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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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