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How to Get Good Sleep On a Plane

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As a family of 6 with 4 kids, whenever we have an overnight flight, it’s always a challenge to sleep well on the plane. Cramped seats, complaining kids, and uncomfortable clothes make getting quality sleep on a flight easier said than done. However, we have a few tips and tricks so you can maximize your chances of getting some rest on your next flight.

Choose the right seat

If you want to sleep on a plane, choosing the right seat can make a big difference. If you know that you need to get up and stretch or will be using the bathroom frequently, then an aisle seat might be better. In an aisle seat, there will be more room to stretch your legs, and if you need to get up you won’t bother fellow passengers. A window seat, on the other hand, can give you something to lean against while you sleep, which is great for younger kids, but it’ll be harder for them to reach the aisle. Avoid choosing a seat near the bathroom or galley as there will be more noise and traffic.

Bring earplugs or noise-cancelling headphones

Whether it’s the sound of the engines, the chatter of other passengers, or the clinking of dishes, there are many noises on a plane that can keep you awake or jar you out of sleep. Bringing a pair of earplugs or noise-cancelling headphones can help block out these sounds.

We like these headphones, which are adjustable and super comfortable.

Getting each child a pair of headphones is a good idea so they won’t be arguing about whose turn it is to use the headphones. Plus, even if they don’t get to sleep, they’ll be entertained and you’ll have a better chance of dozing off. Don’t forget to test the headphones out before your trip to ensure they fit comfortably and work well.

Wear comfortable clothing

Nobody can sleep in something as uncomfortable as jeans or an itchy sweater. Try to choose loose-fitting, breathable clothing that won’t restrict your movement or make you feel too hot or cold. Make sure your kids like what they are wearing onto the plane so that they won’t be complaining about their clothes. Avoid choosing clothes with buttons or zippers at the back since these can be very uncomfortable to sit or sleep with. You might want to pack an extra layer like a jacket, sweater, or even a lightweight blanket so you won’t be freezing if the temperature on the plane drops.

Bring a travel pillow

A travel pillow can be a lifesaver when it comes to sleeping on a plane. Look for one that provides good neck support and can be adjusted to your liking. You might also want to consider a pillow that can be attached to your carry-on luggage for easy transport.

Use a sleep mask

A sleep mask can help block out light and create a more comfortable environment for sleeping. Look for a mask that is adjustable so it will fit comfortably. Depending on your kid, you may want to get a sleep mask for them if they are bothered by lights. Silk masks are great for sensitive skin since they are less likely to irritate. 

Avoid caffeine and sugar

Caffeine can disrupt your sleep patterns and make it harder to fall asleep. Avoid drinking a black tea or coffee before or during your flight, and instead, opt for water or herbal tea. Staying hydrated can also help prevent jet lag and make you feel more refreshed upon arrival. Don’t give kids too many sugary snacks before flying as the sugar rush can make them restless. It will also make it harder for them to fall asleep because of the energy boost.

Try relaxation techniques

If your kids are having trouble falling asleep, try some relaxation techniques to help them (and you) unwind. Deep breathing exercises, meditation, and visualization can all help relax and calm your mind. You can also try listening to calming music or a guided meditation to help everyone drift off.

Adjust your sleep schedule

If you’re traveling across time zones, adjusting your sleep schedule before your trip can help reduce the effects of jet lag. Try gradually shifting bedtime and wake-up time to match the time zone of your destination. Avoiding bright screens before bedtime also helps.

Use a sleep aid

If you’re really struggling to sleep on a plane, you might want to consider using a sleep aid. We have used Olly’s Sleep Gummies, which are melatonin in a chewable form and can be used for kids as well as adults. However, it’s important to talk to your doctor before taking any sleep aid, especially if you have any underlying health conditions or are taking any medications.

Hopefully these tips were helpful! Getting a good night’s sleep on a plane can be challenging, but with a little preparation and the right mindset, it just might be possible!

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