If you have a red-eye flight, you may be dreading the fact that you won’t be able to sleep during the flight (or, if you do sleep, that it will be a poor sleep). After all, a red-eye flight gets its name from the fact that overnight flights leave you with red eyes, as a result of fatigue and not sleeping well. But it is possible to get a decent sleep on an overnight flight, whether it’s a few hours or a whole night’s sleep. Here are five travel hacks that will help you do this and ensure that, when you land, you’re not red-eyed and grumpy, but, instead, rested and ready to enjoy your holiday.

1. Get a window seat

Having a window seat is ideal for sleeping as the cabin wall provides you with somewhere to rest your head. Also, you will be less likely to be woken up by the people next to you who need to use the bathroom or get up to walk around.

2. Wear comfortable clothing

Wearing tight jeans and a t-shirt is not the best attire to help you sleep on an overnight flight. Instead, dress in comfortable, non-restrictive clothing like tracksuit bottoms and a soft hoodie. This will make it easier for you to fall asleep.

3. Keep your seatbelt on

There’s nothing worse than being in the middle of a good slumber, only to be woken up by a flight attendant asking you to put your seatbelt on. Make sure to keep your seatbelt on the whole flight, with it fastened over your blanket or clothing so that it’s clearly visible to the flight attendants.

4. Stay hydrated

Planes have low humidity and this often leads to dehydration, which may affect the quality of your sleep. For this reason, it’s important to stay hydrated while flying. Be sure to have plenty of water with you at hand and sip some whenever you feel thirsty.

5. Avoid alcohol, caffeine, and nicotine

Alcohol, caffeine, and nicotine can lead to disrupted sleep. Alcohol, for example, can prevent you from entering the deeper stages of sleep, so even if drinking helps you fall and stay asleep, it may not provide you with quality, restful sleep. Caffeine and nicotine, on the other hand, are both stimulating and can make it difficult to fall asleep in the first place. Be sure to avoid alcohol, caffeine, and nicotine for the several hours leading up to your flight.

6. Eat sleep-inducing foods

Some foods are not conducive to a good night’s sleep. This would include sugary food and spicy food, both of which are stimulating and will keep you awake. Instead, try sleep-inducing foods such as almonds, bananas, and oatmeal (these are all rich in minerals that help to promote sleep). Another good option is miso soup, which contains amino acids that boosts the production of melatonin, a natural, sleep-inducing hormone. Chamomile tea has also long been hailed as an effective sleep aid, so that could be worth trying too.

7. Bring the right supplies

For your overnight flight (or any flight you plan to sleep on), you should bring the right supplies: this would include a comfortable neck pillow, a quality eye mask, earplugs, and a large blanket (the ones provided by your airline may not be ideal).

By following these recommendations, you will give yourself the best chances of getting decent sleep on a flight. Of course, sleeping upright can’t give you the same quality of sleep you would enjoy if you were lying down. So, if you really want an optimal sleep, then it may be worth paying that bit extra for business class or first class, where you can potentially enjoy lay-flat beds.


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