I am just coming off of a nine and a half hour flight from Denver to Frankfurt. With another flight in a few hours, to say that I am sleepy is a bit of an understatement. While many experts urge travelers to start their jet-lag training when the flight begins, not everyone is blessed with one of the greatest travel gifts, being able to sleep on an airplane. I used to envy these people as I sat up in the dark cabin observing mouths gaping and plenty of snoring. However, after some practice, even those who claim they can’t sleep on planes like myself can hit the snooze button up in the air. If you struggle with snoozing on an airplane, practice these five simple tips to help you sleep on board.
Pack and Use an Eye Mask: While you might feel a bit silly packing an eye mask and wearing it on the plane, those who end up counting sheep on long flights where you need the sleep should try using them. As I struggled to sleep on my long transatlantic flight, I dug into the far reaches of my bag for my eye mask. By blocking out any distractions and the light, I was able to get some shuteye. Even if you are skeptical, try flying with an eye mask and see if you can doze off a little easier.
Avoid Alcohol and Caffeine Before and During Your Flight: The row across from me ordered up coffee and beer before and during the in-flight meal. As it was 2AM at the destination, I shook my head and waited to see if they would sleep. Despite popular belief, those glasses of wine on the flight won’t necessarily help you pass out. In fact, alcohol can keep you awake on board. In order to give myself the best possible chance of sleeping on a plane, I avoid caffeine several hours before my flight and resist the urge to order a glass of wine with dinner. I can usually sleep a few hours on long flights if I lay off of the caffeine and alcohol.
Study Seat Maps For Perches That Could Provide Better Sleeping Positions: Before my flight to Frankfurt, I made certain to study the airline’s seat map in order to determine the best seat for sleeping. I was lucky enough to score a seat in a row with just one other person and extra leg room. Having a better perch on the flight can sometimes translate into a better night’s rest on board. If you are the type of sleeper that needs something to lean against, a window seat might be the best spot for you. If you need ample space to stretch your legs, look for seats that might have more room than the majority of seats on board.
Try To Recreate Your Sleeping Routine From Home For the Airplane: In those first few moments where I struggled to sleep on board, I tried to visualize how I sleep at home. I imagined I was in my own bed, comfortable and tired. As I have to fall asleep to some noise by way of the TV, I plugged in a TV show and quickly dozed off on my flight. Travelers who struggle to sleep on planes should try their best to recreate their sleeping routine at home. You should think of how you are able to sleep at home and recreate those practices on the plane. If you must have total silence to fall asleep back home, use ear plugs on your flight. If you normally take a relaxing shower before bed, try using soothing scented lotions like lavender and eucalyptus to recreate this same practice.