Having sleep issues on a flight? Check out these tips

Can’t sleep when flying? These tips should help

Sleep issues when flying

The Mistral is a ferocious and loud wind that, when it blows incessantly for weeks, drives people mad in Provence. There’s an old saying that a murder committed after a week of Mistral should be forgiven.

But what about the maddening sound of wind (and jet engine noise) that you experience when you fly, especially on a long overnight flight? It might not cause you to commit mayhem, but it affects you in ways you might not imagine, causing stress, fatigue and loss of sleep.

Did you not sleep on your last long flight? There are steps you can take to change that next time, everything from the plane you choose to fly on to what you do once you’re on board.

The reasons you can’t sleep well in flight are legion, and some of them are less obvious than others. As much as possible, you want to recreate the same environment that you experience when you sleep in your own bed. Not easy, but the closer you get, the better you’ll sleep. Here are 10 sleep-killers and how you can defeat them.


Wind and engine noise create stress and are anathema to sleep and relaxation. At home, unless you live near an airport you don’t listen to roaring jet engines while you’re trying to get some shut-eye, so block out as much as you can when you fly.

Tip: Bring and wear earplugs (either silicone or foam, with a decibel reduction rating of 30 or more). They won’t block out all the noise, but enough to make a difference. Unless you sleep on your side, put a pair of Bose noise-canceling earphones on top of the earplugs (don’t play music, just turn them on). Flying on a quieter plane helps, too. Airbus A380s fly much quieter, for example, than some other, older models.


Even when all the window shades are down (and there’s always someone who throws one up in the middle of the day/night) we now have those seat-back video screens throwing off light all night long, plus lighted signs in the cabin.

Tip: Wear eye shades. When I fly at night, I see very few people wearing them. No wonder they can’t sleep. They hand them out in some amenity kits on international flights, even in economy class, but they’re not great quality so buy and carry your own (Tempur-Pedic makes a great one) or grab one from an amenity kit in first and business next time your pass through at the end of a flight.

To read the rest of this sleep related article, click here:


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