Experts reveal how to sleep better when flying

Have you got the travel bug? As Australia reopens its borders, and flights resume, many Aussies are booking overseas trips for work and leisure.

However, as exciting as an overseas adventure can be, sleeping on a plane can be a real challenge.

A young woman sitting on an airplane holding her head in her hands unable to sleep
If you're tired of struggling to sleep on long flights, experts reveal top tips for to help you get more sleep in the sky. Source: Getty Images

To help you sleep better on your next flight, health expert April Mayer from Amerisleep, shares with Yahoo Lifestyle sleep-boosting insights from frequent and experienced travellers. We've compiled them here for your convenience.

Do I need a flight pillow?

"Investing in a decent neck support pillow for flying will be a lifesaver and can help stop any neck pain as it will properly support your neck. It will also help you sleep as you won’t feel the need to fidget to get your head comfortable regularly. You may also find an eye mask useful for light exposure and if you are unable to get a window seat and have control of the blind," says April.


How should I buckle my seat belt?

"How you buckle your seatbelt is important for any chance of a good night’s sleep in the sky. The idea is that you should buckle it over your blanket instead of under it, this way flight attendants can see you are wearing it and won’t need to wake you in the case of any turbulence. This will also stop the buckle feeling uncomfortable and awkward whilst you sleep."

What clothes should I wear?

"It’s very important to wear something comfortable and that isn’t too restrictive or stiff such as tight jeans. Layers are important also as it can feel cold after time on a long-haul flight, this way you also have the option of removing layers if you get too hot."

How and where should I sit?

"Try to reserve a window seat if you can, this way you can lean on the window if need be and be in control of your light exposure", says April.

Experts recommend picking a window seat for a better sleep while flying. This gives you somewhere to lean, and a way to be in control of outside light. Source: Getty Images
Experts recommend picking a window seat for a better sleep while flying. This gives you somewhere to lean, and a way to be in control of outside light. Source: Getty Images

"It’s a good idea not to cross your legs either as this can reduce blood flow in your legs and make you susceptible to blood clots or being in pain when you wake up. Also make sure to recline your chair, as this will put less pressure on your lower spine ensuring a better night’s sleep."

What should I eat?

Try not to overindulge before a flight and go for something light, as this will help you doze off easier than if you're feeling too full."

Light salad, the perfect pre-flight snack for better sleep. Salad in brown paper takeaway container and bag with wooden cutlery
Eating something light can help you have a better in-flight sleep. Avoid heavy foods that leave you feeling too full or bloated. Source: Getty Images

What should I listen to?

"Find a podcast you find relaxing and listen to it several times before bed in preparation for your flight. This way you will be familiar with it and associate it with sleep when the time comes to sleep. Noise-cancelling headphones will also help you get a more undisturbed sleep."

Is there anything I can take to help me sleep?

"Our experts suggest taking a dose of magnesium before take-off," says April. "It’s a natural supplement that will make it easier for you to rest easy."

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