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Tips for Sleeping on a Airplane


Tips for Sleeping on a Airplane

In my opinion, flying has always been the worst part of traveling. Without a doubt. Over the years, my main issue with flying has been that I always try to sleep, but I can never seem to get comfortable.

Thankfully, dozens of flights, along with some trial-and-error, have taught me some of the best methods for sleeping on an airplane. Here are a few of my favorites.


For years, my flying routine was always the same. I got on the plane, tossed and turned, and upon landing complained about how I couldn’t sleep. Meanwhile, all I had in my carry-on luggage was a notebook, pen, and some snacks.

Finally, I started to think ahead and take advantage of my luggage space.

Stuff your carry-on bag with essentials for a good sleep. Must-have items include: earplugs, fuzzy socks, sleeping mask, jacket, Nyquil or sleeping pills, and even those stupid-looking neck pillows. Even if the person next to you has their reading light on, or a screaming baby sits two rows behind you, you’ll be sound asleep in no time.


If you have the option to request a specific seat beforehand, think strategically. If you want to lean against something sturdy, choose the window seat.

I, on the other hand, have the bladder of the pregnant woman. I hate sitting in the middle or window seat on airplanes because I feel guilty pushing past my neighbors to get to the bathroom. Anxiety about this interaction keeps me from sleeping. If you’re like me, grab an aisle seat to put your mind (and body) at rest.


It’s true at home, and it’s true on airplanes. Bright lights from your electronics keep you awake. Turn off your in-flight movie and read a book until you fall asleep.


Before you read any further, here’s a public service announcement: If you are taking those sleeping pills you stashed in your carry-on luggage, do not also drink alcohol! That is not a safe combination.

Now that the P.S.A. is out of the way …

If the airline offers complimentary alcohol, I like to order one glass of wine. One glass doesn’t make me feel silly, but it makes me a little sleepy. When I’m finished, it’s much easier for me to fall into an uninterrupted sleep.

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  1. robin rue says

    Wine is a good suggestion. I am a really light sleeper, so its not easy for me to sleep on planes.

  2. Catherine Sargent says

    Thanks for the great tips. I have never been able to sleep on a plane. I will have to order some wine on my next flight.

  3. Bill Sweeney says

    These are excellent tips. It can be really hard to get to sleep on a plane. Between the cramped space and the altitude changes, it’s rough.

  4. Sarah Bailey says

    These sound like some really good tips for getting to sleep on an aeroplane, I have to admit I’ve only been on one twice and I definitely didn’t get some rest either of those times.

  5. Pam says

    I feel like I can never sleep on airplanes. I will have to try out these tips.

  6. Liz Mays says

    I have a very early morning flight coming up and I’ll need to be able to sleep! I need to remember to bring some warm socks and a neck pillow.

  7. Makeba Giles says

    These are some really great tips! I am always too scared to sleep on an airplane when I travel because I’m afraid that I might start snoring! lolol

  8. Theresa says

    Great tips! I always get motion sickness on a plane and try my best to sleep through the ride. I always bring a neck pillow with me to help get comfortable.

  9. Travel Blogger says

    Great tips! I get uncomfortable on planes which makes it hard to sleep. The next time I fly, I am definitely going to try a little Nyquil. That will definitely help me relax.

  10. Melissa Chapman says

    My daughter just went on an 8 hour trip so I needed these tips before. They all can work for her way back (except the wine).

  11. Chrystal | Nevermore Lane says

    I am a light sleeper so it is hard for me to get good sleep when I travel. Plus, I am just so happy to be traveling, it is hard to wind down. These are all great tips.

  12. Diana E says

    Great tips. I bring my noise cancelling headphones and turn them on (the noise cancelling part) and fall asleep with an eye mask. I’m OUT! It also helps with keeping the noise out incase they are screaming babies on my 17 hour international flight!

  13. Jeanine says

    Wonderful tips. i havent been on an airplane since I was 8 but next year I plan on a few trips so this is great to know!

  14. Louise Bishop says

    I always make sure to bring a neck pillow. This keeps aches and cramps to a minimum and gives my head something to rest on.

  15. Our Family World says

    Thanks for these tips. As much as I would love to sleep on a flight, I get so anxious and find it hard to relax until the plane is safely on the ground. I will have to try your tips. Maybe take a sleeping pill to calm my nerves. A neck pillow is great to have too.

  16. Shannon Gurnee says

    I find it’s really hard to sleep on a plane unless I’m traveling at night, but even then, it just isn’t that comfortable. I think it’s super important to turn off electronics and to turn off your overhead light.

  17. C says

    I can sleep pretty much anywhere (hello three kids). But the plane can be tough. These are all great ideas for getting a few ZZZ’s while flying.

  18. Rosey says

    If it’s not too cold on the window wall I can usually lean against it and fall asleep. Neck pillow? Even better.

  19. Rachel Ferrucci says

    These are great tips. I always ask for a window seat so I can lean up against it and try to sleep.

  20. Brianne says

    These are great tips! I never can sleep on an airplane!

  21. Myrah Duque says

    Sleeping on an airplane has always been a problem for me. These tips really help!

  22. Rachel says

    Sleeping on planes is rough! I always get sucked into the entertainment center on long-haul flights too! Usually a glass of wine definitely helps!

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