As a frequent traveller, there is one thing on board a flight that I need. I’m not really fussed about the quality of food, or the selection of movies, or how often the staff smile at me – what I really need is sleep. The seat has a lot to do with it, and I’m lucky enough to have the opportunity to lie flat on most big journeys, but there many things to consider when flying long-haul, to save you being a zombie on arrival, or worse, have that 5-day jet-lag.
Different people have different tips – but I’ve learnt that drinking as much complimentary champagne to knock yourself out isn’t a good one. My mother swears by it, but then it only takes her one glass.
But if you’re in search for the definitive expert’s guide to inflight sleep, then Virgin Atlantic has it. The high-flying airline that introduced adult onesies into Upper Class has paired up with the Sleep Council to reveal the secrets of a good flight’s sleep, launching a series of sleep guides that reveal what to eat, wear and smell to help you rest, regardless of which class you fly with them.
Top tips for OutThere travellers include clocking-in before you fly – which means operating to your destination time – eating when you should and sleeping/waking when you should. In terms of grazing, avoid carb-heavy food (so turn down that pasta option) when you want to get some shut-eye. Instead try something lighter and snack on energy-giving foods such as bananas, nuts and wholemeal grains.
Something that I’ve not heard of before also features in the guide. The Sleep Council suggests sticking as much as possible to your normal evening routine. From washing your face and giving your teeth a good brush, all these activities help to trigger your brain to get into sleep mode.
Meditation can also help. When I arrive at my destination and struggle to get to sleep, I sometimes tune into YouTube for some whale-song, often accompanied by some softly spoken word. It works because I laugh myself to sleep. For those for need it, you’ll be glad to know that Virgin Atlantic has partnered with the mindfulness gurus at Headspace to provide tailored meditations for sleeping in each cabin. Flyers can plug in and be guided through a meditation which is tailored to the seat type they’re in.
For those who need some extra help, make sure you stop for a Mamiel Relaxation Treatment, available at Virgin Atlantic Clubhouses at Gatwick, Heathrow and New York JFK. This tailor-made treatment has been developed by de Mamiel founder Annee de Mamiel to combine aromatherapy oils, meditation and touch. Customers can enjoy a 15 or 30-minute treatment before boarding their flight, ready to drift off into a slumber.