Achieving quality sleep can be challenging even when you’ve designed a night-time routine for the ultimate calm. But getting quality rest on a plane in cramped seats, with breathtakingly loud (and unpredictable) noises, and in the company of complete strangers only millimeters away can seem near impossible.
While a few lucky people can pass out easily upon takeoff, for most of us, quality in-flight sleep is a struggle. Fortunately, there are natural ways you can arrive at your destination rested (or at least relaxed) and that increase your chances of powering down when you’re up in the air:
Hydrate—Well Before You Board
The recirculated air on a plane can be extremely dehydrating and since the goal here is to rest en route, chugging down water mid-air will result in frequent bathroom stops. Instead, know that hydrating well starts a few days before your flight. Though it might be tempting—especially if you’re on vacation—coffee and alcohol won’t help you sleep soundly and will result in further dehydration.
Recreate Your Natural Nighttime Ritual
Obviously, a luxurious bath is out of the question, but tailor a new nighttime ritual that’s plane-friendly. Soak up some essential oils, pack a face cloth to warm up under the tap to cleanse your skin, slip into your most comfortable clothes, journal, meditate, do some simple stretches, brush your teeth, put on your noise-canceling headphones and play those sleep sounds or calming white noise.
Not Too Hot, Not Too Cold
The air conditioning on planes can fluctuate and as you settle down to rest, cause your body to feel too cold to sleep. Do your best to get your temperature as close to “right” as possible—pack some breathable, merino wool socks, pack clothing you can layer on and off, bring your own pillow or neck pillow, and be sure to say yes to a blanket.
Help Prep Your Body For Sleep With Melatonin
Speaking of relaxation, enlist the help of the natural supplement, melatonin for occasional sleep support. It’s a hormone that your body produces to help regulate your circadian rhythm—that nudge that it’s time for you to go to bed.
Dim the Lights & Skip the Movie Marathon
Light, especially the artificial kind, causes wakefulness—invest in a comfortable, luxurious-feeling eyemask that cuts out the overhead lights (because plenty of light can pass through closed eyelids). Turn off as many blue light sources as possible, like smartphones, laptops, and the screen on the back of the seat in front of you, and skip the movie marathon (which is otherwise likely to make you feel tired and wired on arrival).
Relax & Take The Pressure Off
Finally, achieving ultra-deep sleep on an aircraft is simply not realistic for most people. Pressuring yourself to fall asleep is also counter-intuitive so instead just aim to relax, do a crossword, read a book, run through your nighttime ritual, and eventually close your eyes with a goal of simply enjoy the hours of being in transit.