Tips for How to Sleep on a Plane

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The Best Ways to Get Sleep on a Plane

Sleeping on a plane is not usually the ideal option for resting your eyes. While some people have the luxury of passing out wherever their head rests, most passengers struggle to relax, find the best position and, of course, fall asleep for long periods of time. Your flight may be extensive, cramped and involve loud travelers, but while different factors may increase your anxiety, there are many ways to avoid sleep deprivation while flying.

If you travel often, you may already have an eye mask, pillow, and earplugs. However, to avoid exhaustion and jet lag, preparation and strategies for how to sleep on a plane go a lot further than a few items.

Preparation for Traveling

The initial steps before boarding a plane are crucial in determining how well you will sleep during the next six or 16 hours. Refer to the following guide to help you prepare:

  1. Sleep schedule. Book a flight matching your sleep schedule when possible.
  2. Reserve a window seat. Window seats are perfect for leaning and resting your head — and if you travel with a pillow or headrest, even better. It’s also suggested to choose a seat according to which side you sleep on. Sitting at the window allows you to control light exposure and keeps you out of the way of other passengers, refraining from them climbing over you each time they need something.
  3. Bring fewer carry-ons. The fewer carry-ons you have, the more legroom available for you to stretch your legs. If you have one too many bags, several may end up at your feet and cause cramped space. You should pack light so your items fit in overhead storage and keep things at the top of your bag for easy access, such as a book or glasses.
  4. Pack items that help you relax. Everyone is different in the way they unwind. Some may prefer reading a book, while others may enjoy listening to soothing music or resting with noise-canceling headphones. The goal is to feel at-home, so you may even like to bring a blanket and a neck pillow. Dressing comfy is critical to helping you sleep, too. Instead of traveling in business clothes or jeans, wear relaxed clothing such as sweatpants, sweatshirts, sportswear, and cozy socks to keep your feet warm.
  5. Avoid sleeping pills. Sleeping pills can often leave you groggy and make you sleep longer than expected. Instead, take Melatonin — a naturally occurring substance in our bodies that will trigger your sleeping pattern.
  6. Don’t eat a lot of fatty food. It’s suggested not to eat a meal within two hours of sleep, but overeating fatty foods can make you feel bloated and uncomfortable and can clot your blood more easily.

Strategies on the Plane

Once you prepare for your flight, there are several strategies to follow while on the plane:

  1. Refrain from crossing your legs. Sitting with your legs straight promotes better blood flow. When you cross your legs, it increases the chances of a blood clot and can stress your lower back. It’s advised to keep your legs straight with a slight bend in your knees. Some people even opt to take off their shoes to promote blood circulation with slip-on shoes.
  2. Lean your seat back. Leaning your seat back will ease pressure on your lower spine, making it easier for you to fall asleep. However, be courteous and give people a heads up before you recline as they may have coffee or other beverages on the pull-out table. If you have a non-reclining seat, the next best option is to sit straight with a pillow behind your lower back to support the curve of your lumbar.
  3. Be cautious with drinks. Don’t drink alcoholic beverages, coffee or soda before or during a long flight. While alcohol promotes sleep at first, it only lasts three to four hours, and you may wake up with a headache and feeling thirsty and sick. Drink water or juice as an alternative.
  4. Turn off electronics. A bright screen from TVs, phones, laptops and tablets can cause you not to sleep and distract your brain.
  5. Wake up before you land. It’s suggested to wake up about 45 minutes before your flight lands. Waking up ahead of time will help you mentally prepare for your arrival instead of waking up in a daze.

Benefits of Sleeping in Business Class

Booking a trip in business class always provides more room and comfier seating compared to economy class positions. Some airlines even include business class cabins with lie-flat seats, mood lighting and duvets to make for a more accessible sleeping arrangement. Depending on which airline you choose, seats that convert into full beds may be another option.

It is common for business class flights to include beds. Flight attendants will let you sleep as long as you want; there is no worry of someone bumping you with their elbow or reaching over you to get a drink or dinner. Being able to get your normal hours of sleep will leave you fully refreshed and focused when leaving the plane. For added comfort during your sleep, consider changing into something more comfortable such as your pajamas.


These tips for sleeping on a plane may help you receive some well-deserved rest before a business trip or vacation. Because offers you premium fares for business class around the world tickets using a variety of different airlines, you will have an even better chance of falling asleep. We find that what works for your needs and our professionals are available 24 hours a day for communication. About 60-65% of tickets sold from our specialist travel agency are business class around the world tickets.

Contact us or visit our business class page to learn more.