There is nothing quite like the excitement of jumping on a plane and flying off somewhere nice on holiday.
For many travellers, jetting off on holiday means that you need at least one, maybe even two, long flights before you reach your destination.
Now that’s not much of a problem if you’re living it up over in first of business class, but for those of us crammed into economy, the whole experience can be a pretty miserable one.
The ideal scenario would be a couple of pre-flight gin and tonics before you drift off into a deep and uninterrupted sleep, only waking up just as your flight is preparing to land.
But for many, getting some sleep on a plane is nothing more than an oxymoron.
Even the standard airline eye mask and blanket doesn’t really do too much to help, as it is nigh on impossible to ever get really comfortable.
A couple of hours go by and your ankles have already started to swell and you’ve got a stiff neck and bad back.
But getting a good bit of shut eye on a plane is not beyond the realms of possibility, according to a leading posture expert.
Dr Alan Hedge, an ergonomics professor at Cornell University, reveals to Tech Insider some tips that will help you sleep on a plane without putting your body under strain.
Create wiggle room
Dr Hedge says the first thing you need to do is work out how you can wiggle more while you are flying. He says that you should make sure you leave enough room under the seat in front of you so that you can do something stretching out and that moving your feet around “will keep circulation going in the lower legs”.
Make regular trips to the toilet
“Don’t be bashful about going to the bathroom on a plane”, Dr Hedge says.
Standing up and going for a walk down the aisle of the plane is good for you body and is something you should do throughout the flight.
Support your lower back
“When you’re sitting down, you want to make sure you’ve got some good support for your lower back”, says Dr Hedge. While airplane seats may not be the comfiest piece of furniture you have ever sat on, make use of the curves in the seat so that your lower back is fully supported, rather than sitting forwards.
Make full use of those inflatable pillows
People often buy inflatable pillows or neck supports to use on a long flight but Dr Hedge recommends using them in a different way.
He suggests placing them at the bottom of your spine to use a back support or by putting the tray down in front of you and placing the pillow on top so that you have somewhere to rest your head.
He also says that the pillow could be used to rest a laptop or tablet on top in order to raise the screen so that you don’t have to bend forwards or strain your neck to look at the screen.
If you really want to sleep, you should do this…
Dr Hedge says that if you really want to sleep on a flight you need to make sure you are sitting in a window seat.
This is because you have a bigger surface area to rest against in order to sleep.
But if you aren’t sat in a window seat, Dr Hedge says that it is always best to sleep leaning back in your seat, rather than leaning forwards as this places extra strain on your lower back.