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How Sleep Affects Memory and Learning

 Just because you’re in transit doesn’t mean that you can’t get some quality shut-eye.

Trains, planes, and automobiles are a great way to get around, but what happens when you need to sleep while en route? Maybe you can’t slip into your favorite pajamas, make yourself a cup of tea, or snuggle up in bed, but you can do a few things to help mimic your normal routine.

First, get as comfortable as you can. Wear looser clothing and take off your shoes (or at least loosen the laces). You also want to keep yourself cool, which means that you shouldn’t snuggle under a synthetic, polyester blanket. Cotton or wool clothing and blankets will help your body regulate your temperature better.

Next, block out light and noise. A sleep mask can help with the light and earplugs or noise-canceling headphones can bring you some peace and.This is especially important on an airplane, where your seatmate might be watching a movie on his iPad or kids in the row behind you could be chattering all flight long.

Lastly, position your body correctly. The biggest barrier to sleeping well in a car, train, or plane is that you have to be sitting up. Since deep sleep requires muscles to relax, having to use your neck muscles to keep your head up can keep precious zzz’s at bay. Neck pillows help some, but not all the time. A better option is to nab the window seat and lean against the side of the plane, train, or vehicle. If you can afford it, moving up to business or first class will help hugely, because your seat can recline more than 40 degrees (the sweet spot for sleeping well). There is another option for how to position your body while sitting: Lean forward. You can put down your tray table, cross your arms over it, and lay down your head. It isn’t perfect, but it just might be what you need to do to fall asleep.