Long distance flights are often at night. Although these flights are a great opportunity to get a little bit of sleep, I know many people telling me that they cannot sleep on the plane. This is a collection of a few items that help falling asleep in a plane.
1) Fall asleep during take-off
Did you ever notice that many people fall asleep during take-off and landing of the plane? The air inside the plane gets recycled without adding fresh air at these times, so that the oxygen level is dropping. This sudden drop makes us feel asleep. This means that you should plan to start sleeping during take-off. Although you are not allowed to decline your seat you should get into a comfortable position and close your eyes once the plane starts moving away from its parking position.
2) Use earplugs
You might not always realize it since the sound is very stable but it is very loud inside a plane. You have the sound of the motor, of the air-conditioning and the air outside in addition to all kind of noises made by other passengers and the staff. The easiest way to reduce the noise level is to use earplugs. Headphones with noise reduction function are a great option if you don’t find them too large.
3) Use the eye-shield
Use an eye-shield to protect from the bright light and the constant movements taking place in a plane at all times.
4) Tell the purser you want to sleep
Once you are sleeping you don’t want to wake up just because they are serving some meal or drinks. Let the purser know early that you don’t want to be disturbed and that you are ready to skip a meal in case you are sleeping. Some airlines even offer stickers to indicate this wish for night flights.
5) Don’t check the inflight entertainment program
More and more planes have personal inflight entertainment systems in each seat including the economy class. Having a choice of a few dozen movies and games you will certainly find something interesting. If you want to sleep on the plane you therefore better don’t even look at the program. Once you start watching a movie it probably will take you more time to fall asleep.
6) Reserve a comfortable seat
In first or business class it does not matter so much which seat you are in. If you fly economy class you should try to get a seat in front of a wall or the emergency exit since it provides more space. When I want to sleep on the plane I usually get a window seat. You can put the pillow into the window and win a few additional centimeters of space.
7) Wear clothes to relax
Wear loose clothes if you want to sleep on the plane. Use trousers without a belt. Since it is cold in high altitude you should also take something warm with you. It is hard to sleep when you are freezing.
Don’t drink alcohol
Alcohol helps you to fall asleep but the quality of your sleep is low. Considering all the noise and possible interruptions in the plane I recommend not drinking alcohol. It might take longer until you sleep but you will sleep much better. Please also consider that with high altitude your reacts more sensitively to alcohol than usual.