We're preparing for a trip overseas this summer and I'm already agonizing about the long international flight. I come from a long line of insomniacs and I'm a white-knuckle flier so sleep, especially in coach and sans medication, deserts me on those overnight flights.
But this year, I'm resolved - its being the new year and all - to get at least some sleep on our flight. So I combed the Internet, talked to some friends, interviewed my GP and came up with these tips for plane sleep which I plan to use. Maybe this will be the flight in which I snooze away.
Before You Fly
* Get into a routine of going to bed earlier than usual. This way when you're on the plane, you're likely to feel sleepy sooner.
* If you can afford it, pay extra for the new premium economy class with extra legroom and a little extra recline.
* In a carry-on, pack something from home that's comforting. A small pillow, favorite throw, even your pj's (or lite workout sweats). Also bring an eye mask to block out cabin or your seat mate's overhead lights, ear plugs to drown out cabin noise and a favorite book, music on an iPod or movie on your computer or iPad.
* Bring your own dinner on the plane. This way you can eat healthy and don't have to wait to be served by the flight attendant. Options include a sandwich or salad you pick up at the airport or some non-smelly cheese and crackers you bring from home. (Freeze the cheese the night before and by the time you pull it out to eat, it will be defrosted and ready to enjoy.)
* Wear something comfortable on the plane and bring a sweater to keep you warm if the plane gets cold.
* Don't wear your contacts on the plane. The low-humidity air will dry them out, especially if you try to sleep with them in.
On the Plane
* Place a small carry-on bag under the seat in front of you. This not only leaves room in the overhead bin for your and other passengers' luggage but when you're ready to go to sleep, you can pull out the bag and use it as a foot rest - getting your body more prone will help you fall asleep.
* After you've eaten your carry-on food, use the bathroom to clean up and brush your teeth. Follow the same routine you'd do at home.
* Now pull that bag out from under the seat and prop your feet up, relax, put your earplugs in, read a little of your book, listen to some favorite tunes on your iPod, or watch a movie on your computer.
* Getting sleepy? Put your eye mask on, close your eyes, lean back and slumber away.