Have you ever been on a plane and tried very hard to sleep with no success? Everybody has! Airplanes are crowded, noisy places and trying to get some zzzs while on one can be quite a challenge. However, getting a good sleep while flying is the best way to avoid jet lag during a long flight. It is also a great way to pass the time during the flight with the added bonus of reaching your destination all freshened up, rested and ready for action! Ready to face the challenge of sleeping on a plane comfortably? Follow this list of things and you are bound to be sleeping like a baby before you say can turbulence!
1. Seat, seat, seat!
Picking the correct seat is one of the most important ingredients in the comfortable sleep recipe. Avoid the middle, or even the aisle seat if you do not want to wake up whenever a fellow traveler needs to use the restroom. Aim for a seat next to a window. Not only does it provide you with a peaceful atmosphere, but you can also draw the blinds and rest your head on them. Can’t manage to get a window seat? Do not despair! Just keep reading.
2. Travel light.
OK, I am a girl too and I understand. A week of holidays DOES excuse stuffed luggage that could easily sustain you for a month without you having to wear the same tee twice! If you have to overdo it, however, overdo it on the check-in luggage only. Take only the very basics on board with you. Stuff them all in a bag and put the bag up in the cabinet. Leave plenty of space to spread those feet; it’s important.
3. Keep yourself warm.
Do not let the temperature of the room before takeoff fool you. In most cases, when you are up there in the air, the temperature drops drastically, and trying to sleep with goose bumps does not really allow for comfortable sleeping. If the airline does not provide you with blankets or you forgot to bring your own, then leave that jacket on. You will appreciate it later.
4. Bring your own blanket and pillow.
I am not trying to sound like hypochondriac, but my idea of snuggling up in my blankie and sleeping does not involve some stranger having slept in it before me! So do bring your own. An added bonus is that familiar textures and smell can actually help you relax and fall asleep more easily. The same thing applies for pillows. Bring one along if they work for you, especially if you are are not seated by the window, to have something to support your head with.
5. Belt above your blanket.
If you do not want to be woken up by the air hostess every time the fasten your seat belt sign is on, then make sure she can she your seat belt fastened at all times! Best way to do that? Just fasten your seat belt above your blanket or coat and try to keep it uncovered and visible at all times. If she can see your seat belt fastened, she is bound not to disturb you further, especially if you are asleep.
6. Ask to not be disturbed.
Why go to all the effort of managing to get your seat belt showing at all times, only to find yourself being woken up to be asked if you would like something to drink? Air hostesses make a lot of trips up and down the aisle inquiring for drinks, food or merchandise products. Summon the air hostess and kindly inform them that you would like to be undisturbed throughout those passages because you would like to sleep. Problem solved.
7. Use earplugs or noise elimination earphones.
Here comes one of the biggest issues. Noise! There is no other way to avoid it but by employing your earplugs. Use a pair you have tried before that you know won’t cause you any discomfort. Another great option is sound eliminating earphones. In addition to shutting out the noise, they will provide you with your favorite music too. Read more about this next.
8. La musica!
I don’t even have to go through the benefits of music as a medium for relaxation. And since you already have those earphones on, play your favorite laid-back album, sit back and drift off! If your taste does not really comply to the laid-back standards, worry not. There are million albums of relaxation music you could use exactly for situations like this. Search up Google and prepare!
9. Wear a sleep mask.
You might be travelling through a different time zone, hence having to sleep while it is still pretty bright outside. Or the lights of the plane might disturb you because it is not a common sleeping time so the lights are not off. In any case, using a mask will do the trick. Not only does it bring darkness, but it makes you feel more “hidden” too. Don’t take me for a weirdo, but it does feel right to have my face covered even partially when I am asleep. It gives some sense of privacy I suppose.
10. If all else fails, meditate!
You forgot the earplugs, or the kid sitting next to you is ultra loud. Or in any case your eyes just won’t shut even though you followed all the above. Again do not despair, there is even a solution for when eventually you cannot fall asleep! This solution is meditation. It might not sound as drastic as actually falling asleep, but it has actually been found that meditation can be as relaxing and resting. So if all else fails or if you decided you don’t want to sleep all that much anyway, close those eyes, sit back and OOOOOM (preferably silently).
Featured photo credit: Chad Kainz via flickr.com