How to Get a Bit of Decent Sleep on a Plane

Heading off to some far-off land on a long haul flight? You don’t sacrifice a good night’s sleep just because you won’t be horizontal, even if you are flying in Economy-Ecomony (as in the really cheap seats)

Here are our best tips on how to get some decent sleep on a plane and arrive at your destination relatively well-rested and (almost) raring to go.

Try to Pick a Good Seat

The seat you are assigned on a plane can make a significant difference to your chances of getting some sleep, so if you have the chance to choose, go for it. Some airlines do allow you pick your seat during the booking process, while others will open up a seat selection option to you once you have gone through the online check-in. Whatever your options, pick that seat as soon as you can!

But, you ask, just which seats are best for sleeping on a plane? Assuming here that you’re flying economy class, your best option would be a seat in the emergency exit row: that way you’ll be able to stretch out your legs and won’t be disturbed by your seatmates moving in and out of their seats.

If those have already been snapped up by others keen to get some good shut-eye, try for a window seat instead. In a window seat, you’re less likely to be bothered, and you’ll be able to lean on the side of the plane for a little extra sleep room. Whatever you do, avoid taking seats that don’t recline (e.g. the last row of the plane)

Don’t Try to Booze Yourself to Sleep

Thinking about knocking yourself out with a glass of wine or a cheeky G&T or two on the flight? Think again – you may be regretting that decision when you wake up a few hours later needing to use the toilet. You’ll also feel the effects of dehydration more quickly while in a pressurized cabin, and that certainly won’t help you sleep. Even worse, dehydration is one of the main causes of jetlag, so it won’t help you at the other end either. Stick to juice and soda – unless by some miracle you are flying with an airline that still does complimentary booze in which case maybe one glass is OK, free is free – and you’ll sleep better on the plane and feel much better when you land.

Bring Along a Few Sleep Aids

Being realistic, unless you can afford to upgrade to first class you’re not going to get the most comfortable night’s sleep on a plane. But you can make it more bearable by bringing a few sleep aids on the flight with you:

Eye masks – If you have trouble falling asleep without total darkness, then covering your eyes on a plane is an absolute must! A comfortable eye mask should do the trick. It will also serve as a silent cue to others that, yes, you are trying to sleep and now is not the time for conversation.

Earplugs – It’s easy to be jarred awake by sudden noises in the cabin, from conversations to passenger movement to the overhead compartments slamming shut. If you’re a light sleeper, block out the noise with some earplugs.

Snore Strips – Too scared to try to sleep on the plane because you know you snore and you want to avoid becoming the subject of some annoyed passenger’s Snap or Insta feed? Take along a few ‘snore strips’. Once applied, a clear nasal snore strip gently expands your nasal passages to increase airflow, relieve congestion, silence snoring and allow you – and your fellow travelers – to sleep in peace.

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