Going on vacation is great but getting to that destination is a different story. Long flights mean a longer time in small seats, a crying baby or two, and most importantly little to no sleep. If you are the type of person that can fall asleep easily when traveling, these tips may be of little use to you, but for those that are looking for a great sleep on the plane, these few suggestions may change your flight habits for the better. Now I can not promise quality in-flight sleep cycles; economy class is going to warrant economy sleep, but the tips will definitely give you comfort sleep that lasts for a great chunk of your flight.
Tip 1: Choosing your seat
Before heading on the plane, if possible, choose the seat you know will be most comfortable for you. If you know you have fairly strong bladder and require minimal interaction to help fall asleep, aim for the window seat. Also, give up the extra legroom from the exit seat because exit row seats do not recline.
Tip 2: Wear Comfy Clothes
Airport fashion is important to the average Korean idol, but you, unfortunately, are most likely not staying in the same class as them, so make sure to wear clothes you know would be comfortable to sleep in. Avoid tight jeans, anything tight around the neck, and clothing that is too warm. For long flights, there will always be blankets for you if you get chilly, but trying to sleep while overheating on a plane is not fun.
Tip 3: Sleeping Aids
Over-the-counter sleeping supplements are an easy way to help you fall asleep on planes. The most popular and well-known sleeping aid is melatonin. Melatonin is a hormone naturally produced in our bodies. It is in no way a sedative but does assist in the sleep-wake cycle.
Other popular over-the-counter medications are Bonine and Dramamine. These are originally for managing motion-sickness, but they also double as a sedative. In terms of getting to sleep quickly and staying asleep, Dramamine is the medication for you. But if traveling alone, be warned that it makes you extremely drowsy.
Many doctors and professionals recommend melatonin as the first choice when looking for medication to help with sleep and to actively avoid any over-the-counter sleeping aids that contain antihistamines. These may last you too long and will leave you feeling groggy. However, there are a lot of different sleep supplements. You can check out the best over the counter sleep aids on this article written by Happysleepyhead.
Tip 4: Neck Pillows
You do not realize how much you suffer through a flight until that one sleeping position you found after 2 hours from take-off has completely destroyed your neck. Bringing a neck pillow will not only help you fall asleep but because it helps keep your neck stationary and comfortable, and will help you stay asleep.
Tip 5: Pack Light
Whether it be domestic or an international flight, bring only the bare necessities in your carry-on luggage. Make sure whatever you can bring can fit in your stow-away bag and in a small shoulder or hip bag. This frees up a lot of your space under your seat giving you more legroom and creating a wider space for you to get comfortable and recline your seat.
Tip 6: Avoid Alcohol and Coffee
Although the drinks cause very different body reactions, it is best to avoid them during a flight you plan or hope to catch a little shut eye on. Alcohol will slow your body down and will help make you fall asleep, but this slumber will only last for about an hour to 2 hours, and after you have woken up, it will be almost impossible to fall back asleep again. As for coffee, it will do that exact opposite to the body, but ultimately causing the same result. Caffeine will not make you drowsy obviously and those with a low caffeine tolerance will most likely feel its effects sooner. Like, alcohol, falling back to sleep with be extremely difficult.
To Wrap It Up
Make sure to do a little planning before your flight. Choosing your seat and making sure your carry-on luggage is light enough to keep in the stow-away compartment only before you get to the airport will help your sleep habit on the flight. Do not forget the neck pillow and those comfy joggers too. Keep a small, labeled bottle of preferable melatonin as a medicated sleeping aid, and only use Bonin or Dramamine if necessary. Lastly, stick to non-alcoholic and caffeinated drinks such as coffee during your flight.