Sleep Hacks for a Long Haul Flight
Happy Saturday everyone!
Long flights can be very uncomfortable, especially if you are unprepared. In a previous GOTS post, we discussed how you can stay fresh during long flights. But since many people spend most of their time sleeping on flights, it’s important to talk about the matter as well.
Seasoned travelers often say that it’s next to impossible to have continuous sleep for hours during a long haul flight, unless you’re flying first class. The tight seat arrangements, turbulence, and noisy passengers as well as crew making their way around make it difficult. But even if there’s little hope in terms of sleep quantity, you can improve your sleep quality with a little help. Here are some hacks that could help improve your sleep while on a flight:
1. Choose the window seat
Before you even get on the plane, you can reserve or request a window seat. This makes it a whole lot easier, since you can lean your head on the side of the plane instead of trying to take a nap in an upright position.
Window seats also grant you control of light exposure. If you’re not flying during the night, keep the window shades closed. The National Sleep Foundation iterates that too much light can hurt your bedtime, since the exposure “stimulates a nerve pathway from the eye to parts of the brain that control hormones, body temperature and other functions that play a role in making us feel sleepy or wide-awake.”
In case you aren’t able to reserve a window seat, you can bring a sleeping mask. If your seatmate is inconsiderately keeping the blind up, at least you will be able to block the light out.
2. Wear the neck pillow backwards
An Entrepreneur article stated that using the neck pillow as expected is “not worth schlepping along.” Instead, they suggest wearing it backwards so that your neck stays in place. This prevents you from making those sudden head-jerking movements when you’re asleep.
3. Take natural sleeping aids
Some people take over-the-counter sleeping pills to help them get through a flight. Experts advise against this practice because they contain antihistamines, which have longer effects.
What you could do is take vitamins and nutrients which induce better sleep, according to a blog post by Leesa. To be specific, eat food rich in magnesium which is vital in relaxing muscles and preventing cramps. Potassium also has similar effects and so does calcium, which is another natural body relaxant apart from its bone strengthening properties. This is precisely why a glass of milk is good before bedtime.
4. Avoid wearing restrictive clothing
It can be tempting to be fashionable when traveling, but clothing such as tight jeans and heels may disrupt your sleep. Although, there’s no need to worry as you can still look great even with loose clothing. Opt for clothes with breathable fabrics like cotton, and wear flip-flops or sandals. Conversely, it is also recommended to bring warm socks, since getting cold feet may disrupt your slumber. The rule of thumb is to don clothes that have similarities with your night wear.
5. Skip the video entertainment
Most airlines today come with a large selection of movies and TV shows for passengers to enjoy throughout the flight. If you’re trying to fall asleep, you may want to ignore them altogether. The shows stimulate your brain, keeping you more alert. Plus, the blue light emitted from the screens can decrease your melatonin production, making it harder for you to fall asleep. What you can do is read a book or a magazine, since it is a more calm and relaxing activity.
For more topics on sleep, you can browse through other GOTS blog posts.
Have a great weekend!