3 Ways to Get Better Sleep When Flying, According to a Neurologist

Dacy Knight

Even if you're not catching a red-eye, catching some Zs while flying is always desirable. Unfortunately, plane cabins are hardly conducive to sleeping soundly—both regular and infrequent travellers can agree that getting quality shut-eye on a flight is no easy feat. If you're looking to increase your chances of getting some rest the next time you fly, Travel & Leisure tapped Dr. Carl Bazil, sleep specialist and professor of neurology at Columbia University, share his advice for getting better sleep at 35,000 feet.

Eat before you get on the plane. Enjoying a hearty meal before you board could help you drift off into slumber once you take your seat on the plane. "It's part of the circadian rhythm when you're trying to tell your body, 'ok, this is dinnertime,'" says Bazil. "Plus, you don't have to wait on the plane until they give you a bad meal and you can just go to sleep."

Take melatonin. "Melatonin is a hormone that your body naturally produced around bedtime," says Bazil. It can help to initiate sleep even when the environmental factors around you are working against you and help your body adjust to the new time zone when you take it at your desired bedtime. "If you take the melatonin your body says 'oops, I messed up, now it's bedtime,' and you fall asleep," assures Bazil.

Skip the drink. When you're in the mood to snooze on the flight, enjoying a little nightcap sounds like a good idea. However, alcohol can actually act as a stimulant (not to mention make you even more dehydrated on a long-haul flight) so skip the booze and you'll be enjoying sounder sleep.

Head to the comments to sound off with some of your own tricks for better sleep while flying then shop this cashmere eye mask. 

Explore: Plane, Flying, Sleep

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