Long distance flights, perhaps more than anything else, have transformed the way that people take holidays. Not so long ago, a journey to south-east Asia would have cost a fortunate and taken six months, now, there are an abundance of cheap flights to Thailand and other far flung destinations through the likes of DialAFlight, but there’s no getting away from the fact that long distance flights aren’t fun.
So, if you’re one of those people who walks up and down the aisle scowling at those lucky few who manage to get to sleep, here are a few things that might make you feel better.
Firstly, it’s almost certain that no one in economy, or even economy plus (if there is one) is sleeping comfortably. Deep sleep brings with it a lot of muscle relaxation, which is impossible if you’re sitting up. Neck pillows can help, but most are badly designed so if you are going to buy one, make sure you get a good one that actually fits. Research suggests that are minimum angle of 40 degrees is needed for good sleep, so paying for an upgrade might be a practical use of time.
Secondly, a lot depends on your temperature. Most airlines hand out blankets, but they’re not great for actually regulating your temperature. Cotton or wool clothing is the best thing around, so a suit will probably be more comfortable than jeans…although going to sleep won’t do anything for how smart you look when you get off the plane.
Next, there’s a remarkable amount of activity and stimulation on a plane when you think about it. Shutting this out is a good idea, so invest in good headphones or ear plugs, and even if you think you look daft, something to cover your eyes is a good idea. Also, it may be worth buckling your seatbelt over your blanket, so no one disturbs you if the seatbelt lights go on.
The body has an internal rhythm, and sleeps an integral part of that. If you’ve got a usual going to bed routine (like brushing your teeth etc) then go through the motions, you may trick your brain into going to sleep. Food also plays a big role, so you could consider having a meal at a normal time in the airport, and then forgoing the ‘snack’ on the plane which arrives at three in the morning and really confuses your stomach.
Finally, acceptance is a great healer, most people never sleep comfortably on planes, so schedule your trips accordingly. If you’re going to be awake, book a day flight, a night flight will only land first thing in the morning when you want to be going to bed because you haven’t slept, but instead you have to stay awake feeling awful.
Dealing with long haul flights is an integral part of having a great holiday in an exotic location, so try some of the tips above next time so you can get your holiday going as soon as the plane lands on the runway.
Image courtesy enrique galeano morales