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How to Sleep on an Airplane

As someone who frequently travels by plane, sleep — or lack of it — is one of the issues you might be concerned about. If you find yourself missing your Latex For Less mattress, and your own bed while flying off to yet another destination, you are in the right place.

Reasons it’s Difficult to Sleep on a Plane

Some of the issues people experience that prevent them from having a sleep schedule while on an airplane are:

  • Cramped seats
  • Sudden turbulence
  • Talkative passengers
  • Elevated noise volume overall
  • Restricted movements because of lack of space, especially when traveling on a long-distance flight
  • Fear or anxiety due to flying
  • Bright light in the plane
  • A change in circadian rhythms and varying time zones while flying across continents
  • Being hot or cold
  • Being thirsty or hungry
  • Just overall being comfortable

While it is impossible to haul along your Latex For Less mattress to get some quality sleep on an air trip, here are some tips that would let you get some shut-eye during your air travel.

Choosing Your Flight:

The best way to ensure comfortable air travel is by choosing the flight that meets your needs.

1) Book Your Tickets Wisely

If you’re booking a long-distance flight, it’s best to invest a little to upgrade to first class or primary economy class. You can often get the privilege by using the airlines' frequent flier miles or credit card points to upgrade your flight.

Unlike economy class, upgrading your flight would allow you more leg space to relax, more reclining sleeping area, comfortable seating arrangements, and other benefits that would let you sleep peacefully while traveling.

2) Choose Flight Timings

If you are boarding a flight for a longer distance, consider booking flights whose timings correspond with your natural body rhythm. Booking an evening flight will help you sleep off the night, following your biological rhythm, as you will wake up feeling refreshed on reaching your final destination.

3) Get the Right Airplane Seats

Even when flying an economy class, you can sleep comfortably by booking a window seat. Window seats would let you lean against the wall to help you to sleep comfortably. Also, you can enjoy uninterrupted peace by avoiding the disturbance caused by the people moving in and out of their seats.

You can book exit row airplane seats if you prefer extra legroom, but note that they may not provide the ability to recline your seat for added comfort during plane travel. Also, the airplane wings could block your view outside the window.

While traveling with your family, make sure to book your seats together to make sure you do not doze off on a stranger's shoulder, and can spend some quality time with your family.

4) Choose Direct Flights Over Stop-Overs

When traveling over long distances, it can be better to book a direct flight spanning 8 hours or more than taking multiple short flights in between. That way, you can sleep on a plane for an extended time, and feel rested during the journey.

5) Avoid Seats Next to the Lavatories

Avoid seats next to the lavatories to get away from the noise and odor is one of the best "how to sleep on an airplane" tip. Choosing your seats wisely can benefit you on long flights.

Preparing for the Flight

Now that you have booked a flight that would help you sit and sleep peacefully, you need to make sure you are well prepared to make your journey pleasant, and to create a "sleep oasis" on the plane.

1) Wear Comfortable Clothes

Studies suggest you need to maintain a temperature between 66 and 70 degrees F to sleep comfortably. The temperature in an airplane is often set at 70 to 75 degrees, but frequently fluctuates throughout the flight duration.

Wearing layered and comfortable clothes would help you regulate your body temperature by removing additional layers when feeling hot, and covering up when cold. You can wear a cooling cap to keep your head area cool to snooze off easily.

2) Get Those Warm Socks

You can remove your shoes while on flight, and wear some breathable, soft, and warm socks to keep your feet warm and cozy. Wearing compression socks can improve your circulation and sleep quality while traveling by air.

3) Invest in a Neck Pillow

Even if you miss the comfort of your Latex For Less mattress on the flight, you can invest in a comfortable neck pillow to have a relaxed journey. Neck pillows are usually a U-shaped pillow that provides neck support and comfort, especially on long flights.

You can use additional pillows to support your arms and lower back while sitting for a long time. Rolling up your jackets will provide you the same support, helping you maintain your posture as you drift away to relaxing sleep on a plane.

4) Wear an Eye Mask

A common problem with sleeping in an airplane is the continuous onslaught of bright cabin lights. If you need dim lighting or complete darkness to get your sleep fix, you must invest in a good-quality sleeping mask that blocks out the light.

A good eye mask must be well-fitting and thick to allow you to wear it for an extended time, blocking out all light sources helping you get adequate sleep.

5) Use Noise Canceling Headsets

Another pet peeve while traveling by air is the loud noises of crying babies and noisy neighbors. To have a comfortable sleep, get a set of noise canceling headphones to block out unnecessary noises to drift off to deep sleep. Or, at the very minimum, bring along a pair of good earplugs.

6) Try Soothing Music

You can use your headphones to cancel noises, or listen to soothing sounds like water falling to help you de-stress and relax to sleep.

Guided meditation can reduce anxiety, and improve your mental state, promoting sleep.

Refrain from listening to loud music as that would alert your senses, and keep you from getting the sleep you need.

Tips to Follow During Flights

While on long flights, you need to eat and drink food items that help you relax, and create a soothing environment to get proper rest. To allow your body to recharge during the flight, make sure to:

1) Stay Hydrated

The lower humidity inside an aircraft can lead to dehydration, resulting in dry skin and breathing problems. Drink water throughout the flight duration to keep yourself hydrated.

You can get a big water bottle before boarding, and frequently sip throughout the journey to check your water intake. You can also have a sports drink, or take sips of chamomile or other herbal tea to hydrate yourself.

Take care of your skin by regularly applying moisturizer to prevent chapped lips and itchy dry skin.

2) Eat Light

To ensure you stay calm and relaxed while flying, avoid heavy, oily food, and have foods rich in magnesium and potassium. Bananas, walnuts, almonds, and lightly sauteed dishes can keep you light and full, helping you drift away in no time.

3) Use Aromatherapy

Aromatherapy can make you feel relaxed, and reduce any anxiety you might have while traveling. You can spritz some essential oils made from lavender or rosemary on yourself to relax your nerves, and help you sleep better while on a flight.

4) Skip Caffeine and Alcohol

While a glass of wine can make you feel drowsy, it can disrupt your sleep routine if taken in higher doses. Caffeine in your coffee will keep you alert and stop you from getting that restful sleep you want.

Sleep Tricks from Seasoned Travelers

Even when you are well prepared, and do all the right things to ensure a comfortable and relaxed journey, some tricks are only available from seasoned travelers. Some of them that you can try to have a relaxing trip are:

1) Use the Tray table

Though used primarily for food, you can utilize the tray table as a support to get a quick nap in between meals while on a long flight. Do not forget to clean and sanitize it thoroughly before laying your head on it.

2) Buckle Up

While onboard, make sure to buckle up your seat belts when you are taking that power snooze to avoid your sleep getting disrupted by the flight attendant over issues of buckling up. You can fasten the seat belt over a blanket, so that flight attendants can check it without waking you.

3) Make Use of Empty Seats

While traveling on a long journey, make use of any empty seats, if available, to stretch and relax those cramped muscles. Do check with the flight attendant before grabbing any unallocated seats, and always consider the comfort of other passengers while doing so.

4) Elevate Your Legs

Although you can sleep while sitting by slightly reclining your seat, keeping your legs straight for a prolonged time can cause deep vein thrombosis to your limbs. To avoid that, and get better circulation, experts suggest reclining at an angle of 40 degrees.

Using your bags or pillows to elevate and slightly bend your legs will help for better circulation, and relieves discomfort.

5) Use Carry-On Luggage

You can use your carry-on luggage as a footstool to support your knees and lower limbs while on a long flight. Also, carry that nice comfy bag on your lap, and hold it with both your arms to change your seating position and bring relief to aching arms.

6) Put Away the Excess Luggage

Placing your hand luggage and other belongings in front while sitting can make it impossible to move around and can cramp your space. Make sure to keep your luggage below your seat, or in the overhead bin to utilize your space for stretching and relaxation.

7) Reduce Screen Time

Although the temptation to gorge on endless movies and videos while on a cross-continent flight might make you excited, the emission of blue light and loud noises from electronic devices can alert your senses, keeping you wide awake.

To get some downtime while traveling, limit your screen time by putting away your mobile and laptops, and getting off social media for a little while to allow your senses to relax.

Other Helpful Tips That Promote Sleep

Here are some of the other things you can do to ease yourself into a relaxing sleep routine while traveling by air, or sleeping anywhere for that matter.

1) Indulge in Sleep-Inducing Activities

We all have some activities we do regularly that help us wind down, and get a good night of sleep. You might play some soothing music, or read a good book to set yourself up for a night of deep slumber. Whatever you do to maintain your sleep schedule, practicing them while onboard can make you gradually fall into a deep, restful sleep.

2) Work Your Muscles

Getting some physical activity before you board the plane can improve your circulation, exhausting you just enough for that much-needed relaxation. Going for a run or getting a strenuous workout before boarding the plane can help you have a relaxing travel experience.

3) Meditate

If you suffer from anxiety, or mild discomfort at the thought of flying, you can ease your nerves and get relaxed by practicing deep breathing while sitting on the airplane. Meditating on the plane can help you de-stress, fall asleep faster, and wake up refreshed before reaching the final destination.

4) Stock Up on Sleep Medication

If you consistently fail to get some downtime despite taking all measures, you might stock up on some sleeping pills to relax and drift into deep sleep mode.

Sleep aids with Melatonin or Tylenol PM can help you fall asleep on long flights, and rejuvenate yourself when you cannot sleep naturally.

Studies suggest, melatonin can help prevent and treat jet lag in people traveling by air across different time zones.

5) Set a Snooze Alarm

Get an app to set the alarm so that you can wake up refreshed at least an hour before reaching the final destination.

If traveling by airplane gets you stressed out, and you find yourself craving some much-needed sleep, following these tips can get you those restful moments in no time at all.

Elizabeth Magill

Elizabeth Magill is a professional freelance writer and editor who holds an MBA. Liz specializes in writing about health news, medical conditions, healthy living, small business, career and work, personal finance, and green-living, including news and trending topics in these specialties. Her clients include Healthline, The Motley Fool, GoBanking Rates,, Big Interview, HealthNews, Intuit Small Business Blog, Intuit Health, American News Report,, IFX Medical, and many others. She’s also a published eBook author and ghost writer for various clients in the health, medical, career, small business, and personal finance niches.