When you travel by plane, whether it’s for spring break, business, or summer vacation, you want to arrive at your destination feeling fresh and well rested. If you usually struggle to catch a nap when you fly, you’re in good company—but it is possible to sleep comfortably on a plane if you take the right precautions. Here are top strategies from seasoned travelers, all of whom have learned to maximize the potential for a good snooze en route to their destination.
Get some exercise before you take flight. If you work out a few hours before boarding a plane, you’ll be comfortably tired; plus, your post-workout body temperature will drop while you’re airborne, which will also help set the stage for sounder sleep.
Choose the right seat. If you’re flying coach, pick a window seat in an exit row. This way you won’t be bothered when your seatmates get up, and you can rest your head against the window. Avoid the galley area, which tends to be the busiest spot on the plane, or seats near the bathrooms, as passengers invariably congregate nearby.
Dress for comfort. Wear loose-fitting clothes that have been treated by a laundry detergent with a soothing scent, and snuggle up in your seat. Since the cabin temperature can fluctuate widely, dress in layers so you can add on or peel off as necessary. Also, bring comfy socks to slip on if your feet tend to get cold.
Bring your own blankie. Bring a soft, cozy throw (and a small travel pillow) that’s been washed in a soothing liquid laundry detergent with a calming scent. Consider taking an eye mask to block out light, and earplugs or noise-canceling headphones to drown out sounds. Before nodding off, fasten your seat belt over your blanket so the flight attendants won’t have to rouse you before landing to check if you’re buckled in.
Pack a snack. Bring a bottle of water and munchies that are known to help induce sleep, such as bananas (they contain muscle-relaxing potassium and magnesium), magnesium-rich almonds, or a turkey sandwich, which contains calming tryptophan. Enjoy your food early in the journey so you won’t be at the mercy of the flight attendants’ scheduled service. Sweet dreams!