How To Sleep On a Plane

Traveling by plane, whether for business or pleasure, often comes with the challenge of achieving quality sleep. The upright position of an airplane seat, coupled with factors like noise, light, turbulence, and cabin air, can make sleeping on a plane more challenging than sleeping at home.

Yet, arriving at your destination well-rested is a common desire among travelers.

This article provides a comprehensive guide on how to sleep on a plane, offering strategies to overcome these challenges and answer common questions travelers may have.

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Strategies for Sleeping on a Plane

Achieving better sleep on a plane requires a combination of strategies aimed at creating a conducive environment for sleep and ensuring your body is well-prepared for rest.

Blocking Out Distractions

Excess light can make sleeping difficult. An eye mask can help to block out light from windows or overhead lights that might keep you awake.

Similarly, the noise from other passengers and the aircraft itself can be disruptive. Ear plugs or noise-canceling headphones can block out these sounds.

Playing music through your headphones may also help you relax and get better sleep, in addition to blocking out external sound.

Comfort and Hydration

Travel pillows can support your neck while you sleep on a plane, enhancing your comfort. Having a sweater or blanket with you will help keep you warm in a cool airplane cabin.

Breathing the dry, recirculated air in an airplane cabin can make you dehydrated. Staying hydrated on the plane will help you avoid the uncomfortable symptoms of dehydration that could keep you awake.

However, it’s important not to overdo it, or you may have to get up to use the bathroom too often.

Dietary Considerations

Digesting a big meal makes it hard for the body to get quality sleep. When you want to sleep on your next flight, try eating light snacks instead.

Consuming alcohol can disrupt your sleep and affect your nighttime breathing. It’s best to avoid having a nightcap before trying to sleep on a plane.

Reclining and Relaxation Techniques

Research has found that sitting upright increases alertness. The more you are able to recline your chair, the more it may benefit your sleep.

Meditating by concentrating on your breathing or focusing on a thought or visualization can help you relax on the plane and ease your way into sleep.

Dealing with Snoring on a Plane

Snoring occurs when the muscles at the back of the throat relax during sleep, which narrows the airway. Breathing through a narrowed airway can make the soft tissues in the throat flutter, causing the sound of snoring.

Snoring on a crowded plane can be embarrassing, so it is understandable to want to minimize snoring during a flight.

Preventive Measures

Elevating the head while sleeping can alleviate snoring. Conveniently, sleeping in an upright airplane seat might reduce the amount you snore, compared to when you are lying flat.

Drinking alcohol and smoking tobacco increase the chances of snoring, so consider abstaining from both before the flight and foregoing any alcohol while in the air. Specialized mouthpieces and mouthguards can open up the airway to reduce snoring. Your dentist may be able to recommend a mouthpiece or fit you for a custom device.

If nasal congestion or sinus inflammation is making you snore, nasal strips or decongestants might prevent snoring while asleep on the flight.

Pre-Flight Preparations for Better Sleep

When planning a trip, keep your sleep schedule in mind. Although it is not always easy, try to avoid booking early or late flights that will cut into your normal sleeping hours.

This way, you will not need to sleep on the plane. Choosing the right seat on the plane can also improve your chances of sleeping well. Some sleep experts suggest booking a window seat because it provides a surface to rest your head, which can be more comfortable.

Seats near the wings, in the middle of the plane, may also be less bumpy and less likely to disturb your sleep.

As the time of your flight approaches, try to reduce the stress and anxiety related to travel, which can impact the quality of your sleep.

Having your travel plans in order well before heading to the airport may lower your anxiety and make it easier to sleep soundly. Exercising is also linked with better sleep, so try getting your body moving before your flight. Sleep aids like melatonin may help you fall asleep and adjust to time changes.

But it is best to consult your doctor for guidance before starting any supplement or medication.

Frequently Asked Questions

What is the best seat for sleeping on a plane?

The best seat for sleeping on a plane often depends on personal preference.

However, a window seat is often recommended as it provides a surface to rest your head, which can be more comfortable. Seats near the wings, in the middle of the plane, may also be less bumpy and less likely to disturb your sleep.

How can I prevent jet lag?

Preventing jet lag often involves adjusting your sleep schedule before the trip to align more closely with the time zone of your destination. Staying hydrated and avoiding alcohol can also help prevent jet lag.

Can I use sleep aids or medications to help me sleep on a plane?

Yes, sleep aids like melatonin may help you fall asleep and adjust to time changes. However, it is best to consult your doctor for guidance before starting any supplement or medication.

How can I stay comfortable and warm on a plane?

Bringing a travel pillow and extra layers for comfort and warmth can help you stay comfortable on a plane. The pillow can provide neck support while the extra layers can help you adjust to the temperature in the cabin.

What should I eat or avoid eating before a flight to help me sleep?

Avoiding heavy meals before a flight can help your body prepare for sleep. Instead, opt for light snacks that are easier to digest.

How can I deal with noise and light on a plane?

Using an eye mask can help block out light, while earplugs or noise-canceling headphones can help block out noise. These tools can help create a more conducive environment for sleep.

How can I prevent dehydration on a plane?

Staying hydrated is important when traveling by plane. Drink plenty of water, but be careful not to overdo it, as frequent bathroom trips can disrupt your sleep.

How can I reduce my snoring on a plane?

There are several strategies to reduce snoring on a plane, including sleeping upright, avoiding alcohol and nicotine, using oral appliances, and addressing congestion with nasal strips or decongestants.

Final Thought

Achieving quality sleep on a plane is possible with the right strategies and preparations.

By creating a conducive environment for sleep, preparing your body for rest, and addressing common sleep disruptions like snoring, you can arrive at your destination feeling well-rested and ready to take on the day.

We’d love to hear your thoughts! Drop a comment below.

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About The Author
Meet Emily Chen, a travel writer and eSIM enthusiast. Emily’s love for exploring new places has taken her all over the world. She now shares her experiences and tips for staying connected while traveling through her writing on eSIMradar.
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