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How to Sleep on a Plane: The Expert Guide

Catching the red eye may make financial sense - hey, it's a smart way to save time as well, isn't it?

Well, not exactly, if you arrive exhausted, irritable and everything that goes with it.

To actually achieve this lofty goal of saving both time and money, you need to follow our expert guide to how to sleep on a plane.

So fasten your seatbelts (sorry, couldn't resist), here are our top plane sleeping tips.

Choose Your Seat Wisely

Here's a no-brainer - you'll sleep better if you can choose one of those lie-flat business or first class seat options.

However, for those of us who are not on that kind of budget, the window seat is the next best thing. Reclined, of course.

There is the gap between the seat and the window which allows you a few precious extra inches to stretch out against the cabin wall. This makes it probably the best way to sleep on a plane when traveling in coach.

Try to avoid the middle and aisle seats, as you're likely to be constantly woken by the people you're blocking in, or be knocked by people, and more painfully, carts as you're trying to get some shut-eye.


You want to give yourself the best possible chance of shutting out all the distractions of the plane - the engines, the AC, the screaming kids - the whole ball of wax.

You may be given a pillow and some flimsy headphones, but if you want to know how to fall asleep on a plane the answer is a proper neck pillow, eye shades, and earplugs.

Kit yourself out and tell the steward you don't want a meal beforehand if you don't want to be disturbed.

Listen to Your Body

As tempting as it is to use the opportunity to take advantage of some free booze and snacks, think about what you'd normally be doing at this time at home.

If you don't normally eat peanuts washed down with a bourbon on the rocks at 2 am (and we hope for your sake you don't) you probably shouldn't be doing it at 30,000 feet either.

Sleeping on a plane is possible if you replicate your home routines as closely as you can, including following your body clock and choosing to sleep when you would normally be sleeping.

Alcohol, caffeine and eating at unusual times can all do a number on your circadian rhythms, which help regulate your sleep patterns.

It's challenging enough for your body when you're crossing time zones. Help it out by trying to stick to your normal sleep schedule as much as possible until you get to your destination.

The Verdict: How to Fall Asleep on a Plane

The key to sleeping on a plane is to try to stick to normal routines as much as you possibly can.

Save that drink for the next time you're out with friends - replicate your home routine, block out the world, lay back and relax and you should be able to get some much-needed kip wherever you're sitting.

Head to our Comfort section, to see our accessories to keep you well rested on your next flight.

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