How to Sleep on a Plane: The Ultimate Guide

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Have you ever been on a flight and desperately needed a good sleep but couldn’t find a comfortable position? It’s something we’ve all been through. The question of how to sleep on a plane is a common one especially long haul flights where sleeping is essential.

With a few simple tips and tricks, you can make any plane ride a comfortable and restful experience. Whether you’re a seasoned traveler or a first-time flyer, the art of sleeping on planes is an achievable goal.

From choosing the right airplane pillows, drink decisions to noise-canceling headphones and eye masks, we’ll show you how to sleep on a plane and hopefully make your next flight a lot more comfortable and restful.

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Table of Contents

What Is the Art of Sleeping on Planes?

Yes, sleeping on a plane successfully to me can be considered an art form!

It’s not easy to fall asleep, let alone to stay asleep, on a plane. Things like noise, temperature, and movement can disrupt even the best sleeper. The trick is to find ways to minimize these disturbances and allow you to achieve rest.

The key is to find ways to make the plane experience as comfortable as possible. This includes adjusting expectations, optimizing space, and bringing the right gear.

The art of sleeping on planes is not just about finding a comfortable position but also about reducing outside disruptions and creating a soothing space. The key is to maximize your comfort and find ways to block out the noise, light, and sound as much as you can so you can relax and sleep.

How to Sleep on a Plane – Useful Tips and Tricks

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How to Sleep on a Plane: Choose your seat carefully if you can.

– Choose your seat very carefully if you can.

Certain seats, like those near the toilet, are notorious for being loud. Also, avoid seats near the galley where the crew walks back and forth.

– Drown out those annoying sounds.

The constant hum from the plane engines, crying babies, chatter and flight attendants speaking on the public address system often make it nearly impossible to even think about sleeping on a plane. A good pair of noise-canceling headphones can make a huge difference.

The way noise-cancelling headphones work is they monitor the level of the sound around you and they adjust the levels accordingly. A good pair of over-ear noise cancelling headphones will also have a high quality ear seal which drowns out a lot of background noise even if you aren’t playing music through the headphones.

A couple of good recommendations would be these from Bose and Sony. (aff)

– Earplugs, simple but effective.

If wearing headphones aren’t your thing, then earplugs might help you. They’re a very cheap pickup. If you have time before your flight you can usually pick some up at the airport in a pharmacy.

– Wear loose-fitting clothes that are easy to take off and put on.

The temperature on the plane may change as you fly so having a jacket or a sweater you can put on or take off during the flight will be very useful. Just try to wear loose fitting clothing in general as tighter and more fitted clothing can restrict your movement and make you more uncomfortable when sat down for longer periods on a plane.

– Avoid caffeine and alcohol, and hydrate throughout the flight.

This is very important as you lose about 8 ounces of water per hour at high altitudes, this is very fast, and to add to that, caffeine and alcohol being diuretics will rid your body of even more water. This is why many people often have headaches after long-haul flights, it’s very likely due to dehydration.

If you are an anxious flyer you may find that alcohol helps to relax you during take off, if this is the case maybe consider alternative solutions that won’t dehydrate you. Valerian root tablets for example are very good at calming nerves.

– Bring a light blanket and pillow to rest more comfortably.

Some airlines provide these but not surprisingly, some don’t. Also, the pillows they do provide are often not very supportive. A good quality travel pillow that doesn’t take up too much space will be very useful in these situations. You can also get lightweight warm blankets that compress down and don’t take up too much room in your hand luggage too.

– Use an Eye mask

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How to Sleep on a Plane: Eye masks can be very effective.

The harsh light coming through can really affect your ability to get some sleep, even with your eyelids closed the light can seep through. An eye mask helps to cut out light more effectively and help you get a better sleep.

Airlines often provide eye masks on long-haul flights only, but bringing your own eye mask in your hand luggage is a good idea too.

– Extra – Stretching and Exercising on a Plane

If you’re having trouble relaxing on a plane, stretching and doing light exercises is a great way to stay calm, avoid cramps and keep the blood flowing.

Check out this video for some good simple stretches you can do while seated on a plane.

Tips for Sleeping in Different Seat Positions

The best seat positions for sleeping are the bulkhead, window, and aisle seats.

-The bulkhead is the most private and comfortable seat on the plane, but it’s often reserved for passengers with young children.

-The window seat is very good for sleeping because you can lean against the wall, and nobody is going to bother you.

-The aisle seat is good for sleeping because it allows you more opportunities to stretch your legs, but people may bump into you if they are walking up and down the aisle.

How to Reduce Jet Lag

Getting good, uninterrupted sleep while traveling is tricky but one of the best ways to reduce jet lag. However, it’s important to keep in mind that your biological clock is still running on home time.

To reduce jet lag, try resetting your biological clock before you travel, doing things like adjusting the time you eat breakfast lunch and dinner to be more in line with your destination will really help get your body clock used to your new location.

How to Sleep On A Plane FAQs

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How to Sleep on a Plane: Sleeping in the middle seat is not easy.


1. Should I sleep on the plane to avoid jet lag?

Yes you should, sleeping on a plane can be a great way to avoid jet lag. Ideally, you should try to get as much as possible to reduce the effects of jet lag. It’s not a cure all, but it helps a lot.

To make it easier to sleep on the plane, wear comfortable clothing, bring a neck pillow and a blanket or shawl, and use an eye mask and noise-cancelling headphones. Additionally, try to drink plenty of water, avoid alcohol and caffeine, and bring light snacks to keep you energized.

2. Is it safe to sleep on a plane?

Yes, it is generally safe to sleep on a plane. While it is important for you to be aware of your surroundings, there typically shouldn’t be cause for concern when it comes to sleeping on a plane. if the worst were to happen, you can always call a flight attendant to deal with the situation.

3. How do you sleep on a plane with sleep apnea?

If you suffer from sleep apnea, it is important to take extra precautions when flying. Before the flight, make sure to discuss your travel plans with your doctor, as well as any special needs you may have.

You will need to bring your own CPAP machine and any necessary accessories, such as a battery pack or power adapter. Additionally, it is important to choose a window seat with plenty of room for your CPAP machine. Finally, remember to wear comfortable clothing and bring a neck pillow and a blanket or shawl to help you get comfortable.

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How to Sleep on a Plane

4. How to sleep on a plane middle seat?

Sleeping in the middle seat on a plane can be tricky, but it can be done. To make it easier to sleep in the middle seat, recline if possible. If reclining isn’t possible, you may be able to lean forward and rest your head on the flip-out tray and try to get some sleep that way.

There are neck pillows that keep your head a lot more upright than normal pillows which can be extremely helpful in this situation, because the problem when sat in the cramped seating is the lack of somewhere to lay your head. Some people even travel with a neck brace to allow them to sleep without straining their neck!

Failing that, you can try to look around the plane and if it’s possible to relocate to a spare seat that may have a bit more space.

5. Can you sleep on the floor of an airplane?

No, it is not recommended to sleep on the floor of an airplane as it is not safe in case of emergency. If you try this, an attendant will probably ask you to move. It’s a good idea to try and find a seat that isn’t taken that may allow you to find a more comfortable position.

6. Are you allowed to lay down on a plane?

It depends on the airline, but generally, passengers are not allowed to lay down on a plane. Some airlines may offer special beds or sleeping pods for passengers to sleep in, but these are typically only available in first or business class.

7. How to sleep on a plane when nervous?

If you are a nervous flyer, the first step is to plan ahead. Wear comfortable clothing and bring a neck pillow and a blanket or shawl to make yourself more comfortable. Additionally, bring an eye mask and noise-cancelling headphones to help you sleep. If you are still feeling anxious, try to focus on your breathing and focus on relaxing your body.

Finally, remember to drink plenty of water and as tempting as it may be to try and use alcohol to calm you down, try not to use alcohol as it can leave you dehydrated after the flight and of course hungover.

8. How long can you sleep in an airport?

Sleeping in an airport is generally allowed, although the rules vary from airport to airport. Some airports may have designated sleeping areas, while others may not. In general, most airports allow passengers to sleep in the terminal for up to 24 hours before they must move on.

Additionally, it is important to remember to be considerate of other passengers and staff when sleeping in an airport.

9. Can you take a sleeping bag on a plane?

Yes, you can usually take a sleeping bag on a plane. However, some airlines may have restrictions on the size and weight of the sleeping bag, so it is important that you check with the airline before travelling. Additionally, some airlines may require that sleeping bags be packed in checked luggage.

10. How to sleep on a plane without snoring?

If you are prone to snoring, it is important to take extra precautions when sleeping on a plane. To help reduce snoring, try sleeping on your side instead of your back, and use a neck pillow to keep your head propped up. Avoid drinking alcohol or caffeine, which can make it harder to sleep and can contribute to snoring. Lastly, try to relax as much as possible and focus on breathing without restriction.

Conclusion – How to Sleep on a Plane

The next time you travel, make sure you are prepared for a good night’s sleep. The art of how to sleep on a plane can be a tricky one, but sleeping on planes is an achievable goal with the right tricks, tools, and techniques.

Sleeping on a plane can be challenging, but hopefully with some of these tips, you can make the most of your flight time and get the best rest possible.

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