5 Hacks to Get Better Sleep on a Plane - Cabeau

5 Hacks to Get Better Sleep on a Plane

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5 Hacks to Get Better Sleep on a Plane

By Jill Schildhouse

Anyone who’s sensitive to their sleep environment probably dreads red-eye flights and the difficulty they face trying to get some quality shut-eye at 35,000 feet. Heck, even if you’re a sound sleeper at home, catching 40 winks on a flight can be hard to come by. However, planning ahead with a few sleep hygiene best practices combined with bringing must-have sleep-inducing products onboard can go a long way toward making your dreams of dreaming a reality. 

Avoid Alcohol 

Sure, the free alcohol on international flights can be tempting to take advantage of, but it probably won’t help in the long run. According to the Sleep Foundation, consuming alcohol before sleep can lead to frequent wakings and low-quality sleep. Further it can disrupt your circadian rhythm, which can affect your sleep-wake cycle — something that is already strained when switching time zones. Feel free to have a glass of wine or cocktail with dinner service, and then switch to water. 

Stay Hydrated 

Speaking of water, staying hydrated on a flight is so important. Why? Airplane cabins have very low humidity levels because the air circulating about is pulled from outside at high altitudes — and that air is dry. It’s also why you may end up with a headache, dry lips and hands, and muscle cramping. Drinking water alone may not be enough to properly hydrate your cells, so travel with electrolytes like Protekt Hydration. These TSA-approved liquid supplements of potassium, sodium and magnesium don’t clump up in your water bottle (no mixing or shaking needed!), and have no added sugar or artificial sweeteners. 

Recreate Your Ideal Sleep Environment in your Carryon Bag

Unless you’re the “I can sleep anywhere, anytime” type, try to find a travel-friendly solution to whatever you rely on at home for a great night’s sleep. That list probably includes a comfortable pillow that provides support and alignment, a snuggly blanket to keep you warm and cozy, room-darkening shades in the form of a light-blocking sleep mask, and noise-canceling headphones or earplugs to drown out any sound. No, this doesn’t make you a high-maintenance traveler; it makes you a savvy one.  

Try a Meditation App
Trying to shut your mind off in an unfamiliar space can be challenging, so how about letting an expert guide you straight to relaxation? Don’t worry about cell service or Wi-Fi with Calm, an app that allows you to download meditation soundtracks or sleep melodies. There’s also a series dedicated to helping calm flight anxiety if this is something you struggle with. Even if you don’t achieve REM sleep, you’ll at least rest your eyes and quiet your mind for a bit.

Consider a Sleep Aid

If all else fails, perhaps an over-the-counter sleep aid could lull you into a slumber. Some popular options include melatonin (which also helps regulate our circadian rhythm), non-habit forming ZzzQuil, or Protekt Rest, which supports sleep through mind-calming valerian root, Gaba and L-theanine. Of course, if you normally take a prescription sleep medication, feel free to take it in-flight as well. No matter which of these options you try, just don’t take them too late in your flight or you could find yourself still groggy upon landing — the earlier, the better. 

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