Traveling has its challenges for our sleep cycle which is constantly disturbed by factors such as modern advancements, busy work schedules, fun, or stress. But you can easily sleep while flying if you’re careful about a few details.
You may find it easy to fall asleep or struggle with it in daily life. Whichever way you are, this routine is subject to change while traveling. Some of us may find it hard to fall asleep away from our bed or home and surrounded by strangers coughing, crying, or talking loudly.
On the other hand, even if you’re not affected by your surroundings, your sleep cycle may be disrupted due to, for instance, a busy travel schedule, stress, and staying up late during your journey. We’re all familiar with the results of jet lag and time zone difference. But, despite all this, you can still have quality sleep while traveling.
There are certain factors affecting your quality of sleep, especially in longer flights. Similar to when you’re sleeping in your own home, these fundamental factors are light, noise, and temperature. If you can manage these variables, then you can sleep better on planes independent of the leg room or the comfort of airlines' improved seats.
First, you need to be comfortable with the temperature. Make sure to dress properly considering the cabin's air-conditioning. Especially in winter months, thick clothes can negatively affect your sleep due to increasing body temperature in indoor areas. Moreover, you can benefit from your preferred temperature and past flight experiences when choosing a seat from between the aisle and window options.
Next, you can take measures to reduce the effects of the noise. A research conducted in 2012 to assess the effect of cabin noise on passenger comfort demonstrates that there is a direct correlation between noise and comfort levels. However, there are other studies that have proven that cabin noise can make falling asleep easier by serving as a source of white noise. There are even people who listen to cabin noise on various platforms to help them fall asleep. If you’re disturbed by the cabin noise, you can use earplugs. Noise-cancelling headphones, which have become quite popular in recent years, can also come in handy unless you’re listening to something that might disturb your sleep. You can reach relaxing tunes on the inflight entertainment system.
Finally -and arguably most importantly- light. Your body’s level of melatonin, a hormone released in darkness and helping us fall asleep by regulating our biological clock, is naturally affected during long-distance flights. Therefore, if you wish to sleep comfortably, you should avoid looking at any kind of screens before sleeping. Research shows that the bright light of phones or tablets decreases the level of melatonin in our system. Instead of looking at screens, you can read a book to prepare your body for sleep. However, you should also remember that, after long flights, being exposed to this bright light can be useful to regulate your biological clock. Have a nice flight!