One of life’s greater challenges for the traveller is trying to get some shut-eye on a plane. While planes are a godsend for getting us from A to B in quicksmart time, the upright seats and noisy conditions can stop us arriving or returning as fresh as a daisy. But here’s a truth: it needn’t be that way. Even those who are insistent that they’re not able to sleep on planes can find tips or tricks that work effectively.
From choosing the best seats for sleep to smelling oils to help ease your journey to the land of nod, there’s a whole host of things you can do aside from reclining your seat and hoping for the best. Whether it’s an overnight flight for a long stretch of sleep, or a short European jaunt in which you need to catch forty winks while you have the time, here’s our guide on how to stand the best chance of a dreamy flight.
Read on for the Flexicover team’s tried and tested tips.
Invest in your headphones
In our experience the single most effective aid to good sleep is a solid pair of headphones or earphones. Immediately most of the audio distractions are shut out even if there’s no music playing. Cheap earphones won’t do much, but the top-end noise-cancelling ones will play frequencies to undo the background noise so all you hear is blissful silence. If you prefer some sounds to gently lull you to sleep, white noise works just as well with adults as it does with babies. Alternatively go for music without singing so your brain doesn’t automatically stay alert – gentle classical music is perfect for that, or in your favourite streaming service try playlists already set up for sleeping.
Choose a sleep-friendly seat
If you’re trying to fall asleep your chosen seat is critical. Window seats are by far the best choice when you need some rest – not only can you lean against the window, but no one will disturb you to get in or out. It does mean you’ll be the one doing the disturbing, so be a responsible traveller by using the bathroom before taking your seat and not going wild with the caffeinated drinks beforehand. On long haul flights getting a full row to yourself is the holy grail. It’s more likely to happen at the back of the plane so check the seat map carefully before picking your place.
Consider a sleeping aid
Gentle over-the-counter herbal remedies to help you sleep are available while one scientifically proven option is to breathe in the fragrant air of lavender. You’ll find it widely available as a pillow spray, smelling salt or in a roller form to rub under your nose. And while alcohol might knock you out temporarily, it’s best not to consider G&T or red wine an aid. That’s because it doesn’t give you the quality sleep you’ll need to feel rested.
Get some shut eye with eye masks
Just as headphones are ideal to cut out sensory distractions, eye masks can help shut out the light. It’s especially important as darkness is a key signal to your brain that it’s time to go to sleep. Darkness helps to encourage melatonin, the sleep hormone, and conversely, the bright lights of a plane cabin cause melatonin to lessen, which decreases drowsiness, relaxed muscles and well, the ability to sleep. Buy a mask that fits comfortably enough so that you can forget it’s there, and if you have the time, put it on well before you need to sleep so that your body can prepare – it will lead to a better-quality nap.
Bring some comfy clothes
Another issue with sleeping in a noisy cabin under fluorescent lights sitting upright is that you’re wearing your day clothes. If you favour style over comfort this might involve shirts, jeans or heels, maybe a jumpsuit if you’re heading somewhere hot. But that might not be conducive to getting great sleep – things that restrict your movement or dig into you are likely to wake you up from your slumber. So even if you don’t want to wear jogging bottoms or a sweatshirt in the airport, carry them with you to change into when onboard. Our final tip is our ace card: kick off the shoes and throw on some big, comfy house socks – they’ll make you feel cosy enough to fall asleep in no time.
Wherever you plan on heading to this year it’s good to know that Flexicover Travel Insurance is committed to providing you with the highest level of protection to ensure you are safe and secure 24 hours a day when away.