While jetting off to far-flung timeshare destinations can seem like the ultimate in glamour and luxury, a lot of us really struggle with long-haul flights. Getting to sleep in tight, cramped plane seats, surrounded by noise, crying babies and bright lights can seem impossible for some.
To ease yourself into a slumber on a plane, here are our top tips on how to fall asleep onboard your next TransAtlantic crossing:
1) Pack Wisely
Fill your hand luggage with all those sleepy essentials – ear plugs, a soft blanket, water, books, a sleep mask and a travel pillow. These can all be crucial in helping you drift off, even in the trickiest of environments.
2) Stick to a Routine
Wherever you can, book a flight that matches your natural sleep pattern. If not, then follow your usual bedtime routine pre-flight (brushing your teeth, reading a book) to help you unwind.
3) Dress Comfortably
While your holey PJs might not be flight-appropriate, dressing comfortably can help you to get to sleep. Comfy sweatpants, hoodies and a pair of warm socks will all enable you to relax onboard. It can get cold in a plane cabin, especially overnight.
4) Pick Your Seat Wisely
If you’re a sleeper of habit, try to pick your seat according to the side you sleep. According to the experts, the left side is best, since the windows are off-centre – giving you more space to stretch out.
5) Make Yourself Tired
The night before you fly, try sleeping slightly less than normal. Once you’re on the plane and relaxed, sleep should come.
6) Flip Your Neck Pillow
Rather than placing your neck pillow behind your neck, flip it over and place it under your chin. This way, your head will be supported when you fall forwards during sleep.
7) Avoid the Light
In-flight movies and tablet devices can be a great distraction, but they can also wreak havoc on your body’s sleep cycle. Block out light by popping on an eye mask – and watch yourself drift off.
8) Hit the Carbs
Avoid the caffeine, alcohol or sugar-rich snacks on the snack trolley. Instead, try having a carb-rich snack an hour before you want to snooze. A brandy might help you get to sleep but if you have too many alcholic drinks you’ll regret it after you land. Alcohol is very dehydrating and the effect is multiplied if you’re in the air. Likewise, don’t overdo the water and soft drinks or you’ll be woken from your inflight slumber by the need to make a beeline for the toilet.
9) Drown out White Noise
Studies have proven that blocking out annoying white noise can help us to fall asleep. Invest in a pair of ear plugs or listen to an ambient soundtrack, such as rainfall, to help you unwind and lull you into a deep slumber.