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Seven tips on getting enough sleep on a long flight

When you are one a long distance journey headed off somewhere else either for business or on vacation, you will experience the exhaustion that comes with overnight flights and long journeys within a plane. Even though the place you are headed off to is a nice one, for instance Rwanda (see here for more on that), you will arrive at your destination feeling stiff and tired – especially if you have sat in the plane for more than ten hours.

What makes it even worse is that you have not slept properly on the flight, you have sat in the seat for so long, your body is aching everywhere, and you have serious jet lag. The noise within the aircraft and having so many people on board does not help your cause either.

What helps is having some good quantities and quality of sleep during the long flight. Read on for more tips on how to do so.

Buckle the seatbelt under the blanket

There are not many incidences that are as annoying as being in the middle of your nice dream, and sleepingcomfortably in your seat, then suddenly being woken up by the flight attendant who wants to check whether you have buckled your seatbelt. You wake up feeling angry and the interruption makes you not sleep properly again for another few hours.

Well, you can skillfully avoid this through wrapping yourself in your blanket, then buckle the seatbelt on top. This ensures that any flight attendant who wants to check that all passengers are safe will spot you having buckled your seatbelt, and they will let you sleep comfortably.

Get a good sleeping position

This goal might not be very difficult if you are flying in business class. However, for the Economy seats, it might become a little tricky because of the number of people it is accommodating. The main trick is finding a position that lets your body remain as flat as possible without placing unnecessary pressure on your back.

Try moving your seat as far back as you can. Do not be too worried about the passenger behind you, because everyone will do it at some point on the journey, and it is understandable because it is the most natural sleeping position.

Include the right gear for sleeping

If you were at home, the most obvious item for sleeping is your blanket, because it helps you stay warm. The same rule applies to going on a journey. Maintaining nice and warm body temperatures will help you go to sleep faster.

For extra comfort, there are also u-shaped neck pillows. However, instead of putting them at the back of the neck, place them in front of the neck, so that you can place your chin on top. That will also prevent your head from continuous motion of bobbing up and down, which can force you to wake up, or you wake up with a stiff neck. In order to prevent the lights of the plane waking you up, you can also bring along an eye mask or a scarf.

Above all, the biggest enemy of sleep in a plane is the noise. Not only from passengers, but also the plane itself. Make sure to have a set of earplugs or noise cancelling headphones (you can also get them at an affordable price). They will serve you well, and you can use them on multiple trips. In addition, people sitting next to you have less chances to carry out conversations with you when all you would like is sleep.

Wearing comfortable clothes

You can start by removing your shoes and changing into your pajamas. You would not sleep in your shoes when you go to bed, so do the same for when you are on the plane. Wear socks that can help you stay comfortable and warm.

Note that if you suffer from thrombosis or any circulatory system problems, make sure to carry compression stockings. These will prevent blood from flowing down to your legs and causing clots to form.

Avoid staring at screens before you sleep

It is scientifically proven that the light from your smartphone, laptop or tablet is detrimental to your sleep. You might assume that it will because the light makes the eyes tired, but the blue light suppresses the production of melatonin in the brain, the hormone that helps you go to sleep. It also damages your eyes.

Before going to sleep ion the plane, practice some self-care and switch off all screens before sleeping. If you must look at your smartphone, for instance, consider downloading f.lux, an app that removes some of the blue light and helps you go to sleep faster. In addition, if you are considering taking sleeping pills, only use them as a last resort and get clearance from your doctor before taking them on your flight.

Go using a direct flight (or the most direct route)

Even though going on a direct flight might hurt your wallet because of how expensive it is, it may actually help you when it comes to resting because they take you directly to your destination. It also gives you a chance to rest properly on the flight without the interruptions of non-direct flights.

Even though napping is a good thing, there are not many things that can beat good quality sleep without interruptions. That might be the best way for you to rest.

Fly red-eye

Long haul red-eye flights are the best you can get. Not only are they more affordable (even when considering the cost of going on a direct flight), but they also allow you to save your money on the cost of accommodation because you can sleep on the way.

You are less likely to disrupt your normal sleeping patterns. Irregular sleeping patterns can occur on a normal flight.

Final thoughts

Sleeping on a long flight is not the easiest task, but you can do it. When you apply these tips and more, you increase your chances of enjoying your journey, and getting to your destination when you are not so exhausted.