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How to sleep on a plane

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How to sleep on a plane and other helpful tips for people who travel by air

Seems that to properly sleep on a plane it takes more than just dumb luck and a few minutes of preparation.

We've all seen those experienced fliers with their sleep masks, neck pillows, back pillows, and warm fleece blankets as they pass those long hours on the international flight in a peaceful respite. We may have even snickered at how they looked, giggled under our breath at how ridiculous we would look in that particular get-up.

But when we try to nap with the airline provided set of paper thin blankets, a pillow that feels like your head is lightly resting on a rock, and the neighbor's reading light shining into your line of sight for six hours, it doesn't quite work out.

Below, we'll take a look at the variety of ways you can get that great night's rest on your next long-form flight without taking up all the space in your carry on luggage.


Just as important -- or maybe more so -- as your accessories can be your seat location. Try resting on the aisle or the middle seat with people clamoring over you to get to the bathroom every hour on the hour.

The window seat can be the best possible place for you as it allows for a spot to lay your head and the amount of interruption will be at a minimum there. Try to skip the seats at the rear of the airplane as they probably won't recline. As well, many of the passengers will be getting up to stretch and use the bathroom back there so the decibel level with be higher.

The Necessary Accessories

An travel gift set can be a great start to a good night's rest. Typically they provide all the necessary essentials one may need such as:
  • An eye mask and ear plugs in order to decrease both ambient light and the jarring sounds of the engine, the fellow passengers, and that drink cart that's always clanging into seats nearby.
  • It will provide you with a neck-support pillow; the support will cut down on neck and shoulder tension during the long flight

If you can't locate a set, you can find each of these items individually as well. There will be a cavalcade of possibilities when it comes to masks, neck support pillows, earplugs, and more. It's up to your own personal tastes and whims as to what products you purchase.

But, in the long run, they will help to blot out ever-present light, cut down on noise in the cabin, and allow for rest in a comfortable -- as comfortable as it gets with your companion taking up the entire arm rest -- flight.

A Few Other Helpful Tips

A few other helpful tidbits:
  • Skip any form of caffeine before and during your journey
  • Limit your carry-ons as they can crimp the amount of room you have at your feet if you end up having to place them underneath the seat in front of you
  • Try not to end up in bulkhead or exit row seating; they can be quite uncomfortable, according to an article in The Independent Traveler. Extremely uncomfortable!
  • Sleep aids can be an effective means of helping to doze off during those long jaunts; Dramamine for motion sickness can also cause you to feel drowsy. As always, check with your physician before taking any of these over-the-counter aids.
  • Bose's noise-canceling headphones can be a good addition to your accessory list; they will help to tone out the engine noise, as well as everything else. That being said, the ear plugs option is a much more cost-effective way to do this, but not as effective as a Bose pair of headphones.
  • Let the stewardess know that you do not want to be disturbed so you can drift off and not be awoken a half hour later when drinks or food are served.
Thus, to sleep on a plane takes a few extra accessories for comfort, a seat away from the hustle and bustle, and a desire not to care about your looks (just joking)! In the end, it's about being well-rested -- not jet-lagged -- and ready for that morning coffee as you land in that new and exciting destination.


The Independent Traveler: Sleeping on Planes. 3 Tips on How to Sleep on a Plane.

Above photo attributed to viralbus

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