Why sleeping on a plane can be dangerous

Are you the type of person who sleeps peacefully before the plane takes off? A doctor has now explained why sleeping on a plane is not safe.

I usually book my flights to vacation very early in order to have something left over from the day when I am there. In order not to arrive completely exhausted at the destination, I take care of sleeping on the plane. Personally, I have never thought about the fact that this could even be dangerous. You can read in this article why a doctor is now warning of this.

Sleeping on the plane: In these moments you should stay awake

Especially when it comes to a long-haul flight, it is not always possible to stay awake for the entire flight. But don’t worry, nobody expects that from you either. However, there are two phases during a flight when you shouldn’t sleep on the plane. The ear, nose and throat specialist Dr. medical Armin Mechkat revealed to the online magazine  Travelbook . “The middle ear is an air-filled space whose pressure is adjusted to the outside pressure. Since the ambient pressure changes when an airplane takes off or lands, a pressure difference occurs,” says the doctor.

To equalize the difference in pressure, everyone has an ear trumpet, which then opens. However, if the pressure does not equalize, you can experience an uncomfortable pressure in your ear, which you have most likely already experienced when an airplane takes off or lands.

Pressure equalization only possible when you are not sleeping

While you notice the pressure equalization when you are awake, it looks very different as long as you are asleep. It is particularly important that you stay awake during takeoff and landing, especially if you are sensitive to external pressure or have just recovered from an illness such as an ear infection. In this way, you can regulate the pressure equalization when you are awake by swallowing or yawning.

Consequences of the pressure difference

If you fall asleep before takeoff or landing and can’t equalize the pressure, it can have serious consequences. In addition to a feeling of pressure in the ear, pain or bleeding in the ear can also occur. But that’s not all, as ear, nose and throat doctor Mechkat states: “In the worst case, the eardrum or a thin membrane in the inner ear ruptures.”

Sleeping on the plane: These tips help against the pressure in the ear

Fortunately, there are many tips to prevent the unpleasant feeling of pressure in the ear.
These tricks will help you deal with the pressure on the plane:

  • Moving the lower jaw back and forth
  • Drink, swallow, yawn, or chew gum
  • use decongestant nasal sprays

If these tips don’t help and you notice after landing that the pressure in your ear doesn’t go away even after 24 hours, according to Dr. Mechkat definitely see a doctor.