9 Foods That Will Help You Sleep on a Long Flight

Staff Writer
Maximize your Zs on the plane so you can feel well-rested for your travels
Eating in Heathrow Terminal 3

We explore some of the dining options in one of the busiest terminals in the world

Photo Modified: Flickr / Brandon / CC BY 4.0

No matter how great the in-flight movie selection, getting sleep on airplanes is always a good idea.

Traveling anywhere by air can really take a toll on the body. You’re out of your comfort zone, surrounded by strangers, and have completely relinquished control to the pilot of your plane (not an easy feat for many people). The emotional and physical stress of flying — especially long distances — can bring on boredom, dehydration, deep vein thrombosis, sleep deprivation, anxiety, and a host of other uncomfortable developments.

9 Foods That Will Help You Sleep on a Long Flight (Slideshow)

There are certainly ways to help you feel better during your long distance flight. You could try upgrading (use your miles if you can!) for more legroom, reclining chairs, better meals, and entertainment. You should also make sure you’re geared up properly. We’re talking eye masks, earplugs, neck pillows, and noise-canceling headphones. Health-wise, hydration is extremely important, as is walking up and down the aisles to encourage blood flow and keep away deep vein thrombosis.

In addition to the tons of water you should drink on a long flight, eating the right food is just as important — especially foods that help you fall asleep. You shouldn’t necessarily use a long flight as your time to catch up on rest, but sleeping definitely helps the time go by faster and can reenergize you in time for landing. We did some research and talked to experts to put together a list of the best foods to eat on a long flight to help you rest. There are many foods that fit the bill, but it’s not like you can sauté some spinach on a flight from New York to Tokyo, right? Our list contains some of the more easier-to-pack options!

While some of these might seem like no-brainers, culinary expert and ITC Hotels corporate chef Manjit Gill has some tips on what to stay away from: coffee, chilled desserts, and raw meals over cooked ones, which are easier to digest. Though this certainly won’t be an issue with airplane food!

From all of us here, safe travels and bon voyage!

Almond Butter


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Almond butter ensures your blood sugar doesn’t get too low. If blood sugar falls significantly, it can disrupt your much-needed sleep. However, the catch is that because it is a kind of paste, it might not pass through TSA, except in small amounts. If you can’t find it at a shop once you’re past security, try eating some on the way to the airport, to get your body relaxed and ready for rest. Better yet, eat two tablespoons of almond butter after resting on a flight, soon after you land, and you’ll feel refreshed.

Bananas


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Full of serotonin (a neurotransmitter that can trigger sleepiness) and magnesium (which relaxes muscles), bananas are an easy food to pack for your trip. Bananas are commonly used to treat certain sleep disorders and insomnia, and have been found to significantly increase sleep time in addition to helping your body become accustomed to a regular sleep schedule, as potassium helps your muscles relax. Double score!

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