Mahalo: How to Sleep on a Plane

I’ve never been able to sleep on planes. Sure, I doze off occasionally, snapping my head forward every few minutes in a shot of confusion — but I’ve never truly slept in a way that leaves me feeling refreshed upon landing. It’s either too crowded, too loud, too hot, too cold, too comfortable; I can always find a reason to toss and turn. One of the only times I was able to really fall asleep was on an Alitalia flight to India, but that was because they served unlimited, free beer and wine. You get the picture.

The “human powered search engine” Mahalo has a handy how-to on sleeping on a plane. A lot of the info is obvious if you’re a semi-regular flier, but there are some tips that I hadn’t heard before. For instance, did you know the National Sleep Foundation says alcohol prevents sleep? I beg to differ. PLEASE let me differ. PLEASE.

Anyway, the how-to is broken up into 6 helpful steps:

  1. Book the right seat
  2. Prepare before your flight
  3. Use accessories to increase your comfort
  4. Warn people you plan to sleep
  5. Use sleep medications
  6. If money is no object, fly business or first class

Overall, it’s another great guide from the folks over at Mahalo. It should have you sleeping on planes in no time. But since it is a human-powered search engine, I, as a fellow human, would like to offer up a piece of advice for addition. The how-to warns that both the last row and the rows in front of the exit seats often do not recline, so you shouldn’t sit there unless you plan on sitting upright the entire time. Fair enough. However, if your seat does recline, mind the person sitting behind you. Even though the seats are designed to recline with minimal intrusion of your backseat neighbor’s personal space, it doesn’t always work that way — especially if they’re eating. So do everyone a favor, and communicate with the person behind you. Is he or she eating, or working a laptop perhaps? Don’t recline your seat quite yet. Instead, turn around and ask, “I’d like to recline my seat when you’re finished eating. Is that a problem?” Nobody likes a head of hair in their lap as they try to choke down the already-questionable food.

Or you could always just buy the Knee Defender.