7 tips for surviving your overnight flight

Unless you are travelling in the pointy end of the plane, most people think that taking an overnight flight means a sleepless night, and arriving at your destination tired and bleary eyed. But taking the red eye flight doesn’t mean arriving with red eyes – provided you are well prepared.

1. Eye mask

A good eye mask is a great way to aid sleep on your long haul flight

Getting some good shuteye depends on a dark environment, and even with the cabin lights off the flicker from fellow passengers’ television sets can make sleep impossible. Don’t rely on the cheap flimsy ones that your airline might provide; invest in a good eye mask that fits snugly without irritating the nose. Check out the Cabeau midnight magic mask, which is top of the range.

Image credit: © Can Stock Photo Inc. / dibrova

2. Pillows

Woman sleeping in economy class

On budget airlines you are lucky if you get a pillow, let alone a comfortable one. Full service airlines might give you a small one, but you’re best to invest in a good neck pillow, as well as something to support your lower back. Again, check out the Cabeau range, which supports the chin as well as the neck. If you are limited for carry on, take an extra pullover that you can use to support your back.

Image credit: © Can Stock / kasto 

3. Earplugs

Good ear plugs can help you sleep

Essential for an uninterrupted sleep. Nothing kills the slumber quite like the sound of other passengers who can’t sleep (or are snoring!), and impatient flight attendants. We like the silicone variety, that can be molded to the ear to fit snugly. Alpine Hearing Protection, out of the Netherlands, offers a good set that you can order online.

Image credit: alpinehearingprotection.com

4. Stay warm

A Singapore Airlines blanket for sleep on board

Many airlines keep the cabin cold. Be sure to bring a pullover and wear long pants, even if you are travelling between warm destinations. If you have space, bring a small blanket.

Image credit: Matt Weibo / Flickr

5. Skip the in-flight meal

Grab something to eat before you climb on board your flight

Don’t let a free meal come at the expense of a nice sleep. By the time you take off, eat and have the tray cleared, you will be at least two hours into your overnight flight. Eat at a nice airport restaurant and brush your teeth before boarding so you can settle straight in for a good sleep.

Image credit: Unsplash

6. Your seat matters

Man sleeping in economy class

Unfortunately we can’t all be as lucky as the guy pictured above, so there are pros and cons to consider. Being on an aisle seat means you have easy bathroom access, but could also mean that your sleep is interrupted by neighbours with weak bladders, or worse. If you plan to clock off for the night uninterrupted, go for the window. Just make sure you take your sleeping supplies to the seat with you so you don’t have to wait until the seatbelt sign is off before settling in.

Image credit: BVStarr / Flickr

7. Sleeping tablets

Sleeping pills, when prescribed, can be a useful tool for long trips

Talk to your doctor about taking a sleeping tablet to help you nod off. When used properly, they can mean the difference between arriving ready for the day, or ready for bed. Don’t mix them with alcohol, and it’s best to have a trial run at home before flying to check for side effects.

Image credit: Sh1ra / Pixabay

With these tips in hand, hopefully you’ll get off your overnight flight feeling more refreshed and able to enjoy your day in your destination. You might also want to check out our tips on staying in shape while on the road.

What are your friendly tips? Don’t be shy. Let us know by leaving a comment below.

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