How to Sleep on a Plane According to Science

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Do you struggle to fall asleep on a plane?

After flying for several hours, no one likes to arrive at their final destination feeling groggy and jetlagged, especially if it’s coming off of a red-eye flight. The truth is, airplane cabins are just not designed for sleep. Between other passengers climbing over you, noise from the plane engine, and the uncomfortable seats, getting some quality in-flight rest can sometimes seem impossible.

According to a recent study from Expedia, 48% of Americans say that they struggle to sleep on a plane. In addition, 20 million Americans suffer from some degree of flight anxiety, which makes it harder for them to catch some Zzs in the air. The difference between a good and bad trip is the amount of rest you get, so it’s important to maximize your sleep whenever you can.

If you fly on Coach or Economy class, the good news is that getting sleep is possible according to science. While you may think this involves watching a movie or sipping some cocktails until you knock out, the real essentials are adjusting your positioning, increasing your comfort, and working around the plane’s temperature, light exposure, and noise levels.

Some of these strategies for falling asleep faster and for longer periods of time include:

  • Adjusting your seat to 135 degrees, widely considered the safest position.
  • Munch on sleep-inducing foods like bananas.
  • Listen to pink noise to decrease the time it takes to fall asleep.
  • Put a light-blocking eye mask to increase melatonin in your body.

Ready to have more rest on a plane? Check out 15 science-backed tips in the following infographic from Casper.

how to sleep on a plane

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