In flight sleep is something that is quite challenging, what with the ever declining seat sizes and the passengers stuffed and seated so close to each other with hardly any elbow space. Then there are those situations out of your control – the talkative passengers, the crying children and the neighbor who puts the reading light on throughout the flight.
If you want to have a great travel experience, and enjoy your vacation, it’s very important that you sleep well, especially if you’re travelling across time zones, or you’ll end up jet lagged and waste the first two days catching up on your sleep. The best thing to do, of course is to fly business class, where there’s more leg room, the eye pads and ear plugs of great quality, and the seat almost reclining into a bed. But not everyone can afford the luxury of first class travel. Here are some tried and tested ideas to get you that much wanted in-flight sleep.
The kind of seat you book often determines whether you get a good in-flight sleep. Take a window seat. It gives you a wall to lean on, and nobody will disturb you, if they want to go to the restroom. The seats in front of the exit row usually don’t recline as also the seats in the last row. The Exit row seats may offer you more legroom, but you need to be alert in case of an air accident.
It’s important to block off noise, whether it’s your seat partner’s guffaws as he’s watching the in flight comedies, or noisy children or even the noise of the craft’s engine. Take along nice, silicone ear plugs which fit into your ears, and wear noise cancelling headphones, that cut off all sound.
Most people can’t sleep when there is light. And it is very annoying to have the sunlight straight on your face from the next row’s window. Wear eye masks that completely cover your eyes even from the sides, and some have a flap over the nose to completely block out the light. These also have broader and stronger straps, compared to the ones supplied by airlines.
If you really want to sleep well on a flight, decide that it’s all you’re going to do. No getting up to go to the restroom (do that as soon as you board the flight. They’re cleanest then), no movies, no beverages, no meals. Have a light meal half an hour before you board the flight. Just put on all the gear, mentioned here, and go into slumber land.
Protect your neck
Buy a nice comfortable neck pillow, so your head does not fall to one side when you nod off to sleep. And many people use it “backwards” with the largest part of the pillow, under your chin, propping up your head.
It’s important not to wear tight shoes, as most people tend to get swollen feet after a long flight. Wear one at least a size bigger. Similarly wear larger socks too. There are special slip-on footwear available with buckled straps over the front to help you loosen them, if necessary.
It is recommended that you wear layered clothing, so that you can take off some if it gets too warm on the flight. Never wear tight clothes, as these could restrict your breathing. If you are wearing business attire, loosen your tie and collar and cuffs, and relax.
Less cabin baggage
Try and fit all your stuff into one cabin bag. You could remove the essentials and keep it in the seat pocket in front of you, and keep the bag in the overhead cabin. If you carry two bags, you’ll have to keep one under the seat in front of you, so you don’t get enough leg space. If there is nothing under your feet, you can, after take off, recline your seat and stretch your legs nicely.
Prepare yourself before the Flight
Avoid caffeinated drinks and alcohol, before you fly, or they’ll stop you from nodding off. Make yourself tired before you board the flight. It’ll help you sleep faster, if you are tired. If reading helps you to sleep, take your favorite book along.
Let people know you don’t want to be disturbed
The last thing you want, when you’re dying to sleep throughout the flight, is a chatty neighbor. Some people love to talk. Politely inform the passenger seated next to you that you are going to sleep, and you really don’t want to have the in flight meals or beverage services. Or a very helpful neighbor will wake you up for the meal.