We know all too well that it can be difficult to get those much-needed z’s on a plane what with crying babies, turbulence, and an AC system that never seems to work right. (It’s even more difficult if you get stuck in a middle seat!) If you suffer from snoring or sleep apnea, it’s even more crucial that you get a good rest on the plane because sleep deprivation can worsen your symptoms. Plus, a lack of sleep can weaken your immune system, which in turn can aggravate asthma and allergy symptoms. But don’t stress—we’ve gathered up some of the best tips on how to sleep on an airplane.
How to best sleep on a plane
Have a big trip coming up? Depending on your travel destination, you could be in for a long flight. So, you’ll definitely want to get some quality shut-eye so you’re well rested and ready to take on your destination as soon as you land.
1) Dress in layers.
Never count on the airplane cabin being the optimal temperature for comfort and sleep. More often than not, the plane is either uncomfortably hot to the point that you’re sweating or so cold you’re tempted to cuddle the stranger next to you. Since you never know what the temperature will be like ahead of time, dressing in layers is a good way to prepare for any scenario. A large scarf can double as a blanket, and a jacket can be easily removed if the cabin is a little toasty. Finding small ways to make yourself more comfortable on the plane is the first step for quality snooze time. Find other tips on what to wear on the plane.
2) Choose a window seat.
Most airlines allow you to choose a seat when booking your ticket. If possible, choose a window seat. Even with a neck pillow, it can be very difficult to get a good nap in when you’re sitting in the middle or the aisle seat. Sitting next to the window gives you a place to lean your head, allowing you a little more comfort. Grab your travel pillow, prop it up against the window, and doze off. The in-flight meal will be there before you know it!
3) Complete your sleep-time routine.
Many people have a nightly ritual to help them get to sleep each night. While you may not be able to do your customary yoga routine on the plane, you can find ways to bring the comfort of your nightly habits to your travel setup.
If you like to fall asleep to a movie or your favorite album, make sure you have your phone charged and your noise-canceling headphones ready to go. Or, download an app that plays white noise or the soothing sounds of a rainstorm if that’s more your style. Bring an eye mask in case your neighbor insists on keeping their above-seat light on the entire flight.
Spritz your travel pillow with lavender essential oil if that helps ease you into sleep. Finding ways to be a little more comfortable can help you sleep better and feel well rested when you land.
4) Skip the in-flight alcohol.
Many people believe that drinking an alcoholic beverage before hitting the hay can help them sleep better, but the opposite is actually true. While alcohol is a sedative and may help you fall asleep quickly, it can actually take precious hours away from your REM cycle, and it can cause you to wake up frequently in later cycles—which is the last thing you want for a peaceful, restful sleep.
Additionally, WebMD says that people with obstructive sleep apnea should especially avoid drinking before going to sleep, as the alcohol can relax the muscles at the back of the throat and aggravate sleep apnea symptoms.
Just thinking about an upcoming long flight can be exhausting, but following these tips on how to sleep on an airplane can help you feel a little more rested when the plane touches down and help you feel ready to take on your travel destination!
Sleeping with a Snorer while Traveling
Your head hits the pillow and you feel yourself falling into the sleep you so long for after a full day of sightseeing. Just as you’re about to succumb to your sweet dreams, IT begins. The noise. Terrifying to some, irritating to you, revealing to a certified ENT doctor. Snoring. How do you survive a vacation with a snoring partner? Ideally, you want to find the underlying cause of the snoring (of which there could be one, or several in tandem), but that’s not what you’re really here to learn about, is it? You want to know what to do about it in the moment. Let’s go over the options.
So, how to sleep in a room with someone who snores?
Invest in Some Earplugs
You can buy anything from the cheap and simple foam style, to a high quality, custom molded set specifically designed for your unique ears. If the problem is temporary, like a cold or sinus infection, it’s advisable to go with a cheaper pair. If you have yet to see the light at the end of the tunnel, a custom set may be worth the investment in the long run.
Bring Along A White Noise Machine
Many people swear by white noise machines even if they don’t have a snorer in the room. White noise has a calming effect and aids in falling asleep, and even better, it can also help drown out your partner’s unfavorable sleeping noises.
Don’t forget your partner can also travel with a CPAP machine, it can also be an option so both of you can rest at night.
Pack the Noise-Canceling Headphones
While extremely effective in drowning out the noise, this option will likely be the least comfortable to sleep in. These headphones tend to be rather large and bulky, so if you’re anything but a back sleeper, this option won’t lead to a good night’s rest for you.
Roll Your Partner Over
Occasionally, back sleeping is the culprit behind the nightly orchestra. Simply rolling your partner over may be enough to silence the performance. If you’re truly desperate, you can even attach a tennis ball to the back of a t-shirt to help discourage the offending sleeping position.
[Related: Why does Snoring Happen?]
Stick on Some Nasal Strips
While nasal strips may not be a guaranteed fix for all snorers, it can work well for some. Given that it’s on the cheaper end of the spectrum of solutions, it’s definitely worth a shot.
Back Away From the Alcohol
Stop alcohol consumption four hours before bedtime. Alcohol has a relaxing effect on the muscles in the throat and can narrow airways—causing the dreaded snoring. While drinks can be tempting, especially on a tropical vacation, following this simple tip may be enough to curb the problem.There you have it—some immediate, albeit temporary, solutions for your snoring partner.
Ultimately, you’ll want your partner to see a doctor since snoring tends to stem from an underlying health issue. It can be a result of anything from weight gain to smoking, lack of exercise to untreated allergies, or even sleep apnea. If you’re reading this from the comfort of a tropical beach somewhere, we invite you to try out these quick tips and tricks. If you’re planning next season’s vacation, guarantee yourself a peaceful vacation by visiting a trained medical professional.
Best Sleep Aids for Travel
There’s a reason it’s referred to as “home, sweet home.” No matter how fancy the hotel, how expensive the mattress, or how fluffy the pillows, sleep never feels sweeter than in the comfort of your own bedroom. In today’s post we’ll share the best sleep aid for travel.
We tend to be creatures of habit, finding our routines and our “sweet spots” which generate of sense of contentment and familiarity. Take us out of our environment and you may experience some unconscious push back, even if you weren’t expecting it.
8 tips to sleep better on your next trip
So how can you recreate those sweet dreams you get at home when you’re on vacation? Well, everyone is different and you may have to try a couple of things, maybe even a combination of things, but hopefully the tips below will be enough to safeguard sleep on your next adventure.
Take your pillow with you
It’s not always convenient and it takes up valuable suitcase space, but it pays off in the end. A lot of what makes sleep so indulgent back home is having that perfect spot to rest your head. Now, at some hotels you may get lucky and be presented with a pillow menu (yes, that’s a thing). In fact, here’s a cheat sheet to help you choose! But if that’s not an option, or if you’re staying with family that just doesn’t quite share your penchant for luxuriously fluffy (or firm) pillows, then trust us, you’ll be grateful you ditched that extra pair of shoes to squeeze in old faithful.
Try to stick to your bedtime routine
Whether you realize it or not, everyone has their own routine before going to bed. Whether you take a hot bath, read a few chapters of a good book, or enjoy a cup of tea, stick to what you’d normally do at home.
Familiarity will help put your mind in the right state for a solid night’s sleep.
Counter sleep aid
If you’re a light sleeper and you know that unfamiliar noises will likely interrupt your slumber, try taking an over-the-counter sleep aid such as Melatonin or Tylenol PM. However, always consult a doctor before beginning any new medication or supplement regimen. Everyone reacts differently to medications, and sleep aids can present risks to those suffering from sleep apnea. Also keep in mind that while sleep aids may be a good temporary fix for intermittent sleeping problems, they are not a long-term solution. It’s always advisable to determine and address the root cause of any ongoing issues you are experiencing.
Take your white noise machine
There are many advantages on traveling with a white noise machine. There are even apps for that now, allowing you to turn your phone into a portable white noise machine. It can help drown out the sounds of traffic if you’re staying within a city center, or add some noise if you’re out in the country where the silence can be deafening.
Don’t forget your earplugs and sleep mask
If you’re one of the people whom sleep eludes at the first sign of light or sound, consider taking along some earplugs and a sleep mask. If you’re flying across the globe, then chances are you’ll find yourself napping during the brightest and busiest times of the day. Being able to shut the world out and recharge will be crucial to your well being.
Maintain the same sleep schedule
Believe it or not, one of the best sleep aid for travel is trying to maintain the same sleep schedule. If you go to bed at 9 back home, go to bed at 9 everywhere else. Even if you’re halfway across the world where night is day and day is night, abiding by a daily sleep schedule will help your body adjust quicker to the change.
If you’re on vacation, there will be nights where that simply isn’t realistic, but don’t worry! Let loose a few nights, but keep some structure overall—otherwise, stepping back into your home routine will feel like a chore once your trip is over.
Don’t overindulge in food and alcohol.
Again, this might be tough when you’re on vacation, but having digestive problems in the middle of the night will put a quick halt on your next day’s activities. Alcohol initially induces drowsiness, which is why many people believe it aids in sleep.
The truth is that alcohol is actually a huge sleep disruptor; it inhibits REM sleep, which is the most restorative sleep phase you enter throughout the night. Because alcohol is also a diuretic, you’ll be up far more often than normal needing to visit the bathroom. Practicing moderation will help you catch your z’s and still enjoy everything on your itinerary.
Enjoy your travel, relax
Most importantly, remember to relax; stress and sleep have a turbulent relationship. Poor sleep can impact your mood, your cognitive ability, and your overall well being, leading to stress. In turn, stress then sabotages your quality of sleep and it becomes a never-ending cycle.
Find a few minutes everyday to do something that you enjoy, something that relaxes you. Whether that’s a few minutes of yoga, 30 minutes of a TV show, a chapter of a new book, or maybe just a hot cup of tea, find a way to release that tension and your mind and body will thank you.
And for all our struggling sleepers that suffer from sleep apnea, don’t forget to abide by any medication schedules or sleep routines your doctor has put in place. It’s easy to become a little lax on vacation, falling out of step with our daily protocols; however, that can cause a ripple effect on our sleep patterns which will be difficult to overcome once you return back home. A little structure will help ensure that your dreams remain sweet at home and beyond.