No Rest For The Weary: Trying To Sleep On Overnight Flights In Coach

If you’ve ever tried unsuccessfully to sleep on an overnight flight in coach, with barely a bit of recline on your chair and a few spare inches of leg room while that mouthbreather next to you slumbers peacefully, well, you’re not alone.

The New York Times delves into this annoying phenomenon, the one where sleeping pills don’t work, booze doesn’t do it and you end up staring wistfully at all the seemingly konked out passengers while not being able to catch your own winks.

Sleep expert Dr. Jeffrey Ellenbogen offers a few bits of wisdom, first, that you might be jealous for no reason, as many of those snorers are probably just in “shallow states of drowsiness and frequently disrupted light stages of sleep.”

Good to know! Also it’s not so easy to fall asleep while sitting up because our muscles need to be relaxed, and that posture doesn’t let your neck muscles rest. Neck pillows as a fix? Eh! They’re not usually “properly constructed.”

Best bet is to sit next to someone who doesn’t mind if you rest your head (and probably drool, am I right?) on them, or by a window providing the same respite. If you do opt for sleeping pills, make sure to consult your doctor and don’t borrow from a pal.

Another expert advises proper body temperature to let your body breathe. That means taking off socks and shoes, or at least wearing cotton socks and bring your own, non-polyester blanket.

The bottom line for you non-sleepers: Shell out more money for business class if catching a few Zs is really important to you, or just accept the fact that you won’t be in dreamland and bring a few goods books, watch movies, and deal with it.

Cramped In Coach Or The Science Of Sleep [New York Times]