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Overhead photo of a woman asleep in British Airways Club class

Tricks to help you sleep at 35,000 feet

Do you have trouble napping on a plane? If so, take comfort from our team of sleep gurus and frequent flyers, who share their tips for optimum rest and relaxation at 35,000 feet


Master the art of relaxation at home

Says who? Dr Rebecca Robbins, sleep expert at The Benjamin, New York
One reason for sleep difficulty is an active mind. Start the training at home by adding a relaxation exercise to your bedtime routine. It doesn’t have to be long – even two to four minutes of seated relaxation techniques can help quiet your mind. Try an app like Calm or Headspace if you need guidance.

Tea time

Says who? Richard Jolie, business development manager at visionsupportservices.com
While many consider having a ‘nightcap’, it’s more beneficial to avoid alcohol altogether. Instead, sip Valerian root tea, which research suggests can help certain sleep disorders. Or try brewing a cup of lettuce – it contains lactucarium, known for its sedative and analgesic properties. Brew two leaves of romaine lettuce for 20 minutes in 220ml of water, strain and drink.

Woman enjoying a hot drink in British Airways Club class

Sweet dreams: swap your post-dinner wine for a soothing cup of tea

Pick your side

Says who? The Club editorial team
When booking your seat, think of the plane as your bed and consider changing your seat to the same side on which you sleep. By mirroring your natural sleeping habits, you’ll be less disorientated and likely to get to sleep more quickly.

The right light

Says who? David Gibson, sleep expert at thesleepsite.co.uk
Watching films and playing games on tablets or smartphones not only stimulates the brain, but the blue light emitted prevents the release of melatonin, the sleep hormone. Try downloading an app such as f.lux, which filters blue light and helps you sleep better.

Close up of fluffy pillow in British Airways Club class showing darkened lighting to aid sleep

If you sleep on the left side of the bed at home, make sure you pick a seat on the left side of the cabin (Gallery Stock)


Says who? Dr Nerina Ramlakhan, sleep expert at Silentnight
Close your eyes and focus on your breathing for ten to 20 minutes on take-off and landing. When your eyes are closed, visualise roots coming out from your feet, a grounding technique to help minimise the destabilising effect of flying. Use in-flight meditations to help you rest and balance your energy.

White noise

Says who? Richard Jolie, sleep expert at Vision
Earplugs may help to drown out noise, but consider downloading a white noise app. There are a number available on iOS and Android. The low-frequency, monotonous hum of an electric fan or breaking waves, for example, can help you switch off and sleep better.

Beat jet lag with British Airways’ jet-lag calculator. Developed in conjunction with Dr Chris Idzikowski, it will advise you on the best things to do to minimise jet lag based on answers to a few simple questions about your flight.