How to get to sleep on a plane
With Easter on the horizon, many of us will soon be making the most of the long weekend by getting away for some well deserved rest – and for some, that may even mean catching a flight.
Long flights in particular are often seen as a good way of catching up on sleep. Napping while above the clouds allows us to recharge our batteries and realign our sleep patterns before we land in our chosen getaway destination.
However Silentnight’s resident sleep expert, Dr Nerina Ramlakhan, believes we shouldn’t worry too much if we struggle to drift off on board – after all, sleeping upright in a chair isn’t exactly the same as a mattress. Flights can often be uncomfortable, not to mention very noisy!
However, aside from sleep, there are lots of other things we can do to improve our wellbeing in flight to kickstart our holidays.
With years of sleep and wellbeing research under her belt, Dr Nerina has shared her top tips for utilising your flight time:
Top tips for making the most of your time on a plane:
- The work, rest and play principle
“Avoid just sitting and surfing the in-flight entertainment. Plan ahead and aim to take regular movement breaks while watching and in-between programmes. Most flights have WiFi these days, but you should avoid watching more than one screen at a time. If you have to work, then do so but reward yourself with a movement break with stretching, followed by watching a film. The aim is to be very conscious about when you are working, and taking time to switch off with some entertainment or quality rest.”
- Think ‘rest’ rather than sleep
“A lot of people can’t sleep when flying, but don’t worry about it. You could potentially recoup more energy by resting well rather than trying to sleep. Think about resting rather than sleeping, and use the in-flight guided meditations to help you rest and balance your energy.”
- Meditate on take off and landing
“Close your eyes, focus on your breathing, while mentally repeating the words IN and OUT. Do this for 10-20 minutes on take-off and landing to calm any jitters but also to help to balance out your energy. Do so with your eyes closed so that you can visualise or imagine roots coming out from your feet down to the centre of the earth. This is very grounding and can help to minimise the destabilising effect of flying.
- Stand and put roots down
“Linked to meditation, get up and move. Find some space where you can stand with your feet about hip width apart and breathe deeply. On the exhalation, imagine sending roots out through your feet to the earth’s centre.”
- Avoid clock watching
“If you’re feeling anxious about whether or not you’re sleeping, use the rest principle and avoid constantly checking how much time you have left until landing. Also, avoid measuring how much sleep you’ve had and definitely avoid using a ‘smart’ wristband device to monitor your sleep pattern.”
- Essential oils – lavender and eucalyptus oils
Dr Nerina also recommends travelling with small bottles of essential oils such as lavender or eucalyptus, as these can aid rest, clear stuffy noses and allow you to breathe more freely.
- Positive mental attitude
“If you’re getting agitated by having to sit for so long or frustrated by delays, try to stay positive. Think about how busy you might have been before you got on the plane or how busy you might be when you land and value the time you have to rest and be looked after – smile and think grateful thoughts.”
Are you going away this Easter? Let us know and tell us where on our social pages.