Seldom will you find anyone who cherishes having to make 15-hour international flights. Most people would be quick to admit it's a real grind trying to survive through such an endeavor. That position should be easy to understand given the tight quarters and confinement each passenger has to endure.
If you are scheduling a long international flight, you might want to consider how you are going to get the sleep you need on the plane. A plane is not an environment that's conducive to sleeping. Therefore, it will take a little bit of strategy on your part to maximize the chances you will get any sleep at all. To that end, here are six tips from experienced travelers that might help you in your quest.
1. No Caffeine or Alcohol
Telling you to avoid caffeine when sleeping is your objective seems silly. You know it's a good idea to avoid coffee and sugars prior to or during a long flight. What you might not realize is that alcohol is not a good sleep conductor until you have had too much to drink and pass out. Intoxicated sleep is not very fulfilling.
2. Seating, Pillows and Blanket
If you are going to sit on a long flight, you might think of the window seat as being too restrictive. If you plan on running to the restroom every hour, that might be true. For sleeping, the window will give you somewhere to put your head and pillow without getting punched by your aisle-mate.
3. Eat Foods That Boost Body's Production of Melatonin or Serotonin
A good meal before boarding a plane will give you an opportunity to load up on foods that boost the production of Melatonin or Serotonin, both of which are substances that promote sleep. Among the foods you can consider eating would be turkey, seafood, dairy, chicken, nuts, seeds, bananas, oatmeal and eggs.
4. Keep Your Body Positioned to Sleep
It's near impossible to find a comfortable position in which to sleep on a plane. Heck, it's hard to get comfortable sitting position. When trying to sleep, don't cross your legs, it cuts off circulation. Do give your neck and spine plenty of support. Finally, you'll want to recline and stretch your legs out as much as possible.
5. Darken the Mood as Much as Possible
The blue light from electronics cuts down on the secretion of melatonin. About 30 minutes before you want to sleep, you should shut of all devices, turn off the overhead light, close the window and breathe in rhythm to help your mind and body relax. Sleep will follow.
6. Dress Comfortably
You can't bring your bed or pajamas on the plane, but you can certainly select clothing that makes you feel comfortable around home. Loose and warm clothing would be your best options for sleeping on a long flight.
Getting good rest on the plane sets the stage for a really nice trip. If you employ some or all of the tips provided above, there's a decent chance you'll get some sleep, making the flight seem a lot shorter than anticipated.