How to Fall Asleep on a Plane

Sleeping on a plane can sometimes seem impossible. There are so many people, so many crying children, so much noise and light. And with all these aspects of plane rides piling up on one another, where’s the peace and relaxation?

In truth, it’s not easy to fall asleep on a plane. There are a lot of disturbances around you. Luckily, there are ways to block out all the confusion and catch some rest. In this article, we’ll highlight some great tricks that can help you get some fulfilling sleep. There’s no one way to set yourself to sleep, so it’s best to try numerous ways and figure out which one works best for you.

Precautions you can take beforehand

There are a few precautions you can take before you even get into the plane. The perfect sleep in a plane takes some preparation on your part. So here are some things you can do prior to your trip.

Select a Suitable Seat – Where your seat is can really help your experience on the plane. Of course, it’s hard to always get the perfect seat when you fly, but there’s no harm in trying. If you’re trying to sleep, then window seats are a good option since you can pull down the shade and lean on the window. Exit row seats don’t lean back, and bulkhead seats don’t lift their armrests. Another vital place to avoid is the row in front of the bathroom, for obvious reasons.

Limit your Carry-Ons – Your carry-ons will only take up your personal space around you. This can make it harder for you to find a comfortable position to sleep in. Overhead compartments are great for keeping your carry-on luggage out of the way. Take out anything you might need during the flight and keep your necessities at a minimum. A phone, glasses, and perhaps a book are more than enough. While you can utilize the seat pocket in front of you, flight attendants may ask you to empty it since it can get in the way of evacuation.

Dress as Comfortably as Possible – A great way to ensure you can sleep while you travel is to dress comfortably. You can even pack your pajamas if you feel a need for them to get some shut-eye. The plane can easily be frigid cold like the back of a fridge or insufferably warm. Wear removable layers beforehand; once you get on the plane you can determine whether or not you need them.


Book an Overnight Flight

Now, here is what you will need with you on the plane to make yourself as comfortable as possible.

  • Melatonin can help you go to sleep faster. Be careful with melatonin since it doesn’t work for everyone. Gummies are better since they don’t leave any medicine taste when you wake up.
  • Pillows, blankets, and some familiar objects from your bedroom are a great idea. Pillows and blankets may not be clean on the plane and the closer to home you feel, the better you’ll sleep.
  • Have an item with you that you can fiddle with or clutch while you’re asleep. Fiddling can help calm you down while clutching something will keep your hands busy when you’re asleep.
  • An eye mask is one of the key items many people use to block out light that would otherwise keep you awake.
  • Earplugs are an ideal option on a plane, especially if you’ve been surrounded by noisy neighbors and wailing children. Some people would rather fall asleep listening to something, so you can bring earbuds and listen to music or an audiobook.


Step 1: Make Room for Yourself

As soon as you find your seat, place your carry-on luggage in the overhead compartment, taking out everything you need for a restful plane ride. You want as much leg-room as possible, so avoid placing anything underneath your seat unless completely necessary. All of the items you carry you should be small enough to fit in the pocket on the seat in front of you.

Step 2: Inform the Flight Attendant

One thing everyone hates is being woken up. Unfortunately, it’s the flight attendant’s job to make sure you’re comfortable and well attended to, which means waking you up. Inform them beforehand that you don’t want to be woken up for meals or drinks. If you are using a blanket, buckle your seatbelt over it so the flight attendants can see it.

Step 3: Prepare yourself for Sleep

Some people can’t sleep until they have eaten something or brushed their teeth. If this is your case, then prepare yourself for sleep as if you were home. Use the bathroom, brush your teeth, have a filling meal before you board. This will help alert your mind that you’re getting ready to go to sleep and therefore make it easier to put your mind at ease.

Step 4: Make yourself comfortable

Now it’s time to either get a blanket and pillow from the flight attendant or bring out your own. Make sure you claim your own pillow and blanket so no one takes it from you. You can recline your seat (carefully, in consideration of the people behind you) and lift your armrest or keep it down, depending on how you find yourself comfortable. If you are sitting by the window, you can pull down the shade. If not, then bring out your eye mask. If you brought a stuffed toy or something from home, take it out once you need it.

Step 5: Create the Proper Environment

This links a couple of the other steps into one, but the main idea is that you want to be in a dark environment. The darker it is, the more melatonin your body releases. Make sure the light above your seat is turned off. If you are sitting near a window, close it or turn away from it if you can’t. Sometimes someone in front of you has their light turned on and there’s nothing you can do about it. In these cases, an eye mask would be ideal or shift yourself so you’re not facing the light source. The darker your environment is, the easier you’ll get some sleep.

Step 6: Assist yourself

You might need some assistance getting to sleep. In this case, you can watch a movie or read a book you bought. You can scroll through the magazine in your seat’s front pocket, or use your phone for the time being. Listen to some music or an audiobook to lull yourself into a good rest. Anything you brought, use it at the beginning of the flight so you can sleep the whole way through. As the final resort, use your earbuds to block out all the noise around you and shut your eyes.

Step 7: Use your Sleep Aids

Any gummies or melatonin pills you buy for yourself, use them at the beginning of the flight. They’ll kick in and last you the whole flight. These pills or gummies work better if you have them on a full stomach. Either wait for the flight attendant to serve something or eat a hearty meal before you board. Try not to use these on shorter flights since you may be drowsy even after you land. Don’t use them in the middle of the night since they may again, last after the flight. Some people would prefer not to use any sleeping aids. If this is your case, then you can avoid this step in your plan.

Step 8: Wake Yourself Up

The final part of the flight is waking yourself up. No one likes it when someone else wakes them up, so it’s better if you wake yourself up. You want to be awake before the plane lands, so place an alarm for about 30 minutes before the plane lands. This gives more than plenty of time to wake yourself up. Wash your face, have some coffee, pack up all of your things. By the time you land, you’ll be wide awake and ready to tackle the trip ahead of you.

Remember, you don’t have to implement all of these steps when you’re traveling. These are all tricks that can help you get some restful sleep in any class of the plane. Anything you feel won’t work for you, don’t do. Be adventurous and try everything you can until something works for you.


Final Thoughts

It’s obvious there’s no one easy route to finding rest on a plane, but there are a multitude of steps you can take to get there. Start from the seat you book and think it through to the final landing. The travel on the plane is what’s going to make or break your experience. Even if it’s just for a day’s work, you want to be fresh and ready for the day ahead, not tired and grumpy.

Find what works for you, and hopefully, this article has helped you figure out how to make air travel more bearable. Share this with anyone you think could benefit from some help or is traveling soon and tell us what you think!