Traveling to new places can be the adventure of a lifetime, even if sleeping on a plane seems impossible. When the day comes to gather up your belongings and head to the airport, the exhilaration is overwhelming — that is, until you remember that you have a grueling 10-hour flight ahead of you. Arriving at your destination feeling groggy and cranky is definitely not part of your perfect itinerary. If you're anything like me, then you probably have a hard time falling asleep on planes, and that can make long-haul journeys nearly impossible. Even if you feel like you've tried everything, and especially if you feel like you've given up, it's important to remind yourself of the best ways to fall asleep on planes so you have a chance to look up rested after your flight.
Luckily for you, flying doesn't have to be so terrible if you're able to fit in some necessary shut-eye. To help you sleep your best when flying, follow these seven tips to ensure a peaceful flight that will leave you well-rested and ready to conquer your trip to its fullest. And whatever you do — don't go for that free alcoholic beverage because, contrary to what you may think, it will NOT help things.
1. Avoid caffeine, sugar, and alcohol.
Though it may seem tempting sip on some wine to calm your nerves or to stock up on candy to get you through a flight, consuming sugar or caffeinated beverages can keep you up through the duration of your flight. This goes for alcohol too, which can dehydrate you and wake you mid-flight. Fresh juice and water are always good ways to go.
2. Opt for the window seat.
Choosing the right seat may seem daunting, but many frequent travelers choose the window seat so they’re able to rest their head and won’t get disrupted by other passengers getting up and down. Experts recommend a seat towards the back of the plane, which isn’t as noisy.
3. BYOB (Bring Your Own Blanket)
Not all airlines provide blankets, but you will be much more comfortable sleeping with a blanket of your own, especially if the temperature in the cabin is cool. Purchasing a small, thin blanket that can fit into your purse will be key for breezy travel.
4. Adjust your sleep schedule.
Trying to plan your flight to sync with your natural biological clock is the best way to go when it comes to sleeping during travel. Though red-eyes seem brutal, they are often best because they coincide with your body’s circadian rhythms. A few days before your flight, go to bed earlier and wake up earlier to help get your body adjusted to its new schedule.
5. Buckle your seatbelt over your blanket.
During take-off and landing or during rough turbulence, your flight attendant won’t have to wake you if they can clearly see your seatbelt is buckled over your blanket or sweatshirt.
6. Turn off your TV screen.
If your airplane has personal television screens, shut yours off to prevent the artificial light from affecting your body’s production of melatonin, the neurotransmitter that helps regulate your sleep and wake cycles. Studies have found that this light can interfere with restful sleep, so avoid all electronics when trying to get some shut eye.
7. Take off your shoes and put on some cozy socks.
But make sure you have some socks! Not only will you feel more comfortable sans shoes, but it will help improve your body’s circulation, allowing your feet to naturally swell and keep your body relaxed. This well also help prevent blood clots on long flights.