How to Sleep Like a Baby on Airplanes ūüėī


Hello my beautiful travellers! This week I want to quickly share with you a few tips to sleep better on airplanes (or busses and trains, whichever your prefer mode of transportation happens to be).

We've all been there at some point on the road. You're on a long flight or train ride and can't seem to fall into any sort of quality sleep. Trust me, I've been there and it's not fun. When we arrive at our destination, we're either jet lagged or super tired. Thankfully, over the years I've discovered some neat tricks and useful items to help me get some ZZZ's. Today, I will share them with you: 

Get a Window Seat

Getting a Window Seat

The first step to getting some sleep is generally to score a window seat. You will be able to lean your head against the window for support. What's more, you'll be able to control the lighting, which is no small factor in trying to fall asleep and to stay that way. An aisle seat also means you will have to get up once in a while in long-haul flights for others who need to use the bathroom or stretch their legs - very annoying and not conducive to getting deep sleep!

Avoid Alcohol

Alcohol on Planes

Many companies offer complementary alcoholic beverages for the journey. While there may be temptation to get a drink, I'd recommendation staying away from them. They dehydrate your body, which is already losing water from being in a pressurized cabin. Although they might help you fall asleep, scientific studies have shown that alcohol decreases sleep quality. Best to hold off on that chilly margarita or beer until you land! 

Avoid Sleeping Aids, Except Melatonin

There are medications and sleeping pills on the market that could potentially knock you out for 7-8 hours. While it may be tempting, these pills leave you feeling groggy upon waking up for hours. I have personally found the Now brand of melatonin* (Amazon) to be effective in easing and resetting my circadian rhythm in a new time zone without the side-effect of waking up groggy. 

Use a White Noise App

Simply Noise

From crying babies to obnoxious conversations of other passengers to loud music, there can be many background noise to keep you awake. I have found that a monotonous, predictable and boring background noise helps to drown them out and allows my brain to relax. An OS app that I've been using for years is SimplyNoise. Its noises are soothing and allows me to fall asleep even in noisy party hostels over the years. Just make sure you have comfortable headphones or earbuds.

Use an Eye Mask and Neck Pillow

Neck Pillows

This one may seem obvious, but many people choose not to use one and it's mind boggling. I didn't use to believe in them, until I tried and now swear by them. I personally use and would recommend a brand called Nidra (Amazon), which is super comfy, achieves near-complete black out and is easy to wash. Bcozzy (Amazon) also makes ridiculously comfortable neck pillows as an easy carry-on item.

Power Down and Lean Back

Laptop on Airplanes

Electronic devices such as LCD screens, smart phones and tablets emit blue light, which acts similar to sunlight in that it tricks your brain into thinking it's daylight. By avoiding looking into electronic screens one hour prior to sleep, you will fall asleep much faster and achieve a deeper sleep. Try to avoid looking into any electronic devices (laptops, cell phones, tablets, etc) on the plane. If you must, try to put it on night-shift mode to minimize blue light.

Studies have also shown that physical postures affect the way people feel! If you're sitting upright, your brain will be more alert so be sure to lean back on your seat as much as possible. While it may not recline much, every little bit helps.

Fly Business Class

Flying Business Class

This one may not be possible for everyone due to budget reasons, but there's a reason airlines charge a hefty premium for business class seats. The seats are wider, there is more leg room and the service is often better. You even get lounge access and showers at the airport! Many businesses are willing to pay the extra charge so that their employees who have to travel for work arrive well rested and ready to tackle the all-important client meeting or presentation.  

As an intrepid traveller, there's no reason you also shouldn't also hit the ground running with your explorations! The key for the average traveller to fly in business class without spending an arm and a leg is to learn how to track hack. With a savvy point collection and redemption strategy, along with a strategic choice of routes, you too can fly in business class for a fraction of the cost! These extra amenities truly shine in long-haul flights that are 8 hours or more.


Well, there you have it, a few of my tried-and-true techniques and tricks for achieving some sleep while on the go. If you're one of the lucky ones who can pass out easily on a plane, I salut you! For the rest of us mere mortals, we'll just have to use some travel-hacking to get a similar result¬†ūüėČ

Have I missed out on any tricks? Leave a comment and let me know!

Until next time.

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