10 Ways to Make Your Flight More Comfortable

iStock
iStock

Flying in economy seating can be a drag, especially on tinier airplanes where leg room is at a premium. But just because you're confined to your seat, it doesn’t mean you have to be uncomfortable. Some basic tricks will help ease you through your trip.

1. DRESS STRATEGICALLY. 

Layers are key to flying comfortably. You never know how hot or cold it’s going to be on the plane, so wear clothing that can easily be removed. Soft, breathable clothing like sweatshirts and cotton t-shirts will help you feel more relaxed and comfortable. Avoid wool, tight fitting clothes, or scratchy tags. There’s nothing worse than feeling itchy while stuck in a small space. 

2. WEAR THE RIGHT SHOES.

Stay away from high heels or clunky boots when flying. You want shoes that are not only comfortable, but can slip on and off easily so you can get through security without a hitch. Once on the plane, take those shoes off. Feet tend to swell on flights, so wear socks or bring a pair of slippers so your feet can breathe.   

3. BRING EARPLUGS.

Tune out crying babies and chatty passengers with a good pair of earplugs.  With your newfound silence, naptime can finally become a reality. 

4. PACK A LIGHT SNACK.

A small healthy snack will make for a good pick-me-up while flying. Consider baby carrots, trail mix, fruit, or something else that can be easily kept in a plastic baggy. Try to avoid anything greasy that could make you lethargic. Also keep any pungent foods at home: Your neighbors will thank you. 

5. CHECK IN EARLY.

Cross one stress off your list by checking in early. By checking in online before you head to the airport, you'll save some time waiting in line and will also be able to pick your seat ahead of time.

6. PICK THE RIGHT SEAT. 

Everyone has their own preference on where to sit, but that doesn’t mean all seats are equal. Taller flyers would be wise to grab an aisle seat, where it's easier to spread out, while nappers might want a window seat, so they're not disturbed by neighbors who need to use the restroom. All passengers, however, should try to grab a seat closer to the front of the plane—the back is plagued by the engine noise and bathroom smell.

7. HYDRATE.

Skip the coffee or soda and go for water. The caffeine and sugar will just lead to a crash leaving you more tired and dried out than before. Additionally, the air inside the cabin is notoriously dry: Humidity levels are typically around 10 to 20 percent, compared to a typical room's 30 to 65 percent. This dries out your eyes and skin, leaving you itchy and uncomfortable. Don't be shy about asking the flight attendants for more water! 

8. EMPTY YOUR POCKETS.

When trying to settle into your seat, the last thing you need is stuff poking you in your side. Unload the contents of your pockets into the seat pocket in front of you for a smoother ride. If you’re worried you’ll forget your possessions, bring a small bag to store them in.

9. LISTEN TO A RELAXING MIX.

Decide on an airplane playlist before boarding and load up your smartphone or mp3 player. Calm music or a sleep-inducing podcast will help you zone out and feel more at home while flying. For shorter flights, it can be fun to create a playlist of pump-up music to get you in the vacation mindset—some people like to choose music that directly relates to the city they’re going to visit. 

10. UTILIZE THE PILLOW AND BLANKET. 

Most airlines will provide you with a pillow and blanket for longer flights, so you might as well use them! But it's smart to bring a neck pillow or sweatshirt you can roll up to rest your head, just in case a pillow isn't available. 

10 Products for a Better Night's Sleep

Amazon/Comfort Spaces
Amazon/Comfort Spaces

Getting a full eight hours of sleep can be tough these days. If you’re having trouble catching enough Zzzs, consider giving these highly rated and recommended products a try.

1. Everlasting Comfort Pure Memory Foam Knee Pillow; $25

Everlasting Comfort Knee Pillow
Everlasting Comfort/Amazon

For side sleepers, keeping the spine, hips, and legs aligned is key to a good night’s rest—and a pain-free morning after. Everlasting Comfort’s memory foam knee pillow is ergonomically designed to fit between the knees or thighs to ensure proper alignment. One simple but game-changing feature is the removable strap, which you can fasten around one leg; this keeps the pillow in place even as you roll at night, meaning you don’t have to wake up to adjust it (or pick it up from your floor). Reviewers call the pillow “life-changing” and “the best knee pillow I’ve found.” Plus, it comes with two pairs of ear plugs.

Buy it: Amazon

2. Letsfit White Noise Machine; $21

Letsfit White Noise Machine
Letsfit/Amazon

White noise machines: They’re not just for babies! This Letsfit model—which is rated 4.7 out of five with nearly 3500 reviews—has 14 potential sleep soundtracks, including three white noise tracks, to better block out everything from sirens to birds that chirp enthusiastically at dawn (although there’s also a birds track, if that’s your thing). It also has a timer function and a night light.

Buy it: Amazon

3. ECLIPSE Blackout Curtains; $16

Eclipse Black Out Curtains
Eclipse/Amazon

According to the National Sleep Foundation, too much light in a room when you’re trying to snooze is a recipe for sleep disaster. These understated polyester curtains from ECLIPSE block 99 percent of light and reduce noise—plus, they’ll help you save on energy costs. "Our neighbor leaves their backyard light on all night with what I can only guess is the same kind of bulb they use on a train headlight. It shines across their yard, through ours, straight at our bedroom window," one Amazon reviewer who purchased the curtains in black wrote. "These drapes block the light completely."

Buy it: Amazon

4. JALL Wake Up Light Sunrise Alarm Clock; $38

JALL Wake Up Light Sunrise Alarm Clock
JALL/Amazon

Being jarred awake by a blaring alarm clock can set the wrong mood for the rest of your day. Wake up in a more pleasant way with this clock, which gradually lights up between 10 percent and 100 percent in the 30 minutes before your alarm. You can choose between seven different colors and several natural sounds as well as a regular alarm beep, but why would you ever use that? “Since getting this clock my sleep has been much better,” one reviewer reported. “I wake up not feeling tired but refreshed.”

Buy it: Amazon

5. Philips SmartSleep Wake-Up Light; $200

Philips SmartSleep Wake-Up Light
Philips/Amazon

If you’re looking for an alarm clock with even more features, Philips’s SmartSleep Wake-Up Light is smartphone-enabled and equipped with an AmbiTrack sensor, which tracks things like bedroom temperature, humidity, and light levels, then gives recommendations for how you can get a better night’s rest.

Buy it: Amazon

6. Slumber Cloud Stratus Sheet Set; $159

Stratus sheets from Slumber Cloud.
Slumber Cloud

Being too hot or too cold can kill a good night’s sleep. The Good Housekeeping Institute rated these sheets—which are made with Outlast fibers engineered by NASA—as 2020’s best temperature-regulating sheets.

Buy it: SlumberCloud

7. Comfort Space Coolmax Sheet Set; $29-$40

Comfort Spaces Coolmax Sheets
Comfort Spaces/Amazon

If $159 sheets are out of your price range, the GHI recommends these sheets from Comfort Spaces, which are made with moisture-wicking Coolmax microfiber. Depending on the size you need, they range in price from $29 to $40.

Buy it: Amazon

8. Coop Home Goods Eden Memory Foam Pillow; $80

Coop Eden Pillow
Coop Home Goods/Amazon

This pillow—which has a 4.5-star rating on Amazon—is filled with memory foam scraps and microfiber, and comes with an extra half-pound of fill so you can add, or subtract, the amount in the pillow for ultimate comfort. As a bonus, the pillows are hypoallergenic, mite-resistant, and washable.

Buy it: Amazon

9. Baloo Weighted Blanket; $149-$169

Baloo Weighted Blanket
Baloo/Amazon

Though the science is still out on weighted blankets, some people swear by them. Wirecutter named this Baloo blanket the best, not in small part because, unlike many weighted blankets, it’s machine-washable and -dryable. It’s currently available in 12-pound ($149) twin size and 20-pound ($169) queen size. It’s rated 4.7 out of five stars on Amazon, with one reviewer reporting that “when it's spread out over you it just feels like a comfy, snuggly hug for your whole body … I've found it super relaxing for falling asleep the last few nights, and it looks nice on the end of the bed, too.” 

Buy it: Amazon 

10. Philips Smartsleep Snoring Relief Band; $200

Philips SmartSleep Snoring Relief Band
Philips/Amazon

Few things can disturb your slumber—and that of the ones you love—like loudly sawing logs. Philips’s Smartsleep Snoring Relief Band is designed for people who snore when they’re sleeping on their backs, and according to the company, 86 percent of people who used the band reported reduced snoring after a month. The device wraps around the torso and is equipped with a sensor that delivers vibrations if it detects you moving to sleep on your back; those vibrations stop when you roll onto your side. The next day, you can see how many hours you spent in bed, how many of those hours you spent on your back, and your response rate to the vibrations. The sensor has an algorithm that notes your response rate and tweaks the intensity of vibrations based on that. “This device works exactly as advertised,” one Amazon reviewer wrote. “I’d say it’s perfect.”

Buy it: Amazon

This article contains affiliate links to products selected by our editors. Mental Floss may receive a commission for purchases made through these links.

The Worst Drivers In America Live in These 15 States

Life of Pix, Pexels
Life of Pix, Pexels

No matter how many times you've been cut off on a road trip, anecdotal evidence alone can't prove that a certain state's drivers are worse than yours. For that, you need statistics. The personal finance company SmartAsset compiled data related to bad driving behaviors to create this list of the 15 states in America with the worst drivers.

This ranking is based on four metrics: the number of fatalities per 100 million miles driven in each state, DUI arrests per 1000 drivers, the percentage of uninsured drivers, and how often residents Google the terms “speeding ticket” or “traffic ticket.”

Mississippi ranks worst overall, with the second-highest number of fatalities and the second lowest percentage of insured drivers. This marked the third year in a row Mississippi claimed the bottom slot in SmartAsset's worst driver's list. This year, it's followed by Nevada in second place and Tennessee in third. You can check out the worst offenders in the country in the list below.

Some motorists may be more interested in avoiding the cities plagued by bad driving than the states. These two categories don't always align: Oregon, which didn't crack the top 10 states with the worst drivers, is home to Portland, the city with the worst drivers according to one quote comparison site. After reading through the list of states, compare it to the cities with the worst drivers in America here.

  1. Mississippi
  1. Nevada
  1. Tennessee
  1. Florida
  1. California
  1. Arizona
  1. South Carolina (Tie)
  1. Texas (Tie)
  1. New Mexico
  1. Alaska
  1. Louisiana
  1. Alabama
  1. Oregon
  1. Arkansas
  1. Colorado