3 Quick Tips For Sleeping Like A Baby On A Plane

sleep on a flight

Uncomfortable seats, people scrambling over you, the noise of the engines and crying children, sunlight coming through the window, and turbulence at nearly 40,000 feet up in the air - very few people are lucky enough to be able to sleep on a plane amidst all that racket.

If getting some shut-eye during a long flight seems impossible, try these three simple tips.



Your seat location is the biggest factor that dictates the quality of your sleep. There are a few things you should keep in mind when choosing the seat:

  • Buy your tickets online and well before you fly so you can pick the best possible seat. This might save you a few bucks as well because ticket prices often go up as the number of available seats on the flight goes down. If you’re a frequent flyer, try to fly with the same airline and sign up for their rewards plan. Some of the perks you might enjoy are a choice seat, priority boarding, and discounted fare.
  • Try to score a window seat, so you have control over the window shade, don't get scrambled over by your neighbor when they go to the bathroom, and so you have a wall to lean against.
  • Never choose bulkhead seats or exit row seats. The extra legroom can be a temptation, but these seats usually don't recline. Also, most bulkhead seats are reserved for families traveling with kids – crying kids and sleep usually don’t mix well. Moreover, avoid the last row as these are close to lavatories, where noise and odor are at their peak.

Make yourself at home


The goal here is to make yourself feel as at-home as possible. The two things that can help you achieve it are certain comfort items and a good posture. A good neck pillow and a portable seat cushion are the most important items.

Not having a neck pillow makes falling asleep hard and can also cause neck stiffness if you fall asleep in a bad position.

A seat cushion can additionally help enhance your comfort, improve your posture, and correctly align your spine to reduce stiffness and muscle tension.

Don’t miss these important factors to consider when choosing the best airplane seat cushion for you.

Although you can ask for a blanket on the plane, bring your favorite shawl or blanket with you to generate a comforting familiarity as well as warmth.

Make sure you’re dressed in loose, cozy clothes and avoid bringing unnecessary items that you might have to stuff under the seat which can take up valuable foot room.

If you’re on a long flight, it’s good to keep changing your sitting position, but here’s the right posture that will help you quickly doze off: keep your legs straight with a slight bend in the knees. Crossed legs can cause blood clotting or even a torqued low back.

Recline your seat as far as you can but make sure the person behind you doesn’t get cramped for leg space.

Use a lumbar pillow, especially if you can’t recline enough. Use the armrest to take pressure off your back.


Take Control of The Atmosphere


This is the hardest part as you might not have control over everything. If you get the window seat, pull down the window shade during the day.

If you can’t do that, slip on a sleep mask to help create a state of pure darkness.

Don’t stare at your phone or the In-flight entertainment (IFE). Health experts state that looking at bright screens is similar to watching the bright sunlight during the day.

This makes your body think that it’s still daytime and the release of melatonin (the sleep hormone) can get suppressed, making it hard for you to get some shuteye.

Bring your headphones and play some relaxing music or just some white noise – you can find several free apps for this.

If you don’t want to listen to the music, use earplugs and your headphones for dual protection from any noise.


Bonus Tips


Doing these three things will significantly improve your odds of snoozing soon after you fasten your seat belt. Here are a few more helpful tips:

  • Don’t take any sleep medicine, especially if you’re traveling by yourself.
  • Avoid eating fatty foods as they’re hard to digest for your stomach, or you’ll be too uncomfortable to sleep.
  • Avoid caffeine and alcohol, at least a few hours before and during the flight.
  • Drink fresh juices or water to stay hydrated. But avoid drinking excessive liquids, or you’ll feel the urge to go more often – an obvious hurdle when trying to sleep.

 Jessica Hegg 

Jessica Hegg is the content manager at ViveHealth.com. Interested in all things related to living a healthy lifestyle, she works to share valuable information aimed at overcoming obstacles and improving the quality of life for others. 

About the author

Katie

Hi, I’m Katie. I’m the head content manager here at SleepHealthEnergy.com. When I’m not working on the site or writing about health and wellness I can be found exploring the world, trail running, trying out new plant-based recipes, experimenting with making my own natural cosmetics, or reading a good book. I learn something new every day whilst reading the contributions to this blog, so I hope you’ll join me on the journey to enjoying top-to-toe health and getting the best night’s sleep possible, leaving you bursting with energy.

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