Four tricks to help you sleep on a plane (without a sleeping pill in sight).

Sleeping while on an airplane is surely an oxymoron, right?

Apparently not, according to a professor of ergonomics who has told Business Insider there are little, tiny, almost insignificant (but actually quite significant things) you can do for your body while you sleep on a plane.

And in doing so, there are ways to fall asleep on the plane without feeling like you’ve aged 100 years by the time you wake.

These are the kinds of things you need to be doing, according Dr. Alan Hedge from Cornell University.

Be conscious of where you’re placing your bag

According to Dr. Hedge, be mindful of where you’re putting your bags to ensure you have the most wriggle room possible.

“You’ve got to make sure that when you put your bag under the seat, you do leave some room so you can do some stretching out and you can move your feet because that keeps circulation going around in the lower legs,” he tells Business Insider.

In doing so, you’re keeping the blood flowing, your legs comfortable and are less likely to interrupt your sleep.

Image: iStock.

Don't rush to the bathroom

"Don't be bashful," Dr. Hedge says if you need to go to the bathroom. Confused about how this at all relates to sleep? Well, of course, it's all about what's good for the body.

Stand up and walk down the aisle. Keep the blood moving. Keep your ankles to their normal size and your comfort levels prime, take a walk.

Because once your ankles look like they have two tennis ball growths growing outside, you'll understand why comfort (and therefore sleep) and swollen ankles are absolutely mutually exclusive.

Listen: The Mamamia Out Loud team share their travel health horror stories. Post continues.

Get a window seat

Yes, fight for it. If you've got a surface to rest on, you're far more likely to be able to fall asleep on a plane.

That is, of course, unless you've got a amiable-enough neighbour who is happy to double as a head rest for the flight.

Go back, not forwards

This is an interesting one, but Dr. Hedge says if you're debating between putting your seat back, or resting your head on your tray table, lean back.

When you lean forward,  you increase the compression forces on your lower back. So, not only is it far more uncomfortable, but it's actually not very good for your back at all.