How to Sleep Well on a Plane, Even in Coach

January 18, 2018 by · Leave a Comment 

Need to catch a few winks during your next flight? Sleeping well on an airplane can seem as elusive as sighting a unicorn, but we’ve tapped an expert, Heather Poole, one of our earliest sources for stories and a Travelpro professional user. Heather is an 18-year veteran flight attendant, and author of the book Cruising Attitude: Tales of Crashpads, Crew Drama, and Crazy Passengers at 35,000 Feet, for some pro tips.

You may know that seatguru.com will allow you to investigate which seats recline and which ones don’t on every airplane on your itinerary. But did you know that beyond seat choice, the side of the plane you book matters? We’re creatures of habit: each night we have a preferred side of the bed we choose for slumber. Turns out, the same principle applies in the cabin of a plane.

You can sleep well on a plane with an eye mask or other accessories.Choose your seat on the same side of the plane as your favorite side of the bed. If you like to sleep on your right side, pick the right side of the plane, especially if you’re getting the window seat. This will guarantee that your position in your seat will mimic whatever direction you face as you begin your sleep journey.

Travel comfortably. We’re not suggesting you wear pajamas onboard, although Poole said she has seen savvy travelers board in sweats carrying the suit they’ll don once they deplane, according to an Entrepreneur.com story.

Let’s talk about the cumbersome donut pillow. While you may scoff at those who carry it along like a teddy bear because it didn’t work when you tried it behind your neck, your opinion of the sleep aid may change if you change where you place the fat part of the pillow.

If you tend to tilt your head to the side as you drift off, position the pillow there. If you want to keep from being awakened by that annoying, and slightly embarrassing head jerk, rotate the pillow the hold your chin in place! Sweet dreams may be further enhanced if you spritz a bit of lavender oil, known to help your body relax, on the pillowcase.

Finally, travel with a baseball cap, even if you only wear it on the flight. You don’t have to incorporate it into your outfit, but having it may create just the right environment for snoozing. Joshua Craven said he pulls the bill down over his face and inserts earbuds shortly before the flight takes off (but, of course, after the safety demonstration announcement has been completed). It shields his eyes from light and he has an enhanced sense of privacy because the hat covers his face. Plus, people immediately get the hint that you’re not interested in conversation so you can avoid having your sleep interrupted.

How do you sleep on a plane? Do you have any special tips or tricks that help you catch a quick catnap on your air travel? Share them with us in the comments below, on our Facebook page, orin our Twitter stream.

Photo credit: Stanley Wood (Flickr, Creative Commons)

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