How to Sleep on a Plane

My best advice for sleeping on a plane — fly first class!

I’m joking. Those primo seats are seriously awesome, but I’d rather make do with standard coach then spend my whole vacation budget on the flight. So for those whose travel plans include sharing their personal space with a complete stranger, here are my best tips for sleeping on a plane.

How To Sleep On a Plane

1. Before you book your flight do a little comparison shopping. There is no industry standard for leg room, seat width or seat pitch; a little extra room can add up to big comfort and better sleep on a long flight. offers seat specs on all the major airlines so you can choose the best fit for you. (A seat with a view isn’t necessarily the best. Choose an aisle seat if you often get up in the middle of the night.)

2. Mimic your sleep patterns. This second snooze-time tip may seem silly, but it is all part of a strategy. If you sleep on the right side of the bed at home, choose a seat on that side of the plane. (My husband and I sometimes sit across the aisle from each other to maintain our sleeping habits. You both enjoy more leg room, too!)

3. Do your night ritual as usual. Keep your bedtime routine the same as it is at home; before you settle in for the night, change into something comfy, wash your face and brush your teeth.

4. Have the right pillow. Those doughnut-shaped travel pillows are a great investment, but buy one that’s inflatable so you don’t end up schlepping it through the airport. (Try this neat trick to ward off a neck ache — wear the pillow backwards to keep your head from falling forward during the night.)

5. Promote a good night’s sleep with essential oils. Lavender, bergamot and frankincense all have a calming effect on the body and can help you relax. Pack a rollerball of your favorite scent or check out this genius (and cute) aromatherapy pendant.

6. Pull a hoodie low over your eyes to block out light, or better yet wear an eye mask. A dark environment signals the production of melatonin in your brain, which helps support deeper sleep.

7. Use your wi-fi connection and tune into sleep-enhancing sound frequencies. Both delta and theta frequencies promote deep, satisfying sleep.

8. Go natural. Valerian root is a plant-derived, non-addictive sleep remedy. It helps to ease restlessness and has a natural calming effect on the body making a good night’s sleep possible. Bonus: no morning drowsiness!

Nobody wants to spend the first day of vacay zonked out in a hotel room. Try these tips and get your zzzz’s while you buzz about the planet. Happy travels!

Got a sleep travel tip? Please share! —Karen

FTC disclosure: We often receive products from companies to review. All thoughts and opinions are always entirely our own. Unless otherwise stated, we have received no compensation for our review and the content is purely editorial. Affiliate links may be included. If you purchase something through one of those links we may receive a small commission. Thanks for your support!


Add a comment
Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *

1 Comment
  1. Kayla says:

    Even if I followed all these tips I don’t think there’s any possible way I could sleep on a plane unless it was like a 12 hour flight and I was dead tired or something. I have enough trouble falling asleep at night in my own bed!