Flights can be fun. You can gaze at the 'Grammable clouds and stunning sunset right outside your window, watch that movie you've been meaning to see, and snack on those tasty cookies the flight attendants hand out. (Seriously, why are they so good?) But when you're trying to catch some Zs, planes are not exactly the best environment to help you snooze. Sure, there's the steady rumble of the engines, but you also might have to deal with babies crying and the discomfort of trying to drift off to sleep while sitting up. Figuring out how to sleep on a plane can be stressful, so whether you're settling in for the night on a long-haul flight, or just want to take advantage of the opportunity for a quick nap, here are some tips to help you snooze away, up in the clouds.
Elite Daily spoke with clinical sleep educator and Saatva sleep expert, Terry Cralle, RN, who tells us, "Cramped seats make it tough to get comfortable, loud engine noise and bright cabin lights make it hard to relax, and recirculated air leaves you feeling mummified by the time you land." Not to mention, the constant disruptions you might face from the person beside you needing to get up, pilot announcements, or sudden bouts of turbulence, Cralle says.
If you're desperate to get some shuteye during your flight, start by planning carefully while you book your flight. If you have the option to choose where you sit, Cralle recommends that you take advantage of that.
"The key to sleeping on a plane is to filter out as many disturbances as possible," Cralle explains. "Book a window seat so nobody bothers you to get up. Ask the flight attendant not to wake you for breakfast. Choose a seat away from the restroom to avoid added disruptions."
Whether you're the kind of person who opts for your coziest pair of sweats to keep you warm during your journey, or you like to wear dressier attire, feeling your best and comfiest is a great way to get your body and mind into a place of relaxation.
"Make yourself as comfortable as possible," sleep expert James Cobb, RN, MSN tells Elite Daily. "Put your glasses in your shirt pocket or in another secure place. Wear loose fitting, comfortable clothes."
If you're flying overnight, do your best to replicate your regular night routine, Cobb also suggests. So, if you never skip mouthwash at home, bring along a flight-approved bottle of mouthwash to rinse. If you always apply a moisturizing creme, take a minute to walk to the bathroom and rub it on your skin.
Even if you're hoping to get a full eight hours of sleep, try to let go of expectations. "Instead, be okay with dozing," Cralle tells Elite Daily. "A technique you can practice is to go from head-to-toe relaxing each area by 'breathing into' the area."
You might be vehemently #TeamNeckPillow or passionately in favor of #TeamNoNeckPillow, and that choice is totally up to what makes you feel best. But when it comes to ear plugs, this travel accessory might actually not be as important as another.
Instead of ear plugs, Matthew Ross, sleep expert and co-owner and COO of mattress review website The Slumber Yard, recommends using noise-canceling headphones. "Not only do they block out external noise better, but you can also play soothing sounds like waves crashing or light wind chimes to help you fall asleep," he tells Elite Daily.
I personally love starting up a new NPR podcast (no tea, no shade) to help usher me into dreamland, but hey, whatever floats your boat.