How to ACTUALLY get some sleep on a plane.

How to ACTUALLY get some sleep on a plane.

Posted by Ellie Parker on

If you've ever caught a long haul flight, you've probably realised that trying to sleep is near impossible. The constant noise, the slight recline of the small seat and temperature change are just a few of the obstacles presented when trying to sleep on a plane. 

Whether you're going for a quick flight to Bali or are looking at the journey to Europe, here are the steps that will (hopefully) lead to a successful sleep. 


Step 1: Choose your seat wisely
The first step to getting great sleep on a plane is the seat you choose. If you prefer to sleep on your side, you may be better off getting a window seat on the side of the plane that you prefer to lie on. If you prefer to sleep on your back, either an aisle or even a middle seat will do. And if you like to toss and turn or stretch out your legs, the aisle seat is the place for you.

Flight attendant and author, Heather Poole, has seen thousands of people sleeping on planes. Ms Poole offers similar advice -  “Get a window seat for night flights. If you sleep on your right side at home, go for the right side of the plane.”

Step 2: Dress right for the flight
What you wear on the plane can play a huge role in how much sleep you will be able to
manage. If you are in a suit or wearing tight jeans, we all know that you ain't sleeping on that flight. Just the same, if you are too cold or too hot it can also be difficult to get into rest mode. The best gear to travel in is trackpants and lounge wear. Dressing in layers can also help to regulate your body temperature as well. If you have to wear something more presentable than trackies when you land, fold a change of clothes neatly in your carry on and put them on just before landing.

Step 3: Invest in a neck pillow
Even though they may be cumbersome to carry and look ridiculous, those neck pillows really do work and will help you to support your head whilst sleeping. One of the most common reasons for interrupted sleep on a plane is when your neck jerks forward, and this pillow will prevent that. You can even experiment with turning the neck pillow around the other way for more support.

Step 4: Use the plane pillow for your knees
Instead of using the plane pillow to support your back, roll it up and place it under your
knees. This will provide better support for your back and will keep your legs elevated. It will also help to reduce achy knees from sitting for long periods of time.

Step 5: Utilise the blanket for your back
Instead of wrapping yourself in the plane blanket, which by the way has been shown to
carry a host of germs (eeek!). Roll it up and use it as a lumbar support. This will help to support your back much better than the pillow and will also relieve any pressure off your hips and lower back area.

Step 6: Wear a hat & earbuds
To give you some privacy and shut out any light, wear a hat that you can lower over your
eyes and pop in some ear buds. If you don’t want to wear a hat, you can also wear an eye mask for more privacy. By covering your eyes and ears, it will help to drown out any sounds and help you to fall asleep faster.

Step 7: Avoid alcohol
As tempting as it can be, avoid having alcohol on flights as this can mess with your body
clock and make it harder for your body to enter into a restful sleep. If you are on a super
long flight, try taking a natural sleep aid like Valerian root or melatonin before flying.