British Airways has begun testing a hi-tech blanket which changes colour using brainwaves, to ensure it offers customers the best flight’s sleep in the sky.
The airline hopes monitoring a person’s sleep and relaxation patterns during a flight will inform decisions made to improve aspects of the in-flight service; from changing the timing of meals, what food is served and even the types of films shown – to make flying and sleeping on British Airways flights even more relaxing.
The ‘happiness blanket’, which is woven with fibre optics, uses neuro-sensors to measure a person’s brainwaves and changes colour, from red to blue, to show when they’re at their most relaxed and meditative.
Supporting the initiative, Vincent Walsh, professor of human brain research at University College London, said: “Sleeping on a plane is a great opportunity to reset your body clock so you arrive at your destination after a long flight, feeling refreshed and rested."
“You can never underestimate the importance of a good sleep so I’m looking with interest at what the British Airways ‘happiness blanket’ will reveal about the traveller’s sleep and relaxation patterns during the course of a flight.
“Flying presents the body with a unique set of challenges, but getting a proper sleep on a flight isn’t rocket science. You need to ensure your brain has as few distractions as possible so that you can ease it into a different time zone.
“Lying down, making sure you have as much darkness as possible and covering your eyes from any available light source, by turning off your in-flight entertainment, phone and computer, all go a long way to helping you to sleep and fly well.”
Professor Walsh’s top tips to improve you sleep while flying:
• Have a light pre-flight meal before you board
• If you can, book a seat that lies fully flat or reclines as much as possible
• Take off your shoes, to improve circulation
• Don’t drink any alcohol and avoid anything with caffeine, such as tea, coffee or fizzy drinks
• If you're awake, always take the hydration offered
• If you want to sleep, try to not watch any movies, use your tablet computer or mobile phone
• Wear an eye mask and ensure any lights around you are off and the window blind is down
• If you want to relax, put in ear plugs or listen to a specially made relaxation soundtrack, such as specially produced podcasts by British Airways
• Listen to your body. Sleep is not a waste of time
• If sleeping pills help you, only use them at bed time in New York, if you’re flying from London to New York. Whereas if you’re flying from London to Beijing, take the pills at Beijing bed time, while you’re on board the flight
• If you fly often make a habit of these things. Sleep hygiene is a habit.
British Airways already features special in-flight podcasts to encourage customers to relax and de-stress during their flight.