How to sleep on a plane – 11 tricks

how to rest on a plane

There are those who have the secret super power of being able to catch some shuteye and arrive rested after any flight.  They manage to snooze as soon as the plane leaves the runway. Is it sleep genes or a gifted talent? Maybe both, but we have some tips for the rest of  us on how to sleep on a plane.

1. Choose seat wisely
Try to get a window seat. It gives you something to lean against (see #2 for perfection) and saves you from fellow travellers scrambling over you each time they need to go to the toilet.  Do not get a seat on the last row, the seats usually don’t go back as much as the other seats.

2. Choose sides
At home, in your comfy bed, you probably prefer lying on one side over the other. Get a window seat on the right side of the plane if you prefer sleeping on your right side at home and vice versa. Need some tips on choosing the very best window seat the plane has to offer? Visit SeatGuru. It has the details of every seat on every plane.

3. Close window
Another reason to choose a window seat; YOU are in control of the amount of light that gets in. As soon as you’re airborne and want to catch some sleep, turn of your light and shut the window.

4. Preparations: pee and skip the caffeine!
Hydrate well and regularly during the flight but pee right before you board. It saves a trip to a not so hygienic toilet and lets you sleep peacefully. Ow and tempting; enjoying one last lattee before you board the plane. But stick to water or herbal tea if you want to have some sleep on the plane.

5. Eyemask
Avoid light and distractions with an eye mask. Darkness helps you stay asleep longer. Furthermore, the ‘do not disturb’ body language that the eye masks sends out avoids the chatty neighbor from starting conversation with you.

6. Earplugs
If Santa didn’t give you Bose’s noice canceling earplugs this year, use the free earplugs provided by the plane and avoid watching movies. Instead listen to classic music. Zzzzzzz.

7. Scent control
The odors from the food cart (see #9) or your smelly neighbor can gross you out and nick some of your precious sleeping hours. Prepare and spray a bit of lavender on your pillow or rub some Vicks on during the flight.

8. Neck pillow
Bring a neck pillow and turn it around so you get rid of the bulky bit in the back.  Use extra pillow and blanket provided by the airline for extra support to let you lean against the window. Works like a charm.

9. DO NOT DISTURB
Warn the staff that you do not wish to be disturbed for any meals once you’ve snoozed off. That way they won’t disturb you when the food cart comes around.  Stick a post it on your chair if you have to. The food is not great anyway. We advice to bring an apple and some easy snacks that you like so you can eat whenever you feel like it.

10. Easy clothes
Please don’t wear your pajamas on every flight but your clothes should be super compfy.  If you wish, take along your ‘good’ clothes and change into them in the bathroom as soon as you left the airplane. You will arrive wrinkle free and well rested.

11. Buckle up
Keep you seatbelt on top of your clothes and blanket at all times so it is clearly visible. You don’t want to finally snooze off only for a stewardess to wake you up to check whether you’re buckled up.


eye mask: Liberty London

ear plugs: Koncent Japan