Whether you’re a nervous flyer or simply someone that struggles to sleep at the best of times, long flights can be tough on both the body and mind. To help you get to your destination feeling on top of the world, we’ve put together our top tips to help you relax once you’re airborne.
1. Roll with it
Invest in an aromatherapy based roll-on travel balm to rub onto your pulse points during the flight. Look for one containing lavender to help you relax, or try a balm with mood-boosting frankincense or stimulating rosemary to clear your mind.
Okay, an obvious one, but we’re talking about deep breathing exercises here. When we’re stressed, we tend to hold our breath or take short, shallow breaths which can increase feelings of anxiety. First, exhale completely through your mouth and then breathe in slowly and deeply through your nose. Imagine your body slowly filling up with air from the bottom upwards. Hold your breath for around five seconds and then slowly breathe out. Repeat this around ten times, making sure that exhalation takes a little longer than inhalation.
3. … and stretch
If you’re struggling to sleep, exercise might be the last thing on your mind, but a quick stretch might be just the thing to help you relax, whilst helping to avoid cramp or other potentially more serious health complications. Take a brisk walk up and down the aisle, or failing that, carry out a few stretches from the comfort of your seat. The majority of airlines will provide information relating to exercises that can be done sitting down.
4. Silence is golden
Nothing is worse than finding you’re sat next to an incessant chatterbox, especially when all you want to do is go to sleep. A pair of earplugs won’t just help shut out noise, but will hopefully send out a subtle hint to your chattering travel companion, too. Also, if you’re taking a portable music player, opt for noise cancelling headphones.
5. Be a book worm
If you’re a nervous flyer, a good book won’t just take your mind off your worries, but it will ease your passage to the Land of Nod, too. A long flight is the perfect environment to finally plough your way through that long book you’ve been tackling for the past few months. If you can’t decide what to read, opt for a book about the destination you’re heading to.
6. Feel at home
You might be thousands of miles away from your own bed, but a few home comforts can make all the difference. Pack your favourite cushion or pillow in your carry-on luggage, along with a throw or shawl to keep you warm and snug. Spritz it with your favourite perfume beforehand.
7. Avoid alcohol
Reaching for a gin and tonic might seem like the perfect fix for frayed nerves, but relying on the drinks trolley to relax you will only make matters worse – you’ll end up dehydrated and will find it harder to sleep too. Plus you’re hardly going to be the most popular travel companion if you’re clambering over your fellow passengers every five minutes to get to the toilet.
8. Dress for comfort
You may loathe the thought of being seen without your six-inch heels but when it comes to long flights, comfort wins over style every time. Opt for loose clothing – preferably man-made material – and go for comfortable shoes such as flip flops or ballet pumps. If you’ve got a favourite comfy tracksuit that’s looking a bit tired, simply pack it in your carry-on luggage and change once you’re on the aeroplane. Packing a spare pair of underwear will help you freshen up, too.
9. Go over to the dark side
If you’re the kind of person who struggles to sleep at home, sleeping on a plane is probably going to be twice as hard. Pack an eye mask to help block out the light – if possible, opt for one filled with lavender to soothe your nerves and help you sleep.