Health experts say you should avoid falling asleep during airplane takeoff.
Interesting, right? But before I share why you shouldn’t do it, let me to tell you why your eyes just seem to close at takeoff.
There are several possible reasons we fall asleep when the plane starts to taxi for takeoff (or even before that). One is cabin pressure. Our blood absorbs less oxygen when the air cabins are pressurized at 6,000 to 8,000 feet above sea level. This makes you dizzy and tired. Another reason is relief. After all the stress of prepping for your flight, finally getting settled in your seat can make you just sigh, close your eyes, and go night-night. A third reason is the plane environment. The hum of the engines, the dimly-lit cabin, and the feel of your back against your seat all work to lull you to dreamland.
Why You Shouldn’t Sleep During Takeoff
Now, as promised, here is why health experts suggest against sleeping at takeoff. Do you notice the need to pop your ears during this part of a flight? This is the result of unequal air pressure in your eardrums. The quick change in air pressure when the plane takes off (and lands) causes a vacuum in the Eustachian tube. The tube is the part of your ear that helps maintain equal air pressure on both sides of your eardrums. When the tube is blocked, the air pressure in your middle ear is lower and this can bruise or rupture your eardrum.
It is best to stay awake during takeoff so you can stabilize the air pressure in your ears. You can do this when you yawn, swallow frequently, drink water, or chew gum. Many people also swear by Earplanes. They are spiral plugs that go into your ears, but are different from airplugs, and help prevent air pressure discomfort. When you’ve done all these and the plane is up in the air, then you can go ahead, close your eyes, and get those much-needed Zzzz’s.
How To Pop Your Ears After Airplane Flight
If you end up dosing off and you feel that your ears are clogged, there are some tricks that you can do in order to pop the ears.
Method 1: Close your mouth, pinch your nostrils, and blow softly. This can help stabilize the pressure. However, do be cautious and don’t blow too hard as that may cause damage to your eardrums.
Method 2: Similar to the method above, this method will help stabilize the pressure in your ears. Simply pinch the nose and take a few sips of water and swallow.