How to Get Great Rest, Even on a Plane

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Many of us who travel frequently have simply become accustomed to sleeping poorly (or not at all) during flights.  We’ve gotten used to the mediocre movies showing and the deep envy we feel as we look around the cabin and see our fellow passengers in a deep REM state.  However, most people don’t fully explore their options, even after many sleepless journeys, and leave good rest on the table (the tray table, in this case).  Read on for the steps you can take to get great rest on a plane.

Sleep On Plane Tips

Pre-Flight Tips

Choose your side – When people buy a mattress online, they should start by understanding what type of sleeper they are.  Do they sleep on their side, back, stomach, or combination?  Know on a plane you are restricted to back and side, so make sure you pick your seat based on this knowledge.  Know which seats will recline, and make sure you get one if you’re a pure back sleeper.  If you’re a side sleeper, know your side and choose a window seat on the side of the plane that lets you get to your comfortable position.

Dress comfortably – I’m guessing that people don’t go home and sleep in a suit.  So don’t wear one on the plane!  People should find some clothes that make them feel comfortable and relaxed, put the suit in the carry-on.  Footwear is a big concern for some as well, don’t be afraid to kick off your shoes and be wearing just socks for the flight.

Exercise – Not right before the flight, but it definitely helps to get a little activity in the day of your flight.  Don’t overdo it, or else you run the risk of cramping up, but it definitely helps you fall asleep if you are itching to get in that chair and rest a little bit.

Sleep on a plane tips

During the Flight Tips

Get an ugly airport pillow – you know, the super touristy ones that you really dread (in a U shape).  The thing is, these pillows are incredibly useful for sleeping well, but are often used wrong.  Instead of making the bottom of the “U” behind your neck, put it in front of your neck so that it holds your head upright.  This will make it so that your head can rest and give your neck some time off during the flight.

Dull the senses – invest in a quality sleep mask and earplugs.  Again not the most stylish choice, but after all the hard work people did to fall asleep, the worst thing that could happen is that they’re disturbed by some random noise or light.  And the sense that they always regret not tending to?  Smell.  There’s a good chance that someone is going to ruin the flight with their takeout food or smelly feet, so we suggest a slight scent on the previously mentioned pillow to keep the nose happy as long as possible.

Be prepared for all climates – every airplane temperature is a little different, so dress in layers and be prepared for whatever comes one’s way.  A sweatshirt can be a good option since it can be removed, and when on can regulate the temperature of both the head and upper body.

There’s no guarantee that people are going to get a great night of sleep when they’re traveling, but people should do what they can to move the odds in their favor.

Gravatar for Joe Auer

Joe Auer

Joe Auer is the editor of Mattress Clarity. He mainly focuses on mattress reviews and oversees the content across the site.

He likes things simple and take a straightforward, objective approach to his reviews. Joe has personally tested nearly 250 mattresses and always recommends people do their research before buying a new bed. He has been testing mattresses for over 5 years now, so he knows a thing or two when it comes to mattress selection. He has been cited as an authority in the industry by a number of large publications.

Joe has an undergraduate degree from Wake Forest University and an MBA from Columbia University.