16 Nov 2018

How to sleep on a plane

5 tips to getting more shut-eye when you’re in the sky

“I’ll just sleep on the plane!”

How many times have we said that, and then never been able to actually follow through?

Sleeping on a plane is a wonderful idea in theory, because it’s a great way to pass the hours and catch up on some rest while you’re sitting there idle. However, most of us struggle to nod off while we’re flying amongst the clouds, whether it’s because of the noise, the lights or the cramped seating.

The luxuries of a flatbed in first-class aren’t always an option, so here are 5 tips to help you sleep on your next flight.

1. Come prepared

The aim is to bring useful items along for the journey that can recreate a better sleeping experience. For example, make good use of the blanket to keep your body temperature warm, and use a sleeping mask or a scarf to cover your eyes. Try noise-cancelling earphones to listen to gentle music or block out the noise completely with earplugs.

You may even bring your own pillow as the familiarity will help.

2. Dress comfortably

If you want to be comfortable, you must dress comfortably. So, forgo the fashion for the comfy look that can stretch, breath and move with you, to help you settle in for the long-haul. You don’t go to bed with shoes, so removing them will also put you at ease.


3. Avoiding screens 

Digital entertainment is always close at hand on a plane. You’ve often got your laptop, your tablet, your Smartphone and even the screen in front of you. However, if you are preparing to sleep, it’s best to avoid all of these as the light from these devices triggers your brain to remain awake.

You can read more about this here: Difficulty sleeping: Why darkness matters

4. Pre Plan to avoid disruptions

The biggest challenge to sleeping on a plane is disruption, whether that’s from someone sitting next to you or a flight attendant.

If you want to sleep during the trip, perhaps choose the window seat so that your neighbours can get out of their seats without having to wake you up to get by.

Also, to avoid having to be woken by a flight attendant, place your seatbelt over your blanket so they can see it’s clipped up. That way, they don’t have to wake you if the seatbelt light goes on while you’re asleep. The same goes for stowing your tray table and your onboard luggage- put them in a compliant position so that you don’t have to be told.

Understanding Your Sleep - ResSleep

5. It’s all about positioning 

To get comfortable, you need to find the perfect position for your body.

While lying horizontally is not an option, recline your seat as much as you can so your head is tilted back and your legs can stretch out. Give your lower back some support with a jumper and support your head with a pillow.

It may take a few tries, but eventually, you’ll find a good position which will help you get some rest.


Do you have trouble sleeping?

Whether it’s on or off a plane, maintaining quality sleep every night is very important for your overall health and well-being.

If you are experiencing problems sleeping and you are searching for a cure, you can complete our free sleep assessment to better understand how to correct your restful state, wake up fresh and improve your overall health.

The assessment asks you a series of simple questions designed to help you uncover the cause, and the results will be conveniently sent to you via an email.

You can access the Sleep Assessment here.

Take ResSleep's FREE sleep assessmentGet a better understanding of your sleep issues with a free sleep assessment.