How to Sleep on a Plane
You CAN sleep on a plane. It IS possible.
How to Sleep on a Plane
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Sleep is really important!
When you sleep, your brain is healing, rebooting, preparing. A lack of sleep can create all sorts of problems – leaving you foggy, anxious and giving you trouble making decisions and really – enjoying life! All parents know the fog of lack of sleep – from a newborn baby, or a child who awakes having nightmares or from waiting on a teen to get home from a date. That fuzzy sleepy feeling is just awful!! You DON’T need it on vacation!
Isn’t it true that vacation is actually the time you need MORE rest and not less!?
When you travel far and wide, you need to sleep on the plane as much as you can. Sometimes excitement gets in the way, sometimes nerves get in the way, and sometimes….travel neighbors get in the way. Here are some tips on how to sleep on a plane.
How to Sleep on a plane: Tips and Hints
How to Sleep on a plane: Choose the best time for your flight
Ideally, every flight would leave right at bedtime and arrive at waking up time and we would all slumber peacefully in between. Trying to time flights with natural resting times is great if you can manage it.
Nonstop flights are the best for getting some rest. Getting off the plane…hanging around in an airport and then getting back on the plane and trying to get settled again…is a recipe for exhaustion. Get a non-stop flight if at all possible.
How to Sleep on a plane: Choose clothing wisely
Sometimes airplane cabins are FREEZING cold and sometimes they are BLAZING hot. It is super rare that they are a nice medium temperature. The problem is…like a box of chocolates. you never know what you are going to get.
I like this soft cardigan by ACEVOG. Wrap up in it to feel cozy or take it off if the plane is blazing hot. Cram it into your carryon when you don’t need it. Super easy to travel with! It comes in lots of pretty colors!
How to Sleep on a plane: Beware swelling feet and legs!
When you are inactive, like when you sit on a plane for a long time, you don’t use the muscles in your legs and feet. Those muscles are the ones that move fluid around your body so when you don’t move…the fluid settles in your lower legs and feet. Other reasons for swollen feet include too much salt in airplane food, the low air pressure in the cabin, and dehydration.
Swollen legs and feet are painful and will keep you from relaxing! You feel uncomfortable which makes it hard to rest and even harder to sleep.
Avoid swelling with the right travel shoes and compression socks. Shoes that have laces will allow you to loosen them for comfort. We love low hiking shoes when we travel. This is my favorite travel shoe by Merrell. Hiking shoes might not be your cup of tea and that is OK! You can choose something cuter and still have happy feet. Read about how to choose the BEST travel shoes for you!
Another reason to wear closed toed sturdy travel shoes is YOUR safety. In the unlikely event of an emergency, do you really want to be in a pair of flip-flops?
Compression socks help with swelling, too. I’m wearing one now after I broke my foot recently. It feels surprisingly good! Like a big hug for my sad foot. I have to admit, though, it is just hideous. Don’t buy the ugly ones you can get at Walmart or Walgreens.
They make CUTE compression socks!! Who knew? Buy them online instead of channeling your inner old granny.
How to Sleep on a plane: Warm feet
When you wear closed toed travel shoes you’ll be wearing socks. Socks keep feet warm and toasty. If you are concerned about swelling then you’ll need compression socks. Buy the cute ones! Wait till you 127 years old to wear the ugly ones you can buy at Walgreens.
Perhaps you’ll want to start dreaming of your destination on the flight there! Love these Paris socks.
How to Sleep on a plane: Be aware of the light
Some people are more sensitive to light than others. Dracula and I both tolerate light at night about the same. I LOVE darkness for sleeping!
For overnight flights, the cabin lights will be dimmed and all windows shut but it is not really ‘dark’. Consider an eye mask to keep out the annoying light. I like this eye mask that has a curved shape so it doesn’t press on your eyelids.
How to Sleep on a plane: Whatever works
One flight I had kiddo curled up in my lap and I built a ‘tent’ over our heads by tucking in a blanket behind my headrest and on the one in front of me. If people giggled on the way by, we were snoozing too soundly to know or care. Our nice tent made it dark and toasty and we slept well.
Some people have their own methods for sleeping on a plane like this guy who tied his head to the headrest with a scarf. A little unorthodox….can he even breathe??? Whatever works I guess, right?
If you are going to tie your head to the headrest…I would go with something sheer to breathe through…wouldn’t you? LOL! I would not try it myself, but I do like this lightweight sheer scarf!
How to Sleep on a plane: Keep it quiet
Thankfully, with so much technology these days most people on long flights are plugged in and very quiet. In-flight movies, music, and so on..even the little ones have games and earphones.
unhappy crying baby
conversations – We once sat behind three VERY loud friends who talked loud enough to wake the dead.
Noise-canceling things come in all shapes and sizes. How about this sound blocking sleep mask by NAP STAR.
How to Sleep on a plane: Keep your head from bobbing
For me, this is the worst part of trying to sleep on a plane. What do you rest your head upon? You know that feeling when you fall asleep and then jerk awake? Ugh! Me, too! You don’t want to wake up with a painful stiff neck.
If you are seated next to kiddo who lays in your lap anyway, lean back your seat but not theirs. Then lean your head upon the edge of their seat. But first, PLEASE use Clorox wipes on every piece of the plane you can reach.
Germs are everywhere on a plane! Read how to avoid the germs on an airplane here. If you want to be totally and utterly grossed out by your fellow man then go to Passenger Shaming on Instagram. Don’t click on Passenger Shaming if you have a weak stomach. I promise you will never travel without Clorox wipes again.
Cloud nine pillow – now this is a very detailed ergonomically created travel pillow! Is it worth the packing space? I haven’t tried it, yet.
You’ll be clear-headed, rested, and able to enjoy every single minute of your vacation when you arrive rested after sleeping on a plane.
Get more information on traveling with the kids!
Happy and restful travels,
Natalie, The Educational Tourist