How To Sleep On A Plane – 8 Top Tips For Getting More Kip

How To Sleep On A Plane – 8 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 in economy class like a pretzel. 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 potions frequent flyers swear by.*

*Obvious points like comfy clothes and noise-cancelling headphones are excluded. You can read more about what to wear on a flight and what to pack in your hand luggage in these posts.

How to Sleep on a Plane in Economy Class

8 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.

My all-time favourite economy seats are on the upper deck of an A380. A handful of airlines have a few rows of economy seats upstairs that are far more peaceful. Look for a upper cabin tab on the seat map when reserving your seats.

Read also: Top travel hacks for 2018

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. (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 chicer than some others options on Amazon!

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 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.

Read more about the best positions for sleeping on planes

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. I’m not a fan of sleeping pills personally but my husband finds melatonin and magnesium supplements helpful for relaxation.

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

7. 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 seat. (Emirates reportedly do although I haven’t come across any on my trips.)

8. 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 rudely awoken by someone gesticulating at your waist.

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

Read also:

Frequent flyer tips and tricks

12 things I wish they had on planes

Hand luggage essentials for long-haul flights

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Featured image thanks to Dan Gold

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  1. March 17, 2018 / 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!

    • Jayne Gorman
      March 17, 2018 / 3:54 am

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

  2. March 17, 2018 / 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 🙂

    • Jayne Gorman
      March 17, 2018 / 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

  3. March 17, 2018 / 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!

    • Jayne Gorman
      March 17, 2018 / 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!

  4. March 17, 2018 / 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!

    • Jayne Gorman
      March 17, 2018 / 11:43 pm

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

  5. March 17, 2018 / 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!

    • Jayne Gorman
      March 17, 2018 / 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!

  6. March 17, 2018 / 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?!?!

    • Jayne Gorman
      March 17, 2018 / 11:45 pm

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

  7. March 17, 2018 / 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.

    • Jayne Gorman
      March 18, 2018 / 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!!

  8. March 17, 2018 / 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

  9. March 18, 2018 / 4:22 am

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

  10. Sophie Nadeau
    March 18, 2018 / 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! 😀

  11. jo
    October 14, 2018 / 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

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