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08th Sep 2017

The health-related reason to avoid falling asleep before a plane takes off

avoid falling asleep

Wait until you’re in the air.

If you’re on a red-eye flight or even an early morning long-haul journey, it can be very tempting to kick back and nod off as soon as you board.

However, it turns out that this habit can have medical repercussions and more specifically, problems with your hearing down the line.

When the plane takes off (and lands), there is a significant change in the air pressure and if you’re asleep, this can prove problematic for your eardrums as they don’t ‘pop’ as they should.

In conversation with Express, pharmacist Angela Chalmers explained how the levels of air pressure in the cabin can have an impact on one’s hearing.

“A quick change in altitude affects the air pressure in the ear. This leads to a vacuum in the Eustachian tubes which makes the ears feel blocked and sound dull”.

Angela then went on to say that she recommends avoiding a snooze before take-off and also waking up before landing so that your hearing doesn’t suffer any long-term damage.

“Try not to sleep during takeoff and descent as you will not be swallowing as frequently and this can lead to blocked ears”.

If you’re not awake to allow your ears “to pop”, then this can result in dizziness, ear infections and in some cases, nosebleeds and even loss of hearing.

Some people find that taking off and landing can be extremely sore and in this case, you may need to take extra steps to help your ears to adjust to the change in pressure. Chewing gum, sucking sweets, blowing your nose and swallowing can help in this situation.

With this in mind, you’ll want to avoid falling asleep next time you’re jetting off somewhere!