Sleep is vital in the adaptation process, but you may be thinking, "On the plane? Are you kidding?" Yes it is possible! If you struggle to get some shut eye each time you take to the air, you're not alone -- but choosing the right seat, bringing the right gear and making a few small changes in your flying habits could help you sleep better on your next flight.
Mentally prepare for it.
- Try to get a window seat if possible; it will give you something to lean against and get you out of the way of other folks in your row, who won't have to scramble over you each time they need to use the bathroom. You'll also have some control over the window shade.
- Avoid the back row where the seats may not recline.
- Pack fluffy socks to keep circulation going, as well as an eye mask and earplugs to create your sleep environment.
- Pray for sleep. Trust God for a miracle.
48 hours before departure
- Change your watch to your destination time. Tell yourself “This is the time of day I will go to sleep.” “This is the time of day I will eat lunch.” If possible begin eating your meals at appropriate times for your destination. (Or simply fast for 24 hours, that works too.)
At the airport
- Immediately before you get on the plane, and before you prepare to sleep - do slow stretching exercises like toe touches, neck rolls, and twists. Remember the goal is not to get your heart rate going, but to relax your muscles by moving intentionally, slowly and smoothly.
- Drink lots of water, avoid caffeine - that goes for your entire jet-lag experience.
When on the plane
- First take off your shoes.
- Stop your watch
- Do not stow bags at your feet.
- Do stretching exercises ; stretch your back by lifting your arms as high as possible, point and flex your ankles, do neck rolls, relax your muscles.
After the meal
- Plan to sleep the remainder of the flight.
- Recognize that you must approach it differently than sleeping at home.
- Pillows and blankets will be provided, if you need more don't hesitate to ask the stewards.
- Lower your shade and turn out your light.
- Wear eye masks and ear-plugs and don’t listen to music or movies that force your brain to work when it should be resting (as a matter of fact your sleep is worth the price of a movie... plan to buy the film you “can’t miss” when you hit the ground as your reward for sleeping.)
- Do pray, and pray for sleep. We need you to arrive relaxed and ready to hit the ground running.