Man sleeping on a plane.

11 Tips for Sleeping Like a Baby on Planes

Do you struggle to sleep on planes? You’re not alone. Although nearly 40% of adults unintentionally fall asleep during the day at least once per month, even the best sleepers can have trouble sleeping on planes. Below are some tricks from frequent travelers to help you catch some z’s during your next flight.

1. Channel Your Inner High School Self

Student sleeping on desk.
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Several travelers find that sleeping with their arms folded on the tray table and their heads resting on their arms is the easiest way for them to fall asleep. Picture it like sleeping on a desk during high school.

Pro tip: Don’t sleep on your tray table during take-off and landing. That’s a no-no for safety reasons.

2. Deprive Yourself of Sleep

Girl holding eye open with cup of coffee.
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This sounds like a brutal one, but it could be worth a try. Some travelers find that arriving at the airport super tired by intentionally not sleeping much the night prior helps them sleep well on planes.

3. Don’t Overthink It

Sticky note saying "Stop overthinking."
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One frequent flyer comments that the easiest way for them to fall asleep on a plane is to remove the pressure on themselves to do so. How do they manage this? They listen to something that relaxes them but doesn’t capture their interest.

The flyer found that whenever they start stressing about not being able to fall asleep, all hope would be lost for catching some zzz’s.

4. Using a Crutch

Alcohol on ice.
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Alcohol is the key for some frequent flyers to fall asleep on planes. Although the Federal Aviation Administration bans passengers from drinking their own alcohol on board, many airlines offer alcoholic beverages for free or a fee.

Alternatively, melatonin is an over-the-counter sleep aid you can take shortly before boarding your flight.

5. Prescription Medicine

Doctor holding a bottle of pills.
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Travelers who use doctor-prescribed Xanax or Valium report that it’s easier to fall asleep on planes than before taking this medicine. You should discuss the pros and cons with your doctor before using drugs to help you sleep.

6. Book a Bed Seat

Reclining plane bed seats.
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If you’re lucky enough to have the money to cover an expensive Business Class or First Class seat, doing so could be your ticket to a good “plane’s” sleep. Business and First Class seats have a larger reclining angle, with some fancier planes even offering seats that fold down into beds.

7. Treat Your Head

Girl with neck pillow.
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Airplane seats don’t make good pillows. And should the airline offer pillows, they’re often flimsy. So, bring a travel neck pillow. The best part? It reduces the chances of using the stranger’s shoulder beside you as a pillow while you sleep.

8. Cancel That Noise

Noise-canceling headphones.
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Even if white noise usually puts you to sleep, the lull of the plane engine’s motors isn’t strong enough for many to override noise from passengers talking, children crying, and beverages being served. So, invest in a good pair of noise-canceling headphones to help improve how well you sleep on a plane.

9. Listen to a Sleep Meditation

Woman meditating in pajamas.
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If you choose to wear noise-canceling headphones, turn on a sleep meditation soundtrack while you’re at it. One frequent flyer points out that their sleep meditation prevents their mind from racing with all of the things they need to get done.

10. Practice Breathing Techniques

Girl practicing a breathing technique.
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There are several breathing techniques that can help you fall asleep, whether you’re in your own bed or 30,000 feet in the air. One frequent flier suggests counting backward from 100 as you practice the breathing technique of your choice.

11. Use an Eye Mask

Woman on plane with eye mask.
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Eye masks are an excellent tool to help travelers sleep on planes. Although the flight attendants turn off the cabin lights during the bulk of the flight, the plane never gets pitch black. Similarly, eye masks are crucial for light-sensitive travelers flying during the daytime.

Resting Is Better Than Nothing

Man sleeping on a plane with a neck rest.
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Several flyers commented that while they’d love to get a good night’s sleep on a plane, they’re satisfied if they can rest well. Their motto is resting is better than nothing.

8 Terrifying Plane Experiences Told by Flight Attendants

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Hear stories from brave flight attendants who candidly open up about the scariest experiences they’ve had on board.

8 Terrifying Plane Experiences Told by Flight Attendants

How to Never Pay an ATM Fee Abroad Again

Man with empty pockets.
Photo Credit: Deagreez via Adobe Stock.

Many Americans are missing out on the easy trick to landing free ATM withdrawals at 1+ million ATMs in over 200 countries. Are you one of them? Domestic travelers in the U.S. can save hundreds of dollars on ATM fees too.

Never Pay an ATM Fee Abroad Again With This Trick

Living Skinny: The 10 Thinnest Countries in the World

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From a healthy diet to an insufficient food supply, these are the countries with the thinnest populations.

Living Skinny: The 10 Thinnest Countries in the World

21 Travel Bucket List Ideas for Retirees

Older couple walking on a beach.
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Stay young at heart by exploring the world with these 21 must-see destinations. Options for active and low-impact travelers.

21 Travel Bucket List Ideas for Retirees

25 Pros and Cons of Tourism Gentrification

Woman holding keys by an apartment complex.
Photo Credit: Adobe Stock.

Have you contributed to tourism gentrification? Most of us have. Discover how tourism can accelerate gentrification and the delicate dance of whether it has a positive or negative impact.

25 Pros and Cons of Tourism Gentrification

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This article was produced and syndicated by A Piece of Travel.

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