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How to sleep on a plane

If you’ve ever been on a long haul flight, you’ll understand just how hard it can be to get enough sleep. The fear that missed sleep with make you jet lagged and make your trip unpleasant only adds to the pressure.

Travel and Leisure have interviewed a sleep specialist to come up with the best ways to ensure a good night’s sleep while sky high. And the process begins before you even step onboard your flight.

Eat before you fly
Tricking your body into altering its circadian rhythm to match the time zone of your flight and destination can be one of the best ways to ensure you arrive refreshed. You’re probably used to eating dinner sometime before bed, so having a meal before you get on your flight will trick your body into thinking it’s time for bed. .

Reset your watch
It sounds inconsequential, but resetting your watch or adjusting the clock on your phone to match your destination will help to synch your body clock and allow you to wind down faster. 

Melatonin is the natural hormone your body produces to help you get to sleep. You can buy it at the chemist and, while doses are usually higher, you only need 1mg for the melatonin to take effect.  

Don’t drink alcohol
While a ‘night cap’ might help you feel drowsy for a while, once your body begins to process the sugar in the alcohol, it acts as a stimulant and can keep you awake.

Get comfy
Do yourself a favour and invest in a neck pillow. The extra support is much needed, especially if you’re in the middle seat where it can be harder to get comfortable.

Shut out to shut down
Never underestimate the power of a sleep mask and earbuds. Light is a stimulant and will keep you awake, so shutting it out altogether gives you the best chance of falling asleep. Even in the dead of night, a plane is filled with rustling and bumping sounds emanating from the mass of passengers and a busy cabin crew, so bringing along earbuds to block noise out could save you from missing out on a good night’s sleep.

If sleeping on a plane remains impossible, try to book a flight that arrives in the late afternoon. This will give you enough time to get your bags, have a meal and reach your accommodation before 10pm, which is the ideal time to go to sleep and readjust your body clock.

Do you struggle to sleep on flights? What are your secrets to getting a good night’s sleep on a plane?

Related articles:
Sleep poll delivers a wake-up call
How to make flying more comfortable
Will plane seats keep shrinking?

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Liv Gardiner
Liv Gardiner
Writer and editor with interests in travel, lifestyle, health, wellbeing, astrology and the enivornment.
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