Surprising Tricks: How to Sleep on a Plane appeared on Entrepreneur.com May 30, 2014
Before the flight
Choose your side. Now, the last time you bought a mattress, you thought about what kind of a sleeper you are, right? Side sleeper, stomach, toss and turner? Now unless you afford to book a lie- flat seat (and, if so, will you adopt us?), you’ll need to start thinking of yourself as an on-your-back somewhat-to-the-side sleeper and book accordingly. The big question? Do you sleep on the left or the right side of the bed at home? “Get a window seat for night flights. If you sleep on your right side at home go for the right side of the plane,” says Heather Poole, a flight attendant for one of the “big” airlines and author of Cruising Attitude: Tales of Crashpads, Crew Drama, and Crazy Passengers at 35,000 Feet. (Over the last 18 years as a flight attendant, she’s watched thousands and thousands and thousands of people try to sleep on planes. She knows what works.)
During the flight
Comfort. Please, for the sake of everybody else’s eyeballs, do not wear adult footie pajamas on the plane (it has happened, people – it has happened!) but do make yourself comfy for that sleep-in flight. No need to change after takeoff. Wear the nice-and-clean-without-any-holes-in-them sweats to the airport. Carry your suit on and change into it when you get off the plane. “It will look as though you just put it on because you did,” Poole says. So spiffy. And refreshed.
Cradle. Yes, the donut pillow is ugly. And used as expected, with the U bit at the back of the neck, it never really seems worth schlepping along. But Poole turned the idea on its head (or, well, neck): “The trick is to wear it backwards so your neck stays in place.” That means: no more sudden jerking forward neck snapping wow are you awake and in pain moments. Nope. Gone.
Ergonomics-ish. Poole also advises that you use your carry-on as a leg rest or roll the airplane pillow under your knees. And that sketchy blanket they (sometimes) hand out? “Use it for lumbar support,” Poole says. “It’s better to freeze than risk the potential infection.” (Yes, we’re all grossed out now. And off to buy a thin sleeping bag liner to use on our next flight—and wash immediately after returning home.)