Traveler's Test

How to sleep on an airplane (when you fly economy class)

How to sleep on an airplane (when you fly economy class)

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It’s easy to sleep on an airplane when you fly first or business class with a reclining seat and some French sleeping medication (a.k.a. champagne). But what a struggle it is to catch 40 winks when you fly economy class on a long-haul flight. Although it’s been proven that the best body posture for sleeping is lying completely flat, you can still make the most of what you’ve got with your hard-earned economy class ticket.

Here are some tips that will have you nodding off immediately – although hopefully not before you finish reading this article!

Wait until after the service

It’s hard to fall asleep when everyone around you is eating and those service carts are clunking down the aisles. Wait for the initial fuss to pass before you try to sleep – especially if your ticket includes a free meal!

Block out background noise

Ear plugs are an option, but personally I’ve discovered that headphones playing quiet, consistent sounds work better (meditation music, babbling brooks, the gentle sound of the ocean etc.).

Look away from the light!

An eye mask is essential in your quest for some shut-eye in the sky. It’s the perfect prevention for that inevitable moment when your inconsiderate neighbor opens the shutters or turns on the lights.

Stay snug as a bug in a rug

You may want to bring warm socks, an extra T-shirt or a blanket and wrap yourself up nice and warm, because your body temperature decreases when you fall asleep.

Choose the right seat

The window seat is usually the best option; you can lean on the wall instead of using the passenger next to you as a pillow. If you’re particularly tall, try to get an exit row seat for some extra leg room.

Pack a pillow

There’s nothing more annoying than waking up every three minutes because it feels like your neck has broken and your head is about to fall to the floor. There are all kinds of airplane pillows; just find the one that works best for you and make sure you never forget to bring it with you.

Find the ideal sleeping posture

There are a few simple things to consider:

#1 Don’t cross your legs (you should follow this advice even if you’re not sleeping, because crossed legs prevent blood from flowing properly through your vessels).

#2 Don’t reduce your leg room by putting luggage under the seat in front of you.

#3 If possible, lean on the wall for extra support.

#4 Sleep for as long as possible – the more you sleep, the fresher you’ll be when you arrive at your destination.