You’re 98% thrilled to be traveling abroad and making that cross-oceanic flight. What’s that 2% holding you back from being over-the-top with excitement? That. Long. Ass. Flight. Fear not, friends—even those who travel in economy class, and don’t have the magic capability of falling asleep anywhere, can catch some shut eye on a longhaul flight. There are tips and tricks that will help you to sleep on a plane!
How to Sleep on a Plane: Use MedicationWhen figuring out how to sleep on a plane, even in economy class, you might want to employ the help of a few little… sleep aids… AKA medication. Not everyone is totally comfortable with utilizing medication to sleep on a plane, but when your choices are land in-country part-zombie, or get a couple of hours of sleep, some sleep medication can do the body good. Note: We don’t recommend that you take prescription meds that haven’t been prescribed to you. And, even with over the counter medications, never take more than the recommended dosage. You don’t want to accidentally arrive in-country still feeling the lagging drowsiness, or worse, have a reaction that requires medical care. Medication is serious business.
Benadryl, Aleve PM, or Tylenol PMUsing over the counter drugs that you already take at home, like Aleve PM and Benadryl, can be an effective way to sleep on the plane. These are typically non-addictive, relatively easy to obtain (over the counter FTW), and have an active ingredient called Diphenhydramine. This drowsiness-inducing antihistamine is not a recommended solution for ongoing sleep problems, but if you need a few hours of plane sleep, it can do the trick. Plus, because they’re fairly common medications, you might already have these little pink or blue wonders in your medicine cabinet.
- What it is: Antihistamine
- When to take it: 1-2 hours before your ideal sleep time
Melatonin (the natural route)Melatonin is a hormone your body produces around bedtime, and one that can help control your natural sleep-wake cycle. Taking melatonin supplements has been known to shift your circadian rhythm without bringing about the grogginess or longer-term sleep affects that antihistamines can. After you land, try to stay awake until the normal sleep time and then take another dose of melatonin to help shift your body towards the new time zone.
- What it is: Hormone supplement
- When to take it: Align with the “normal sleep time” of your destination