Defined as overnight flights that are too short for a full night’s rest, ‘red eye flights’ are sometimes a necessary evil but never pleasant. Even those of us who love to travel dread getting on a plane at midnight for a five hour flight. There’s no way around it—you’re going to be sleep-deprived the next morning: but there are a few tricks out there to make your red eye flight as comfortable as possible.
Lay Off the Caffeine
This can be a hard pill to swallow, but your favorite latte or candy bar might end up being the thing that keeps you from falling asleep during your flight. Have your cup of coffee that previous morning, but then try to stave off anything that makes you jittery before the flight. Eat light, easy meals. If your digestive system is nice and relaxed, it will be easier for the rest of you to become that way.
Depending on where you’re arriving and for what purpose, pajama pants might not really be a possibility, but no perhaps yoga pants and a comfortable shirt? That’s not just acceptable for a red eye flight, but practical. Airplane seats don’t make for the most comfortable beds, so you want to make everything around you as comfortable as possible. Wear your softest shirt or your clothes equivalent of a warm blanket.
Speaking of which…
Bring Your Own Blanket
I know, I know, the airline offers blankets, but they’re not ideal. Most airlines only offer one blanket per row, first come, first serve, so you have to be assertive if you want one. Even if you do get an airline blanket, they can be notoriously gross. You’ll save so much effort and comfort if you bring your own blanket from home.
We recommend any of our selection of Trentino’s cashmere throws. They’re light, but soft and comfortable. For something a little thicker, consider Toscana’s cashmere throws. Make sure your blanket is at the top of your carry-on or personal item so that you can access it easily from your seat.
Burrow Yourself Away
This can be a challenge since you’re surrounded by people. Frequent red eye flyers recommend booking a window seat in advance, if you can. Make sure you have earplugs or noise cancelling headphones. If you’re lucky enough to have a window seat, pull your blanket up, pull your sleep mask down and curl up for the rest of your flight.
Bring a Neck Pillow
One of the biggest struggles when it comes to sleeping on a red eye flight is finding a comfortable position for your head. Much like airlines offer (limited) blankets, some offer pillows, but rectangular pillows are a struggle to position against the back of your seat. A neck pillow is much less bulky and contours to you, not the back of your seat.
We offer plush, supportive airplane pillows that will help you relax and sleep comfortably.
Bring a Distraction in Case You Can’t Sleep
Sometimes, the best of efforts still fail. No matter how comfortable you make yourself, some people just can’t sleep on a plane. In that case, it’s a good idea to bring something to occupy your time for the rest of the flight. A book is a popular choice. (An e-reader might be better than a physical copy when it comes to red-eye flights. The backlight on the e-reader will help you focus despite sleep deprivation.) Most airlines offer movies to keep you entertained for the long hours of sitting. Listening to music with noise-cancelling headphones is a good way to stay entertained and block out the sounds of the screaming toddler in the seat behind you.
When you touch down at your destination, try to take it easy. Sightseeing and adventures can wait until later. Drop off your bags at your room, address anything you need to do first (work event, meeting up with an old friend, etc.), and—if you have time—take a nap. There will still be plenty left to explore when you wake up.
Here’s to a relaxing flight!