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 z's while flying is always desirable. Unfortunately, plane cabins are hardly conducive to sleeping soundly—both regular and infrequent travelers 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 Carl Bazil, MD, Ph.D., sleep specialist and professor of neurology at Columbia University, to 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, 'okay, this is dinnertime,'" Bazil says. "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 produces around bedtime," Bazil says. It can help to initiate sleep even when the environmental factors around you are working against you, and it can 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," Bazil says.

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 act as a stimulant (not to mention make you even more dehydrated), so skip the booze, and you'll be able to sleep a lot better.

Head to the comments to share some of your own sleep hacks, and then shop everything our editors never travel without.

Explore: Plane, Flying, sleep

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