8 Top Tips For Sleeping On A Plane In Economy Class | Girl Tweets World
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How To Sleep On A Plane – 9 Top Tips For Getting More Kip

Some of us were born with the super power of being able to sleep anywhere, including on a plane while curled up like a pretzel in economy class. The rest of us, however, need all the help we can get to secure a restful sleep on long haul flights. To help you get more kip on your next flight, here are my top tips for sleeping on a plane, including the apps and accessories frequent flyers swear by.

(This article contains some affiliate links – please find the full disclosure for further details.)

How to Sleep on a Plane in Economy Class

9 top tips for getting more kip

1. Pick your seat wisely

Where you sit on the aircraft can have a massive impact on your quality of sleep. I favour the window, to avoid people bumping my arm in the aisle or asking to get out and use the bathroom, and use SeatGuru to make sure I’m in a row a decent distance away from the toilets and baby bassinets, which tend to be the noisiest areas (for obvious reasons!).

My all-time favourite economy seats are on the upper deck of an A380. A handful of airlines (including Qantas and Singapore Airlines) have a few rows of economy seats upstairs that are far more peaceful and generally receive quicker service than in the main cabin. Look for an upper cabin tab on the seat map when reserving your seats.

2. Turn that travel pillow around

Did you know that the best way to use a travel pillow is to flip it around to support your chin? There are all sorts of face cradles and foam travel pillows on the market at the moment that are trying to better protect traveller’s necks and provide a more comfortable rest in transit. (Did you see this thing with hands?).

Personally, I use whatever is on the plane, preferably up against the window, but I’ve read several blogs and reviews that say the Trtl Neck Pillow is the best travel pillow ever. It certainly looks more practical than some other options on Amazon!

Read also: Hand luggage essentials for long-haul flights

3. Pack lavender scented products

Lavender scented products are known for their sleep-inducing benefits and I swear by This Works Sleep Balm, which I rub onto pulse points when I want to relax/ hopefully drift off. They also have a roller ball option.

Lots of people rave about the sleep-inducing benefits of Lush Sleepy hand and body lotion, which you can decant into a travel sized bottle and rub on exposed skin.

Another favourite of mine is This Works Deep Sleep Pillow Spray,  which you can spritz on your travel pillow or scarf, and comes in particularly handy if the cabin gets a bit stinky after meals.

8 Top Tips For Sleeping On A Plane In Economy Class | Girl Tweets World

Inflight essentials for sleepy time

4. Download a meditation app

Switch off your brain using meditation or deep breathing exercises. There are several apps you can download before you fly including Calm and Headspace.

A white noise playlist is also a great way to block out aircraft noise with more soothing sounds.

5. Lean back

My back knows from experience that flopping forward and sleeping on the meal tray is going to hurt the next day. Professionals advise that leaning back with legs uncrossed is the best position for your back when it comes to sleeping on flights.

6. Lay off the coffee

Caffeine can take up to 6 hours to filter through our systems so lay off the coffee in the airport if you want to nod off on the flight.

Booze (both on and off the plane) is also best avoided if you want a better quality of sleep.

7. Try natural supplements

Personally, I’m not a fan of taking anything that could make me less alert in an emergency so rather than taking sleeping pills I travel with melatonin and magnesium supplements that are helpful for relaxation and combating muscle stiffness instead.

8 Top Tips For Sleeping On A Plane In Economy Class | Girl Tweets World | Photo by Suhyeon Choi on Unsplash

Check your seat pocket for a do not disturb sticker if you want to sleep through the meal service

8. Do not disturb

Ever finally drifted off on a flight only to get woken by the meal service? (This happened twice on my overnight flight back from India – I woke to find a tikka roll in my face and wasn’t happy.) If you’ve got a friendly seat mate or helpful cabin crew, let them know you plan to sleep through the meal service.

Some airlines even have do not disturb stickers you can pop on your head rest. (Emirates are well known for doing this.) Check your seat pocket or amenity pack when you board the aircraft.

9. Buckle over your blanket

Finally, don’t forget to pop your seat belt on over your blanket – that way if there’s any turbulence or its time to land, you won’t be abruptly awoken by someone gesticulating at your waist.

Have any other foolproof tips for sleeping on flights? Let me know in the comments.

Read also:

Tips for flying while pregnant

Best carry on luggage for women

Hand luggage essentials for long-haul flights

Tips for flying long-haul with a baby

This article contains some affiliate links. This means that if you make a purchase after clicking on the link, I may receive a small commission. Read disclaimer for details.

Featured image thanks to Dan Gold


  • Reply
    March 17, 2018 at 1:43 am

    Maannnnn I suck in sleeping on a plane, I even sleep on the table. Usually I just watch movies until I CAN NO LONGER stay awake… insomnia and flying is the worst. But I love the tips you give, especially the lavender scented products, I use it at home always and that helps alot!

    • Reply
      Jayne Gorman
      March 17, 2018 at 3:54 am

      I love my lavender balm, it just makes me feel a bit more homely compared to the usual airplane smells haha

  • Reply
    March 17, 2018 at 10:15 am

    I can never get enough sleep on planes so these tips are great! Will defo try them out on my next flight 🙂

    • Reply
      Jayne Gorman
      March 17, 2018 at 11:42 pm

      Hope they work for you! I can usually sleep ok but have struggled on my last few flights so will be taking ALL of my own advice on the next long-haul haha

  • Reply
    March 17, 2018 at 12:59 pm

    My husband is one of those who can sleep ANYWHERE. I, however, am not! Love these tips, especially the one about turning the pillow around. I’m going to try that on my next flight!

    • Reply
      Jayne Gorman
      March 17, 2018 at 11:42 pm

      It makes sense when you think about it as your head always flops forward. I only learned it when researching this post on best postures etc so will try it myself too!

  • Reply
    March 17, 2018 at 3:04 pm

    These tips are great. I especially like the lavender one. I love using lavender oils at home, but have never thought to bring it with me. I’m also going to go check out the meditation apps. Thanks, Jayne!

    • Reply
      Jayne Gorman
      March 17, 2018 at 11:43 pm

      I adore the This Works products, there’s something comforting about the scent that helps me to relax on the plane.

  • Reply
    March 17, 2018 at 10:19 pm

    Good tips! I really struggle with sleeping on airplanes which is so annoying for those long haul flights when I really need to get some rest. My husband on the other hand is fast asleep before the plane event takes off and can sleep through the entire flight!
    I’ve got to check out those sleep apps. So far I haven’t found a pillow that works for me, even when I try turning it around to support my chin. Going to check out the one you recommended. Thanks for sharing!

    • Reply
      Jayne Gorman
      March 17, 2018 at 11:44 pm

      I read a lot of reviews on travel pillow when researching this post and the Trtl is getting rave reviews all around. I’ve got one on order to test about between Melbourne and London so fingers crossed it’s as good as they say!

  • Reply
    March 17, 2018 at 10:41 pm

    I love this, I literally get on a plan and start getting settled to sleep (whatever time of day) some really good advice here! Definitely try the lavender, I do it at home, what not on a plane?!?!

    • Reply
      Jayne Gorman
      March 17, 2018 at 11:45 pm

      Exactly, it’s liking bringing a bit of home on board with you.

  • Reply
    March 17, 2018 at 10:49 pm

    Definitely some great tips! I always go for a window seat when its a long flight. Why risk someone waking you to get up (that happened once on a trip – that person did that 3 times!! I vowed never again). My personal preference for sleep – unisom pill. Works like a charm every time.

    • Reply
      Jayne Gorman
      March 18, 2018 at 10:39 pm

      I’m a window seat girl too and I hate having to be the person who is desperate for the other passengers to stir so I can get out and pee!!

  • Reply
    leanne scott
    March 17, 2018 at 11:55 pm

    Useful article! I’m always torn between sleeping a film on a plane. Usually, the film wins then I regret it on the first day of my trip when im shattered after staying up all night watching films! Oops

  • Reply
    Mona Corona
    March 18, 2018 at 4:22 am

    These are great tips! I’ve never thought to turn the pillow around like that. Definitely gonna try this next time!

  • Reply
    Sophie Nadeau
    March 18, 2018 at 7:50 am

    The buckle over your blanket is SUCH an important one that people often forget when they’re already tired! I’ll definitely be packing lavender scented products from now on! 😀

  • Reply
    October 14, 2018 at 5:43 am

    i use a scarf/pahmina and drap it length ways across my chest.
    i then create a swaddle effect by pulling the ends under my armpits and using opposite hands
    to create tension on the scarf
    its incredibly comforting and you can adjust the taughtness – once your settled with a good travel pillow you are set

  • Reply
    June 18, 2019 at 2:25 pm

    To skip the coffee is a great tip I always forget 😀 Hahah!

  • Reply
    June 21, 2019 at 7:30 pm

    Just got a neck/chin supporting next pillow to try next week on our flight to Prague. Hoping it helps me sleep. My husband also sleeps everywhere, including the floor of the plane on one of our trips. Cannot say how many flights I was awake the whole time but determined to sleep this time.

    • Reply
      Jayne Gorman
      June 24, 2019 at 7:22 pm

      Hope it helps! Let me know how you get on.

  • Reply
    July 9, 2019 at 1:24 pm

    Hi thanks for the advice i’m always having a hard time sleeping on the plane so i will make sure i try some of these Thank you

  • Reply
    August 31, 2019 at 2:03 pm

    What lavender oil can you bring on the plane?

  • Reply
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    September 16, 2019 at 11:53 pm

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