to get up.

2.) Get the positioning right 
On very long flights, reclining to sleep is common. On shorter flights, this is a big no, no. It is important to be considerate of all your fellow passengers. We recommend asking the passenger in the seat behind you if it is okay for you to slightly recline your seat. Those extra 2 inches can be helpful when you’re exhausted, and it will help to support your lower back. For even less back tension, try to sit with both feet on the ground to avoid twisting your spine; keeping your legs uncrossed will also lower your risk of developing blood clots.

3.) Embrace the darkness 
Most people know that it’s hard to sleep when you have bright lights shining in your face, but yet they still keep their cell phone out all flight long. If you want to rest, make your area as dark as possible. Pull down the shades, turn your phone off and power down any backseat screens so you have the most ideal sleeping environment possible. Don’t forget to bring earplugs and a cozy eyemask to block out any unwanted brightness from a neighbor’s reading light.

4.) Try some sleep aids 
If you’re a nervous flyer, or if you have trouble sleeping, it may be beneficial for you to bring along a sleep aid (that is approved by your doctor, of course.) If you’re feeling wary of drugs like Dramamine that may make you groggy, try something a bit more natural with fewer side effects, like melatonin. You can even find blends made from chamomile and Valerian root.

5.) Skip the alcohol and free snacks 
While alcohol may calm your nerves, it certainly won’t help you sleep better on your flight. You’ll be dehydrated and probably feeling worse after your cat-nap, so just pass on the booze and just try to catch some shut-eye. In the same fashion, forgo treats off of the snack cart. Loading up on sugary and high salt-content foods will make it that much harder for you to rest. If you are worried about your appetite, eat a small meal an hour or two before take-off so you can digest before trying to get some sleep.

APR Content Team

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