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How to Sleep Well on a Long-Haul Flight: Tips and Tricks

How to Sleep Well on a Long-Haul Flight: Tips and Tricks

Long-haul flights can be challenging, especially when it comes to getting some rest. Sleeping on a plane is not always easy, but with the right preparation and mindset, it can be done. In this article, we will provide you with some tips and tricks on how to sleep well on a long-haul flight.

Firstly, choosing the right seat can make a big difference. If possible, try to select a window seat so that you can lean against the wall for support. Alternatively, an aisle seat can give you more legroom and easier access to the bathroom, which can be helpful if you need to get up frequently.

Secondly, creating a comfortable environment can also help you sleep better on a plane. Bring a neck pillow, eye mask, and earplugs to block out any noise and light. Dress in layers and bring a blanket or scarf to stay warm, as the temperature on planes can fluctuate. Finally, avoid caffeine and alcohol, as these can disrupt your sleep and leave you feeling more tired than before.

Choosing the Right Seat

sleep in long haul flight

When it comes to sleeping well on a long-haul flight, choosing the right seat is crucial. Here are some things to consider when selecting your seat:

Window vs. Aisle

Choosing between a window and aisle seat is a personal preference. If you like to look out the window or want to control the window shade, then a window seat is for you. On the other hand, if you like to have easy access to the bathroom or want to stretch your legs in the aisle, then an aisle seat is the way to go.

Seat Pitch and Legroom

Seat pitch and legroom are important factors to consider when selecting a seat. Seat pitch is the distance between your seat and the seat in front of you, while legroom is the space between the seat and the floor. If you’re tall or have long legs, you may want to consider a seat with more legroom or a seat in the emergency exit row. Premium economy and first-class seats generally offer more legroom than economy class seats.

Upgrading Seat Class

Upgrading your seat class can also make a big difference in your comfort level and ability to sleep on a long-haul flight. First-class seats offer the most space and comfort, while premium economy seats offer more legroom and additional amenities. If you’re unable to upgrade to a higher class, consider selecting a seat in the front of the economy class cabin for more space and less noise.

Overall, selecting the right seat can make all the difference in your ability to sleep well on a long-haul flight. Consider your personal preferences and needs, as well as the available options for seat pitch and legroom, when making your selection.

Pre-Flight Preparations

sleep in long haul flights

Sleep Schedule Adjustment

One of the best ways to ensure a good night’s sleep on a long-haul flight is to adjust your sleep schedule beforehand. This means gradually shifting your bedtime and wake-up time to better align with the time zone of your destination.

For example, if you’re traveling from New York to Tokyo, which is 13 hours ahead, start going to bed and waking up an hour earlier each day for two weeks leading up to your trip. This will help your body adjust to the time difference and make it easier to fall asleep on the flight.

If you’re having trouble adjusting your sleep schedule, consider taking a melatonin supplement. Melatonin is a natural hormone that helps regulate sleep and wake cycles, and can be effective in combating jet lag.

Packing Essentials

When it comes to sleeping well on a long-haul flight, packing the right essentials can make all the difference. Here are a few items to consider adding to your carry-on:

  • Travel pillow: A good travel pillow can help support your neck and head, making it easier to fall asleep and stay asleep. Look for one that is compact and easy to pack.
  • Earplugs: Blocking out noise can be essential for getting a good night’s sleep on a flight. Invest in a good pair of earplugs or noise-cancelling headphones to help drown out the sound of the plane and other passengers.
  • Eye mask: An eye mask can help block out light and create a dark environment, signaling to your body that it’s time to sleep.

By following these pre-flight preparations and packing the right essentials, you can set yourself up for a restful and rejuvenating long-haul flight.

Onboard Comfort

When it comes to getting a good night’s sleep on a long-haul flight, onboard comfort is key. In this section, we’ll explore some tips for creating a comfortable environment to help you drift off to sleep.

Dressing for the Flight

One of the most important factors in onboard comfort is what you wear. It’s important to dress in comfortable, loose-fitting clothing that won’t restrict your movement or cause discomfort. Avoid tight clothing, jeans, or anything with a tight waistband.

Using Sleep Aids

Sleep aids can be a helpful tool for getting some shut-eye on a long-haul flight. If you’re having trouble sleeping, consider using a sleep aid such as Ambien or herbal tea. However, it’s important to consult with a doctor before taking any medication.

Creating a Restful Environment

Creating a restful environment can help you fall asleep more easily. Bring a pillow and blanket to make yourself more comfortable, and consider using a neck pillow to support your head and neck. You can also use earplugs or noise-cancelling headphones to block out any noise that might keep you awake.

Overall, taking steps to create a comfortable onboard environment can go a long way toward helping you get a good night’s sleep on a long-haul flight. By dressing comfortably, using sleep aids if necessary, and creating a restful environment, you can increase your chances of arriving at your destination feeling rested and refreshed.

Minimizing Distractions

Long-haul flights can be exhausting, and getting quality sleep can be challenging. To help minimize distractions and get some rest on a long-haul flight, travelers can take several steps.

Noise Management

Noise can be a significant distraction during a long-haul flight. To manage noise, travelers can use noise-canceling headphones or earplugs. Noise-canceling headphones are a great option for those who want to listen to music or watch movies while blocking out background noise. Earplugs are a more affordable option and are effective at blocking out most noise.

Another option for managing noise is to use white noise or pink noise. White noise is a sound that contains all frequencies and is effective at masking background noise. Pink noise, on the other hand, is a sound that is louder at lower frequencies and is gentler on the ears. Both white and pink noise can help travelers sleep by masking background noise.

Dealing with Light

Light can also be a significant distraction during a long-haul flight. To manage light, travelers can use a sleep mask. A sleep mask is a simple and effective way to block out light and create a dark environment for sleeping.

Another option is to use the in-flight entertainment system to dim the screen or use a night mode setting. This can help reduce the amount of light emitted by the screen and make it easier to sleep.

Electronics and Entertainment

Electronics and in-flight entertainment can also be a distraction during a long-haul flight. To minimize distractions, travelers can limit their use of electronics and in-flight entertainment. Instead, they can read a book or listen to calming music to help them relax and fall asleep.

In conclusion, managing distractions is essential for getting quality sleep on a long-haul flight. By using noise-canceling headphones or earplugs, a sleep mask, and limiting the use of electronics and in-flight entertainment, travelers can create a comfortable environment for sleeping.

Diet and Hydration

Food and Drink Choices

Choosing the right food and drink on a long-haul flight can make a huge difference in how well you sleep. It is important to stay hydrated and avoid foods that may cause discomfort or indigestion. Drinking plenty of water is essential to avoid dehydration, which can lead to fatigue and headaches. It is recommended to drink at least 8 ounces of water every hour.

When it comes to food, it is best to choose light, easy-to-digest meals. Avoid heavy, greasy foods that may cause discomfort or indigestion. Opt for foods that are high in protein and complex carbohydrates, such as grilled chicken or fish with vegetables or a salad. It is also a good idea to bring some healthy snacks, such as fresh fruit or nuts, to munch on during the flight.

Alcohol and Caffeine

While it may be tempting to have a glass of wine or a cup of coffee to relax or stay awake, it is best to avoid alcohol and caffeine on a long-haul flight. Both alcohol and caffeine can dehydrate you and disrupt your sleep. Instead, try drinking herbal tea, such as chamomile or lavender, which can help you relax and fall asleep.

In summary, staying hydrated and choosing the right food and drink can greatly improve your sleep on a long-haul flight. Avoiding alcohol and caffeine and opting for light, easy-to-digest meals can help you feel more comfortable and relaxed. Bringing some healthy snacks and herbal tea can also help you stay nourished and calm during your flight.

Physical Well-being

sleep in long flights

Long-haul flights can be physically taxing on the body. Here are some tips to help passengers maintain their physical well-being during a long flight.

Stretching and Movement

Sitting in a cramped space for an extended period can lead to stiffness and discomfort. To avoid this, passengers should stretch and move around periodically throughout the flight. Some simple stretches that can be done in-flight include:

  • Shoulder rolls
  • Neck stretches
  • Ankle rotations
  • Leg lifts
  • Back twists

Passengers should also take advantage of any opportunity to walk around the cabin, such as during lavatory breaks or when the seatbelt sign is turned off. Walking around can help improve circulation and prevent blood clots.

Lavatory Breaks

In addition to providing an opportunity to stretch, lavatory breaks are important for maintaining hygiene and preventing discomfort. Passengers should aim to drink plenty of water before and during the flight to stay hydrated, which will also increase the need for lavatory breaks.

When using the lavatory, passengers should take care to avoid touching any surfaces unnecessarily, as this can increase the risk of infection. They should also wash their hands thoroughly with soap and water, or use hand sanitizer if soap and water are not available.

By following these tips, passengers can help maintain their physical well-being during a long-haul flight.

Mental Relaxation

Long-haul flights can be stressful, and it’s essential to find ways to relax your mind to get the best possible sleep. Here are some techniques to help you achieve mental relaxation during your flight.

Mindfulness and Meditation

Mindfulness and meditation are excellent techniques to help you calm your mind and reduce anxiety. You can practice mindfulness by focusing on your breath and being present in the moment. Meditation, on the other hand, involves focusing your attention on a specific object or thought. Both techniques can help you relax and fall asleep more easily.

To practice mindfulness or meditation on a long-haul flight, find a quiet spot where you can sit comfortably. Close your eyes and focus on your breath, inhaling and exhaling deeply. If you get distracted, gently bring your attention back to your breath. You can also use a guided meditation app to help you get started.

Entertainment Choices

Another way to relax your mind during a long-haul flight is to choose the right entertainment. Listening to calming music or reading a book can help you relax and unwind. If you prefer something more interactive, you can try playing a game or watching a movie.

It’s important to choose entertainment that is not too stimulating, as this can make it harder to fall asleep. Avoid action movies or games that require a lot of focus. Instead, opt for something more low-key that can help you relax and drift off to sleep.

Overall, mental relaxation is essential for getting a good night’s sleep on a long-haul flight. By practicing mindfulness or meditation and choosing the right entertainment, you can help calm your mind and prepare for a restful sleep.

Overcoming Jet Lag

Jet lag is a common issue for long-haul travelers, and it can leave you feeling groggy and disoriented. However, there are a few strategies you can use to minimize its effects.

Adjusting to Time Zones

One of the best ways to overcome jet lag is to adjust to your destination’s time zone as soon as possible. This means trying to sleep and eat at the appropriate times for your new location. If you’re traveling east, try to shift your sleep schedule earlier by going to bed and waking up earlier in the days leading up to your flight. If you’re traveling west, try to stay up later and wake up later.

Another helpful strategy is to expose yourself to sunlight during the day and avoid bright lights at night. This can help regulate your body’s natural sleep-wake cycle and make it easier to adjust to the new time zone.

Post-Flight Recovery

After your flight, it’s important to give yourself time to recover. Try to get at least eight hours of sleep each night and maintain a consistent sleep schedule. This can help your body adjust to the new time zone and reduce the effects of jet lag.

Some travelers also find that taking melatonin supplements can be helpful for regulating their sleep patterns. However, it’s important to speak with a doctor before taking any new supplements, as they can interact with other medications and have potential side effects.

Overall, the key to overcoming jet lag is to establish a routine and give your body time to adjust to the new time zone. With these strategies, you can arrive at your destination feeling rested and ready to enjoy your trip.

Additional Tips and Tricks

Choosing the Right Accessories

In addition to the essentials, there are a few accessories that can make a long-haul flight much more comfortable. A neck pillow can help support your head and prevent neck pain. Eye masks and earplugs can help block out light and noise, making it easier to fall asleep. Compression socks can also help improve circulation and prevent swelling.

Managing Expectations

It’s important to manage your expectations when it comes to sleeping on a long-haul flight. It’s unlikely that you’ll be able to get a full night’s sleep, especially if you’re in economy class. However, even a few hours of rest can make a big difference.

If you’re a light sleeper, consider bringing noise-cancelling headphones or a white noise machine to help block out any distractions. It’s also a good idea to bring a comfortable change of clothes, as well as any toiletries you might need, to help you feel refreshed when you arrive at your destination.

Remember, a long-haul flight is just one part of your journey. If you have a connecting flight, make sure you leave enough time to get to your next gate. And if you’re traveling internationally, be prepared for jet lag by adjusting your sleep schedule a few days before your trip.

By following these tips and tricks, you can increase your chances of getting a good night’s sleep on a long-haul flight and arrive at your destination feeling refreshed and ready to go.

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