How to Get More Sleep During Long Haul Flights

Sleeping during long-haul flights can be challenging due to the cramped space, noisy surroundings, and discomfort of airplane seats. However, with some preparation and the right strategies, you can increase your chances of getting some rest and arriving at your destination feeling more refreshed. Here are some tips on how to sleep during long-haul flights:

  1. Choose the Right Seat:
    • Opt for a window seat: This provides a solid surface to lean against and more control over the window shade for blocking out light.
    • Consider an exit row or bulkhead seat: These seats typically offer more legroom and space to stretch.
  2. Dress Comfortably:
    • Wear loose, breathable clothing, and dress in layers so you can adjust to the cabin temperature.
    • Bring a pair of comfortable socks to keep your feet warm.
  3. Use Travel Accessories:
    • Neck pillow: A supportive neck pillow can help you maintain a more comfortable and stable sleeping position.
    • Earplugs or noise-canceling headphones: These can help block out the noise of the plane and other passengers.
    • Eye mask: A quality eye mask can shield your eyes from cabin lights and the sun if you’re traveling during daylight.
  4. Adjust Your Schedule:
    • If possible, choose a flight that aligns with your natural sleep schedule, making it easier to fall asleep during the flight.
    • Gradually adjust your sleep schedule a few days before your flight if you’re traveling to a different time zone.
  5. Stay Hydrated:
    • Drink plenty of water throughout the flight to prevent dehydration, but avoid excessive alcohol and caffeine consumption, as they can disrupt sleep.
  6. Avoid Heavy Meals:
    • Choose light, easy-to-digest meals before and during the flight to avoid discomfort and digestive issues that can disrupt sleep.
  7. Create a Relaxing Atmosphere:
    • Use a meditation app or soothing music to relax and calm your mind.
    • Consider using aromatherapy with essential oils to create a calming atmosphere.
  8. Stretch and Move:
    • Get up and stretch your legs periodically to improve circulation and reduce stiffness.
    • Gentle in-seat exercises, like ankle rolls and knee lifts, can also help.
  9. Limit Screen Time:
    • Reduce screen time on your devices before attempting to sleep as the blue light emitted can interfere with your body’s ability to produce melatonin, a hormone that regulates sleep.
  10. Manage Jet Lag:
    • If you’re crossing multiple time zones, consider taking melatonin supplements (after consulting with a healthcare professional) to help adjust to the new time zone.
  11. Practice Relaxation Techniques:
    • Deep breathing exercises and progressive muscle relaxation can help you relax and fall asleep more easily.
  12. Stay Consistent:
    • Try to maintain a regular sleep schedule throughout your trip, even if it means taking short naps upon arrival to help reset your body clock.

Remember that sleep quality during a long-haul flight can vary, so don’t put too much pressure on yourself to get a full night’s rest. Even a few hours of restful sleep can significantly improve how you feel upon arrival. Experiment with different strategies to find what works best for you, and consider combining several of these tips to maximize your chances of sleeping well during long-haul flights.