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Tips for Sleeping Better on Planes


Lee Bradley |

Tips for Sleeping Better on Planes

Traveling by plane can be a thrilling adventure, but it often comes with the challenge of finding a comfortable way to sleep. Whether you’re on a long-haul flight or a quick trip, catching some Z’s at 30,000 feet can be difficult. However, with a few strategic tips and the right gear, you can improve your in-flight sleep significantly.

Pre-Flight Preparations


Choose the Right Seat

Selecting the right seat can make a big difference in your comfort level. If you can, book a window seat so you can lean against the side of the plane, which provides some extra support and a bit of privacy. Avoid seats near the bathrooms or galley areas, as these tend to be noisier and have more foot traffic.

Dress Comfortably

Wearing comfortable clothing is crucial for a good sleep on a plane. Opt for loose, breathable fabrics like cotton or athleisure wear. Remember to layer up, as cabin temperatures can vary.

Key Points:

  • Wear layers for temperature control
  • Avoid tight clothing that can restrict circulation
  • Bring a pair of cozy socks to keep your feet warm

Limit Caffeine and Alcohol

While it might be tempting to have a coffee or an alcoholic drink before or during your flight, these can interfere with your sleep. Caffeine can keep you awake, and while alcohol might make you sleepy initially, it can disrupt your sleep cycle.

In-Flight Strategies


Use a Good Travel Pillow

A quality travel pillow can provide much-needed neck support and help you sleep better. Memory foam pillows are great for long-lasting comfort, while inflatable pillows offer portability.

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Bring an Eye Mask and Earplugs

An eye mask and earplugs can block out light and noise, creating a more sleep-friendly environment. Noise-canceling headphones are also a great investment if you travel frequently.

Key Points:

  • Choose a comfortable, adjustable eye mask
  • Use high-quality earplugs or noise-canceling headphones
  • Consider white noise apps or relaxing music

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Recline Your Seat (Politely)

Reclining your seat can help you find a more comfortable sleeping position. Just be sure to do it politely and gradually to avoid disturbing the person behind you.

Additional Comfort Tips

Stay Hydrated

Airplane cabins can be quite dry, so it’s essential to stay hydrated. Drink plenty of water before and during your flight. Avoiding alcohol and caffeine will also help keep you hydrated.

Reminder: Bring a reusable water bottle to fill up after passing through security.

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Use a Blanket or Shawl

Bringing a small blanket or shawl can add to your comfort. Airlines often provide blankets, but they’re not always available or comfortable. Having your own ensures you stay warm and cozy.


Stretch and Move Around

Sitting in one position for too long can make you feel stiff and uncomfortable. Try to get up and stretch or walk around every couple of hours. Simple in-seat exercises like ankle rolls and shoulder shrugs can also help.

Reminder: Set a timer on your phone to remind you to move every hour.

How to Pack Smart for Long Trips

Packing for a long trip can be daunting, but with some smart strategies, you can make the process much smoother and ensure you have everything you need.

Create a Packing List

Start by making a comprehensive packing list. This helps you stay organized and ensures you don’t forget any essentials. Divide your list into categories like clothing, toiletries, electronics, and travel documents.

Key Points:

  • List all items you’ll need
  • Categorize by type
  • Check off items as you pack

Use Packing Cubes

Packing cubes are a game-changer for keeping your suitcase organized. They help you separate different types of clothing and accessories, making it easier to find what you need without unpacking everything.

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Roll Your Clothes

Rolling your clothes instead of folding them can save space and reduce wrinkles. It’s an especially good technique for t-shirts, jeans, and other casual wear.

Reminder: Use a rubber band or hair tie to secure rolled clothes and keep them compact.

Plan for the Weather

Check the weather forecast for your destination and pack accordingly. Bring layers that you can mix and match, and don’t forget a lightweight rain jacket if you’re heading somewhere with unpredictable weather.

Essentials for Long Trips

Comfortable Footwear

Comfortable shoes are a must for long trips, especially if you plan to do a lot of walking. Consider packing a pair of versatile sneakers and a pair of dressier shoes if needed.

    Travel-Sized Toiletries

    To save space and comply with airline regulations, invest in travel-sized toiletries. You can also purchase reusable travel bottles and fill them with your favorite products.

    Key Points:

    • Opt for multi-purpose products
    • Use reusable travel bottles
    • Pack a small toiletry bag

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    Tech Gear


    Make sure you have all the tech gear you need for your trip. This includes your phone, charger, portable power bank, and any other electronics you might need. Don’t forget to bring the appropriate travel adapters for your destination.

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    Travel Documents

    Keep your travel documents organized and easily accessible. Use a travel wallet or document holder to store your passport, boarding passes, and other important papers.

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    Personal Anecdote

    Personal Anecdote: On a trip to Italy, I underestimated how much walking I would be doing. My feet were killing me after the first day. Since then, I always pack my most comfortable walking shoes and a pair of insoles just in case. It’s made a huge difference in how much I enjoy exploring new places.


    By following these tips, you can significantly improve your travel experience. Whether you’re trying to catch some sleep on a plane or packing for a long trip, a little preparation goes a long way. Invest in quality travel accessories like pillows, packing cubes, and comfortable footwear to make your journey as smooth and enjoyable as possible.

    Additional Resources

    Don't let discomfort ruin your travel experience. With the right strategies and accessories, you can travel in comfort and style. Happy travels!