Getting a Good Flight's Sleep
With the increasing popularity of “Red Eye” flights and overseas travel, and the
ever decreasing seat space and services offered by commercial airlines,
in-flight sleeping is more challenging than ever before. Here are some tips to
help you catch the elusive zzz’s.
Before You Go: Many travelers so dread the prospect of a sleepless long haul
flight that their anxiety creates a self-fulfilling prophecy. Try to take care
of as many work, home and travel details as possible before you leave so that
flight day is stress-free. Then enjoy the airborne hours as a time when all your
chores are done, and relaxation is your only option.
In Flight: Make sure you dress the part. Wear comfortable, non-binding clothes
made of soft fabrics with elastic waist bands. Slip off your shoes and slip on a
pair of cozy socks.
Board at the first announcement to increase the odds that your carry-on luggage
and travel bags can be stowed in the overhead bin, allowing you to take
advantage of all available leg space.
There are never enough blankets or pillows for everyone on board, and those that
are available are not laundered between flights. Bring a supportive neck pillow,
a warm travel blanket, and block the light and noise with a good eyeshade and
earplugs. For a more high-tech solution to engine noise, especially if you like
to listen to music as you rest, try noise blocking or noise canceling
Set your watch to the destination time as soon as you board the plane, and try
not to think about what time it is at home. You may also wish to set your alarm
for an hour or so before landing so you’ll have time to move around a bit, use
the restroom and be completely awake upon arrival.
Instruct the flight attendants not to wake you for meals or beverages, and
fasten your seatbelt over your blanket so you won’t be disturbed should the
seatbelt sign come on.
The humidity level in airline passenger cabins is extremely low, so drink plenty
of water while you are awake. Stay away from alcohol and caffeine, as they both
dehydrate you and interfere with sleep.
While it’s true that travel is not the pleasant experience it was in the days of
the Pan Am Flying Clipper Ships, a little planning and preparation will make
your trip much more comfortable. So settle in, buckle up, relax, and enjoy a