15 Tips on How to Get Some Sleep on a Plane


15 Tips on How to Get Some Sleep on a Plane

Sleeping on a plane can be a challenging feat, especially during long-haul flights. The constant noise, cramped space, and distractions make it difficult to get the rest needed to feel refreshed upon arrival. In this comprehensive guide, we’ll share 15 tips to help you get some sleep on a plane and arrive at your destination feeling rejuvenated and ready to tackle your itinerary.

Choose the Right Seat

Selecting the right seat can significantly impact your ability to sleep comfortably on a plane. Consider the following when choosing your seat:

a) Window Seat: Opt for a window seat to have a solid surface to lean against and avoid being disturbed by other passengers moving around the cabin.

b) Away from High-Traffic Areas: Avoid seats near the galley, lavatories, or exits, as these areas tend to have more noise and foot traffic.

c) Recline Space: If possible, book a seat with extra recline space, such as a bulkhead or exit row seat, to stretch out and relax more easily.

Dress Comfortably

Wearing comfortable clothing can make a big difference in your ability to sleep on a plane. Opt for loose-fitting, breathable clothes, and dress in layers to accommodate fluctuating cabin temperatures. Also, consider packing a pair of cozy socks or slippers to keep your feet warm during the flight.

Bring a Travel Pillow

Invest in a high-quality travel pillow to provide proper neck and head support while sleeping on a plane. There are various styles of travel pillows available, such as U-shaped, inflatable, or memory foam, so choose one that suits your comfort preferences and packs easily in your carry-on.

Use Earplugs or Noise-Cancelling Headphones

Blocking out noise can significantly improve your ability to sleep on a plane. Use foam earplugs or noise-cancelling headphones to minimize distractions from engine noise, conversations, and other in-flight sounds.

Wear an Eye Mask

Wearing an eye mask can help block out cabin lighting and create a sense of darkness, signaling your brain that it’s time to sleep. Choose a soft, adjustable eye mask that fits comfortably and blocks light effectively.

Adjust Your Sleep Schedule

Before your flight, try to adjust your sleep schedule to match the destination’s time zone. By doing so, you can help minimize jet lag and make it easier to sleep on the plane. If possible, book a flight that aligns with your usual bedtime to increase the likelihood of falling asleep during the flight.

Avoid Caffeine and Alcohol

While it might be tempting to indulge in caffeinated beverages or alcohol to relax, these substances can disrupt your sleep cycle and make it more difficult to sleep on a plane. Opt for water, herbal tea, or other non-caffeinated beverages to stay hydrated and promote better sleep.

Bring Your Own Snacks

Heavy or spicy in-flight meals can disrupt your digestion and make it harder to sleep. Pack your own light, sleep-promoting snacks like almonds, bananas, or whole-grain crackers to keep hunger at bay without causing discomfort.

Create a Sleep-Friendly Environment

Setting the stage for sleep is essential to dozing off on a plane. Lower your window shade, adjust your seat to a comfortable recline, and use your pillow and blankets to create a cozy environment. You can also use essential oil-infused products, such as lavender-scented lotion or a sleep spray, to help relax and signal that it’s time for sleep.

Practice Relaxation Techniques

Engaging in relaxation techniques can help calm your mind and ease you into sleep. Try deep breathing exercises, progressive muscle relaxation, or meditation to help you unwind and prepare your body for rest. Visualization exercises, such as picturing yourself in a peaceful setting or recalling a pleasant memory, can also help induce sleepiness.

Limit Screen Time

The blue light emitted by electronic devices, such as smartphones, tablets, and in-flight entertainment screens, can disrupt your body’s production of melatonin, the hormone responsible for regulating sleep. To increase your chances of falling asleep on a plane, limit your screen time and avoid using devices at least 30 minutes before you plan to sleep.

Stay Hydrated

Airplane cabins have low humidity levels, which can cause dehydration and make it more difficult to sleep. To stay hydrated, drink water regularly throughout the flight and avoid consuming excessive amounts of diuretics like coffee, tea, or alcohol.

Move Around and Stretch

Sitting in one position for an extended period can lead to discomfort and restlessness, making it harder to fall asleep. Make an effort to stand up, walk around the cabin, and stretch your legs, arms, and back periodically to improve circulation and reduce muscle stiffness.

Be Patient and Manage Expectations

Finally, it’s essential to be patient and manage your expectations when trying to sleep on a plane. Accept that you may not achieve a full night’s rest and focus on getting as much rest as possible to help reduce fatigue upon arrival.


Getting some sleep on a plane can be challenging, but with the right preparation and strategies in place, it’s possible to catch some shut-eye and arrive at your destination feeling more refreshed. By following the tips outlined in this comprehensive guide, you can create a sleep-friendly environment, minimize distractions, and increase your chances of falling asleep during your flight. The key is to be patient, flexible, and open to adapting your routine as needed to make the most of your in-flight rest opportunities.