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6 Things That Will Help You Sleep Better on a Plane

Leading up to a holiday in the final days can be a packed and slightly stressful time. But, once you’ve got the necessary bit and pieces out of the way you can look forward to taking your seat on the plane and unwinding before you have an amazing holiday in a spectacular location. Well, most people can, anyway.

Some of you might find it tricky to sleep very well on a plane, even if you’ve driven to the airport at silly o’clock and you’ve had only a few hours’ sleep before setting off for the airport.

If this is the case, take note of these easy to remember tips that will surely help you to sleep better on a plane.

Avoid drinking alcohol

It’s almost a given that as soon as you get into holiday mode, it’s licence to have a drink; normally, from the moment you arrive at the airport regardless of the time of day!

The fact of the matter is though, that alcohol simply will not help you to reach sound levels of sleep. Have a couple of beer or a large G&T might see you off for a snooze initially, but it’ll only be short-lived and then you won’t be able to sleep properly, if at all.

What’s more, alcohol dehydrates you, so you’ll be left feeling thirsty and have a headache too.

Avoid overeating

It’s best if you avoid eating more than you need to. A sensible meal eaten as close to your usual mealtimes would be the best thing for you but, if you can’t achieve this, then eat smart.  

Overeating and/or tucking into fatty foods can leave you feeling bloated and uncomfortable, which will often make it more difficult to drift off. When you eat a big, or high-fat meal, your heart is required to work harder as it needs to pump more blood to your stomach and intestines.

Eating large quantities of fatty foods can also result in your blood clotting more easily, and this is certainly an issue that you ideally want to avoid if you’re booked on board a long flight.

Sleeping is Super!

If you’re heading to a holiday destination to get as active as possible, or you simply looking to unwind and de-stress, it matters not, because either way, it’s best if you get healthy levels of rest in before you touch down.

The likelihood of your flight being at a time that is off-kilter to your regular daily routine is quite likely, so, get a good night’s sleep and be prepared. However, it might also be worth looking into how The Sleep Advisor’s top sleep aids can keep you comfy and help you to nod off effectively while you’re on board.

Avoid crossing your legs

This point might never have occurred to you before, but it will all make sense once it’s explained. When your legs are crossed, you are inadvertently clamping down on one side, which can lead to restricted blood flow. This is also another factor that can increase the likelihood of getting a blood clot if your flight exceeds four hours.

Furthermore, it can aggravate your back. This is because your lower half is twisted slightly to the left or right, depending on which way you cross your leg. Additionally, your upper body is still pointing straight forward, so more stress can be added to your lumbar too.

This trifecta of reasons should be enough to make you not want to cross your legs while you try and sleep.

Ideally, you want to sleep with your legs straight, and with a slight bend to your knees. In the perfect scenario, your aim is to avoid any blood pooling in the lower region of your body.

Avoid sleeping pills

If you’re flying solo, it’s advisable to stay clear of sleeping pills unless you are completely aware of the effects and how it affects you during and after taking them, the National Sleep Foundation advises.

The majority of over-the-counter sleep assisting tablets you take will have antihistamines; these tend to leave you feeling somewhat groggy as they work for prolonged periods.

If you’re keen on taking something to ensure you get a good sleep while you’re flying, give melatonin a go. Several research studies have highlighted the fact that melatonin can be an effective tool to alter your circadian rhythm.

Before we go…

On top of the tips we’ve just provided, an eye mask, earplugs and wearing loose, comfy clothing will help you to sleep more comfortably too.

Hopefully, this collection of handy pointers will help you to reach the high-level quality sleep you are searching for while you make your trip to your holiday destination. Just remember to relax, have fun and enjoy the ride!

  • Stefania Guglielmi

    Stefania Guglielmi is the founder of Every Steph. Originally from Bologna, Italy, she's been traveling full-time since 2016 and has visited over 50 countries across 6 continents. She believes sustainable travel and luxury travel can go hand in hand and has been advocating for responsible tourism since 2014. Stefania's advice and travel experiences have been featured in important publications such as Business Insider, Refinery29, and Yahoo Money.

Monika @

Saturday 28th of July 2018

it is my worst nightmare to sleep on the plane, will try to follow your advice the next time i am on a long flight!