Getting sleep on a plane is about as easy as sleeping in front of a noisy television. Not only is the plane loud, but it can be bright. The TV or other electronics can distract you from sleeping. However, it’s not impossible to get a good night’s rest on a long-haul flight. Here are some tips to help you sleep well:
Dress the part: You can’t sleep comfortably in khakis and shoes that pinch. While a change of clothes might not be possible because of cramped quarters, try to wear more comfortable pants with a waistband that doesn’t pinch, comfy shoes or sneakers and a T-shirt. Remember, you can always change when you get out of the plane. While some people remove their shoes for a flight, you shouldn’t do this unless you have separate socks and your feet don’t smell.
Pack for comfort: A C-shaped neck rest or travel pillow can really help you get some rest. I prefer bringing my own fleece blanket to stay warm instead of using the one on the airplane so that I can snuggle up without the fear of germs. If you have trouble sleeping in a bright room, bring a comfortable eye mask. Some of these items may be provided on the plane, but you’ll be more comfortable if you bring things from home.
Plan sleep in advance: Getting over jet lag can be tough, so if you plan your sleep schedule in advance, you may be able to find a happy middle between being exhausted on the plane and in your destination. The best thing to do is make sure you’re asleep during the same nighttime hours as your destination. You may need to shortchange yourself on sleep before you even get on the plane or stay up for 24 hours to make this happen, so you might want to order a lot of coffee before or during your trip.
Eat: If you’re flying for more than 8 hours, it’s important to eat regular meals. However, skipping one of the offered meals can help you get to sleep easier. This trick may not work for everyone – you might find yourself needing food in order to sleep. Trust your intuition.
Pick the right seat: Personally, I like window seats best. I like to rest my head on the side of the plane and fall asleep. The natural light also helps my body understand when to sleep and wake. No one will try to wake you up if they have to go to the bathroom, either.
Give yourself legroom: Stretching your legs out while you sleep is important, so if you can, only put a small carry-on or nothing under your seat. The more room you have, the better.
Avoid drugs and alcohol: Unless you take sleep aids or drink regularly to fall asleep at home, don’t do it on a plane. You’ll have a better chance of falling asleep normally if you don’t try these heavier sleep techniques on your first long-haul flight.
Staff, Surviving a Long Haul Flight. Essortment.
Angus Kidman, Five Tactics for Getting Sleep on Long-Distance Flights. Lifehacker.