Here’s Why You Should Never Sleep When The Plane is Taking Off or Landing

Here’s Why You Should Never Sleep When The Plane is Taking Off or Landing

The seemingly innocuous act of dozing off during takeoff or landing could be a lot more harmful than we can imagine.

Many of us, including myself, are guilty of it. Plugging into our favourite Spotify playlist and drifting off to dreamland before the plane takes off, in an attempt to avoid watching the boring safety demonstration. Or perhaps we’ve had a rough and exhausting morning rushing for the plane and we’re anticipating hitting the sack as soon as we reach our seats. Either way, many of us have done it falling asleep whilst the plane is taking off or landing.

Image credit: stereogab

It may come as a shock to most people who’ll think, “What’s the big deal? Aren’t plane rides meant for sleeping? I mean, what else do you expect me to do?” But did you know that according to the health information website, MedlinePlus, snoozing during takeoff and landing could potentially cause permanent damage to your ears and lead to a number of health issues?

The reason for this can be attributed to the rapid changes in cabin air pressure during takeoff and landing. According to British pharmacist Angela Chalmers, quick changes in altitudes affect the air pressure in our ears, leading to a vacuum in the Eustachian tubes which make our ears feel blocked and sometimes dull.

Therefore, when taking off and landing, it’s crucial to work on relaxing, opening up and clearing our Eustachian tubes, rather than sleeping. While asleep, we won’t be able to reduce or equalise the air pressure in our ears; thus, they would stay blocked and could lead to health complications ranging from dizziness and ear infections to eardrum damage and hearing loss, in the worst-case scenario.

In order to prevent and stop our ears from popping, some useful tips include yawning and swallowing frequently by drinking water, munching on candy or chewing gum. Blowing your nose also helps to alleviate the buildup of pressure.

There, you’ve heard it. Although dozing off during takeoff and landing may be extremely tempting for some, you now know that you’ve got that duty to keep your Eustachian tubes clear – at least till air pressure stabilises. So whether it takes reading a book or talking to the passenger next to you, remember to stay awake during these crucial moments in order to reduce potentially irreversible health damage.

About Author

Joyce Khoh
Joyce Khoh

Curious by nature and armed with a heart of wanderlust, Joyce enjoys nothing more than discovering new places and cultures, meeting people and telling stories. When she's not embarking on some crazy adventure, she loves a good book or film. An avid coffee-drinker and crazy dog lady, she is fascinated by the human condition and passionate about social issues, photography and fashion.

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