How To Sleep On A Plane

4 min read

Last Modified 3 March 2021 First Added 1 June 2017

By Leigh Horan

Travelling to the destination of your dreams is an exciting prospect, whether you’re hoping to create family memories or have an unforgettable solo adventure. Whatever your reason for travelling to a far-flung paradise, it’s likely that at some point or another you’re going to want to kip for a few hours. However, we all know that sleeping on a plane is no easy feat. To help you arrive at your destination feeling fresh and ready to explore, we’ve discovered the top tips on how to sleep in the sky.

Comfort costs

First things first, let’s get the obvious solution out of the way. If you can afford to sleep in a better class than economy without going bankrupt, just do it. With an overnight, long-haul flight, the extra legroom will be a godsend, and if your wallet can stretch to first class, your body won’t even know it’s been soaring over the world.

For most of us, however, flying anything other than economy is simply not possible, which brings us to the other things to consider when choosing where to sit for your flight.

Pick the right seat

Image of woman sleeping on a plane

When it comes to choosing where you’ll be sitting for your flight, considering your usual sleeping habits is key. If you usually sleep on your right, choose the right-hand side of the plane to make sure you’re facing away from the rest of the plane and its various noises. If you can grab a window seat, do. As Heather Poole, flight attendant and author says,

“Get a window seat for night flights. If you sleep on your right side at home go for the right side of the plane”

Not only can you lean your head against the window, but you also avoid the trouble of getting up and down whenever your neighbours need to go to the toilet. You’re also in control of whether the window shutters are open or closed, which can be handy if you want to feel alert at a certain time.

Pack well for the plane

When it comes to achieving good sleep whilst on a plane, planning and packing well is key. Considering what will usually disrupt your sleep is important for packing correctly. For example, comfort, silence and darkness are usually key ingredients for sleep, so trying to achieve at least some of this is very important. For this reason, pack a sleeping mask and some ear plugs to block out as many distractions as you can, and use your sleeping pillow with the bend of the u-shape underneath your chin to prevent your head from dropping forward.

Image of ear plugs

You should also make sure you pack layers that are warm enough so you can actually fall asleep, as planes can often be quite cool. Take a warm jacket to wear or lay over your legs, as well as some warm socks to stop your feet from going numb with cold.

Prepare for sleep

If you’re on an overnight flight, prepare for sleep in the way you would at home. This means brushing your teeth, washing your face and changing into clothes that are comfortable enough to sleep in. If you can do some gentle stretches before you get on the plane, then do so. This will help you remain relaxed throughout the flight, and prevent you from feeling tense and achy. You should also avoid drinking alcohol and any screen time prior to going to sleep, no matter how tempting the complimentary drinks and in-flight entertainment are.

Last minute comfort

Image of plane flying at night

To get just that little bit more comfortable whilst you’re sleeping on the plane, try resting your feet on top of your carry on, to give your body a little more support. The warm clothes you packed will be invaluable as you should use the blanket offered to you as a support, rolled up either behind your back or behind your knees.

If you’re considering sleeping on your next long-haul flight, these tips should prove invaluable. However, make sure you’ve taken the time of day at your destination into account; try to avoid sleeping if you’ll be arriving in the middle of the night!

Have you got any tips for sleeping on a plane? Let us know in the comments section.

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