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Top 10 Secrets for Falling Asleep on a Plane

We all know the battle of trying to snooze on the plane in order to make those hours in the sky fly by. Shuffling around in your seat, getting serious pains from using your arm as a rest for your head and awkwardly falling asleep on the random person next to you, sound familiar?

Say goodbye to exhaustion and several nights of playing catch up when arriving back in the UK, after our top tips, you’ll be sleeping like a baby.

Bag yourself the window seat

Pre-book your seats in order to score yourself the ultimate mid-flight comfort. Take into consideration what side of the bed you sleep on and apply it to what side of the plane you want to sit on, it helps if you apply routines you usually do at home.

The window seat is ideal for sleeping, due to the nice flat surface for you to rest your head, you also have full control of the light exposure.

It also means you can’t be disturbed if someone needs to get up. If you fancy splashing your cash we recommend bagging a seat with extra legroom because the more room you have the more chance of a decent kip.

Dress for sleep success

You might be heading to the eternal sunshine of the Caribbean but don’t let that fool you. When you’re 30,000 feet in the air it can get chilly, so avoid wearing just shorts and a t-shirt or at least take a jacket.

And as much as pyjamas would be our first choice of clothing, it’s not a practical choice for travelling. We suggest wearing sports gear or sweatpants, you want avoid anything tight fitting and don’t forget some thick socks to keep your feet warm, this also helps with your blood flow.

Pack sleep essentials

Most long-haul flights will provide you with a few sleeping essentials such as pillows, blankets and socks. However, it’s always best to come prepared, we suggest bringing your own or check with your airline first.

If you usually read a book before bed or listen to music, do the same onboard, it’ll help you zone out. Sometimes the sound of the aircraft engine or simply the flight attendants dishing out food and drinks can become a distraction, packing ear plugs will allow you to avoid any unwanted noises.

And who knew we’ve all been using travel pillows wrong? If you flip your travel pillow round so that the opening is at the back of your neck, you have the perfect support in case your pesky head keeps falling forward once you nod off or there’s a sudden jerk.

Make yourself tired

The night before your holiday you should cut down on the amount of hours you sleep for.

For example, if you usually sleep eight hours try sleeping for only four or five. That way you’ll naturally feel tired when you get on the plane. If you’re the one driving the family to the airport, you should probably just have an hour or two less.

If that’s not for you, try some yoga to keep yourself relaxed and it’ll prevent any aches and pains.

Buckle up

There is nothing more frustrating than finally nodding off and then being woken by the flight attendant because you’ve hit a bit of turbulence which requires your seat belt on.

Be smart, keep your seat belt fastened and clearly visible, if you have a blanket on make sure you fasten your belt over it. Even better, let the cabin crew know not to wake you for food and beverages.

Don’t eat too much

As tempting as all the airport restaurants can be, you want to avoid eating a stodgy meal right before your flight.

It’s recommended that you should eat two hours or more before sleeping, so all those fatty foods don’t make you feel uncomfortable and bloated.

When you eat a big meal, your heart needs to work harder to pump more blood to your stomach and intestines, which can be an extremely uneasy feeling when you’re trying to nap.

Give up technology

As tempting as it is to watch the in-flight movie or get some work done, this will do nothing but put you in a sluggish daze. Bright lights from TVs, laptops or any other device send signals to your brain making you more alert and awake.

Choose to pop your headphones or ear plugs in and shut out the outside world.

Skip alcohol

It might not be what you want to hear, but you’ll thank us later. We know how tempting it is for a pre-holiday pint or casual glass of wine onboard, after all, you’re on holiday right?

Although when you’ve had a glass or two you can feel sleepy, this will only occur for a couple of hours, after that you’ll struggle to get back to sleep. Not to mention you might wake up in the middle of your trip with a killer headache.


As you can imagine, trying to sleep up straight will only lead to aches and pains and is a position nearly impossible to fall asleep in.

Without annoying the person behind you, recline your seat back as much as you can. This is the back bone for most sleep positions and will relieve any lower back pain.

We also recommend using your hand luggage as a foot rest, but if you’re lucky enough your airline will already have a metal foot stand making it easier to achieve that 180 degree sleeping angle.

Pick your sleeping position

Once you’ve picked the perfect seat, wrapped yourself in a blanket and popped your headphones in, it’s time to pick your sleeping position.

Now if you took our advice and picked a window seat, ‘the window gazer’ position is for you. Simply use your pillow and prop it against the window for a comfortable head rest. Or choose to rest your head on the person next to you, preferably someone you know to avoid any awkwardness.

‘The pull down seat tray’ is a favourite too, who said it was just for your food? Simply use your arms as pillows then rest your head. If you don’t like the feeling and have opted for the aisle seat, bring your legs to hip height and swing them over the arm rest. You’ll find you’re curled into a ball but just remember to watch out for the trolleys and people walking past.

It’s a very rare occurrence but if you manage to have the other two seats empty, you can sprawl across the seats with your blanket and pillow. Remember to keep that seatbelt fastened to avoid interruptions.

Now your fully prepared for your next flight, check out our deals and put our sleeping secrets to the test.