How to Sleep During a Flight: The Secrets of In-Flight Slumber

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Food and Drink

While some travelers see a flight as an occasion to eat and drink non-stop, I believe in moderation.

“Something without caffeine, perhaps?”

Drinking a lot of coffee, tea, and alcohol will only accelerate the body’s dehydration, although a glass of wine or a drink or two can help one relax.  When it comes to eating, follow your mother’s advice: “don’t go to bed on a full stomach.”   I tend to eat lightly and sample what is being served, and I frequently pass on dessert.

When I take the late-night London flights, I don’t really eat anything at all.  I just press the bed button on my seat and ask the flight attendant not to wake me for breakfast.

Seat Location

When it comes to choosing a seat, I tend to be a bit obsessive, regardless of which cabin it is located in.  With apologies to George Orwell, not all seats in the same cabin are created equal and some seats are more equal than others.  The nuances in seating could be the subject of an entire article but, suffice it to say, where reclining seats are involved, I will always opt for bulkhead locations, so that no one can recline into my space.

When it comes to staggered seating, I try to opt for a single seat directly next to a window.  In coach, window seats are also advantageous as the cabin wall or window can serve as a headrest, and one is also isolated from traffic or a seatmate who has to get up to go to the lav.

Eye Masks

Many airlines provide an eye mask in their amenity kits but I have never found that they really do the trick.  Recently, I came across an eye mask that worked so well that I have been able to sleep on shorter flights without a problem.  The Midnight Magic Sleep Mask, from Cabeau Travel, is lightweight and can be adjusted to fit the contour of your face.  It does an excellent job of blocking unwanted light and I found that I occasionally even forgot that I had it on.  I attempted to use noise-reducing headphones but found them too bulky when trying to sleep, but your mileage may vary in this respect.

If you have any tips we didn’t touch upon, please tell us by posting a comment below.

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