Sleep? Â On a flight?
Surely you jest.
Let’s face it – spending hours strapped in a tiny seat is no picnic. Â Sleeping on it – nearly impossible.
WITHOUT the help of wine or pharmaceuticals.
I wish I could promise these tips will work for you – but I can’t. Â They definitely have helped me in countless red-eyes from hell I’ve traveled in (middle seats, snoring neighbors, screaming babies). Â I hope they help provide you some peace and a few hours of rest.
Exhaust yourself. Â I’ve noticed that I sleep more soundly on the plane if I’ve exhausted myself, both physically and mentally, before the flight. Â If my schedule permits, I prefer to exercise and shower right before I leave, or at least plan for a strenuous workout that day. Â For mental exhaustion, I reach for poetry or complicated classic novels (I recommend Russian authors for this) to read while I’m waiting to board the flight. Â Pick what works for you – a newspaper, scientific journal articles, etc. Â If all else fails, I count up prime numbers in my head until I nod off.
Fuel up. Â Everyone has their favorite comfort food. Â And while I can’t find my mother’s excellent Indian cooking in ANY airport, a large cup of vegetable soup and an herbal tea is equally satisfying and healthful right before a flight. Â Just say no to airplane food. Â I also pack a small breakfast (steel-cut oatmeal packet, a small pouch of almond butter, a highly caffeinated teabag) that I can prepare in-flight with hot water and a styrofoam cup. Â Having your go-to morning meal at your fingertips will help wake you up after an overnight flight – whether you slept well or not.
Keep your routine. Â Before I board the airplane, I hit the bathroom to quickly brush my teeth, wash my face, and go through the rest of my nightly routine. Â Maintaining your typical nighttime rituals helps signal your brain that it’s time to sleep – even under the harsh glare of the bathroom’s fluorescent lights.
Sensory deprivation. Â I do my best to block out the world when I need to sleep on flights – eyemask, a comfortable pair of headphones and soothing music, essential oil towelettes (I rub a lavender one on my chest and then use it to wipe down EVERYTHING near me). Â I also bring along my own neck pillow and large scarf to use as a blanket, as I do NOT trust the cleanliness of airline blankets and pillows.
And the million dollar question -Â what about a glass of wine or sleep medication?
You’re a smart one. Â Talk to your doctor before taking any kind of sleep medication (prescription or over-the-counter) on a flight. Â As far as wine goes, I’ve relied on a glass of red before a dreaded red-eye – coupled with several glasses of water. Â You know what’s best for you, and use good judgement before self-medicating before any flight.
image viaÂ // photography byÂ joshua bouman
Your turn – got any tips for getting some much-needed sleep on a dreaded flight? Â COMMENT below and let me know!