Friday, May 16, 2014

Nine Tips for How to Sleep Better on Flights from #TheSnoozery

With the holiday season looming, in this article we suggest nine practical tips to help you sleep better on flights.

I have done a lot of flying with my job. That's involved a lot of trying to sleep on flights. It’s not easy to get your head down for a decent kip. You can’t legislate for being seated next to a noisy child (unless of course it’s your own) but you can take precautions for other factors that are in your control.

So here’s what I’ve learned so far…

1. Get a Good Seat
      Ideally you want a seat away from the predictable sources of noise such as the loos, the galley and the bar (if they have one). Having an aisle seat is marginally better as you don’t have to disturb other people to go to the loo. Snooze zones can be helpful. Remember that bulkhead seats are often given to potentially noisy families.

2. The Flatter the Better
      Plane seats come in a variety of shapes and sizes. The main factor I have found that determines how well you sleep is whether the seat goes flat or not. So Virgin Upper class and BA Business for example both have good flat seats.

5. Dress Comfy
      Wear something warm and loose with a bit of give. The sharp Paul Smith suit can travel in the hold. Though personally I would think twice before boarding in trackie bottoms.

4. Stay off the Sauce
      Some folks swear by a night cap to help them drift off and I think in moderation it probably helps to relax. But too much of the old falling down water and you’ll be dehydrated and uncomfortable. Watch out.

5. Cut Out the Stimulus
      A good pair of earplugs and a sleep mask are vital. Freebie earplugs on flights are generally okay but the sleep mask is usually poor at cutting out the light, so consider investing in a decent one before you go.

6.  Do not Disturb
      Be clear about whether you wish to be woken for meals or not. Eating before departure in the airport cuts out this potential disturbance.

7. Avoid the Lag
      Jet-lag is a miserable condition. Avoid the effects by getting into the destination time zone as early as you can. I always reset my watch as soon as we take off.

8. Medication
      If all else fails sleeping pills can help – but beware the grogginess factor and try them out beforehand to check what kind of effect they have on you. It's not a good idea to be landing in a strange place feeling groggy.

9. Kids and Babies
      Some young children just don’t like flying and I’ve been on flights where they will not stop crying. After eight hours of that anyone’s saintly patience is going to be tested. Spare a thought for the parents. Getting angry with them or their kids won’t solve anything.

Monday, May 12, 2014

How to Choose a Sleep Mask - Two Main Factors to Consider

Our experience suggests that there are two main factors to consider when buying a sleep mask – comfort and effective light blocking.

Most people’s knowledge of sleep masks comes from their experience on flights where the airline freebie is deployed to try to get some kip against the odds on a long haul. This is unfortunate because the tendency is to believe that all sleep masks are as ineffective and uncomfortable as these freebies. That is not the case.

Sleep masks can be an effective way to block out unwanted light in the quest for a great night's sleep. So if your curtains let in light, if your partner likes to read at bedtime, or if you are off on holiday they can be helpful.

So here’s a few things to think about when choosing a sleep mask, if you fancy an upgrade from the freebie.

Comfort – the factors that determine how comfortable a sleep mask is to wear are how soft the material is and how well it is able to conform to the shape of your face. Everybody’s face is a different shape, so you need a mask that can flex to fit. The sleep mask should also be light-weight.

Some people prefer silk masks because they are naturally very smooth against the skin.

The other factor that determines comfort is whether the mask is shaped. Flat masks tend to press on the eyeballs, which can be uncomfortable and disruptive.

Lastly you should think about the strap – it should be nice and wide so that it does not cut into the ears or head and it should be easily adjustable.

Airline freebies are nearly all “flat” masks with very thin straps that cannot be adjusted. They are just about better then nothing, but only just.

Light Blocking – The other main factor is the ability of the mask to block out light. Most modern masks are made of good opaque materials. The place where the light is most likely to come in is around the edges of the mask around the nose. Hence masks that have soft portion around the nose area that can conform around the shape of the nose will have most chance of blocking out the light.

Other things to think about are the colour or design – sleep masks don’t have to be black to still block the light out. The other factors are durability and price.