Sleeping Comfortably On A Plane Is Totally Possible. Here’s How!

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Perhaps you’ve been in this position before: there you are all packed and ready for a restful trip - seated even. While the air hostesses do their usual flight prep, you’re just hoping and praying for some shut-eye as you head to a new destination. With all the distractions around, and maybe because of your own travel anxiety, sleep remains elusive. Perhaps you’re headed to the exciting Caribbean, and you really want to get as much sleep as possible before diving in to all the fun. If only you could figure out how to sleep on a plane…

Just because we know how tiring traveling can be overall, we’ve given some serious thought to the best way to fall asleep fast on a plane. Whether you stayed up late packing and need more sleep, or you just want to get some rest before taking on all the thrilling activities you have planned for your all-inclusive resort vacation, here are our top 16 tips on how to get the best sleep on an airplane!

Good to know: Getting some rest before landing at your destination will leave you fully energized and ready to make the most of your vacation. This comes in handy for islands like Jamaica and Turks & Caicos where there's just so much to do!

Before you go…

1. Choose first class if you can


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First things first: when it comes to having a comfortable sleep on a plane, it matters where you sit. Traveling first class is one of the options that can help. While there are limits to how cozy you can get in business class, first class lie-flat seats are the best seating option you can get on most flights if a supremely relaxing rest is what you desire. These seats tend to have a lot more space, and they’re super private too.

There are other benefits to flying first class as well -- often there are fewer people seated in that section, which means less noise and more peace and quiet for much-needed Zs. If not first class, then consider getting premium economy seats, which come with their own benefits including more legroom, wider seats, and more space to recline (depending on the airline).

Good to know: The cost of traveling first class can add up, especially if you're traveling as a family or a group. However, the price you pay for the added conveniences can absolutely be worth it if you're hoping for a comfortable mid-flight snooze. Premium economy is still a good option if you’ll be traveling as a family or group, or just don't want to splurge.

2. Pick your seat strategically for snoozing

Your choice of seating goes beyond just deciding between first class and economy if you plan on sleeping during your flight. Are you a window seat person, or are you someone who is more comfortable in the aisle? With a window seat, you’ll have something to lean on if you decide to take a nap, which can be helpful since planes aren’t always the most comfortable places to sleep.

Furthermore, you might also want to select seats that are a good distance away from the galley and restroom as there's usually more passenger movement in those areas. Bulkhead seats are the best option if you want more legroom during your flight as there won't be anyone sitting in front of you. Keep in mind though, that these seats are often near the restrooms and galleys.

3. Make sure your carry on has all you need


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For a trip that's both comfortable and restful, you might want to pack a few extras in your carry-on. Toss in items like neck pillows, eye masks, cozy socks, and even a pair of earplugs or two (in case you lose a pair). These will definitely come in handy as you settle in for a snooze. Some of the best neck pillows can be clipped on the outside of your carry-on so they won't take up any space on the inside. There are lots of options other than the U-shaped neck pillows to choose from as well, so make sure you go for the one that suits you best. The other little essentials that can help you get some rest mid-flight usually don't take up much room at all, and are thus worth bringing along, especially for a longer trip.

Expert tip: Test out your sleep mask and earplugs before you go if you have the time to be sure they meet your needs. Go for sleep masks that are comfortable and block out as much light as possible.

4. Dress for the occasion


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Comfort works better for travel days than dressing up with a focus solely on style. For air travel, you’ll want to wear clothing you can be comfortable in during your flight. This is even more necessary if you plan to sleep on the plane. As the temperature can fluctuate greatly between your hometown, the airport, the plane, and your destination, layering is a good idea. That way, if you’re headed to a warm-weather destination like the Caribbean, you can peel off the extra layers once you arrive. Another option is to bring a change of clothing in your carry-on that you can quickly change into once you get to your destination.

Expert tip: Not sure where to stay for your vacation? Our posts on what all-inclusive means and warm winter getaways are sure to point you in the right direction!

At the airport…

5. Avoid caffeine

An excessive amount of caffeine can definitely affect your quality of sleep, whether you're at home or on a flight. If you plan on getting some shut-eye during your flight, you might want to skip out on your morning coffee, especially once you're at the airport. The temptation will certainly be real for that coffee buzz and comfort, but for the sake of your planned rest, you're better off waiting until you arrive at your destination to indulge.

6. Get a snack first


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Getting a snack before flying can help you fall asleep faster and maybe even stay asleep longer during your flight. This is important, especially in instances where you may not have had the time to eat a meal before your flight. To avoid hunger pangs that’ll keep you up, pack a snack from home in your carry-on or purchase something at the airport once you get there. You’ll also be able to purchase some in-flight treats if you choose to. Just a light snack will be all you need so you're not too hungry to sleep. Anything more than a snack, unless you're really hungry, can lead to you feeling stuffed and uncomfortable, which won't help you get to sleep any faster.

Expert tip: Will you be traveling with family or with a group? Here are some of the best family vacation packages and all-inclusive group vacations!

Once you're on the plane…

7. Use the footrest

Some airlines have footrests, and propping your feet onto one of these may help you feel more comfortable during your flight. Doing this, in combination with reclining your seat to the most restful position, can be just what you need to have a good sleep during your flight. To take advantage of the footrest, store your items in the overhead bin so that you have more legroom. The more comfortable you are, the faster you'll likely be able to fall asleep.

8. Make sure you’re well supported


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Sleeping while sitting down is not as easy as it might seem. Getting the most comfortable position will be crucial to getting some good mid-flight sleep. Ensure that your body is well supported in all the ways that you need for a restful flight. To do this, you can use things like a small pillow, rolled-up jacket, sweater, or a blanket. These items can be placed across the lower seatback so that your back is supported and you're comfortable as well.

9. Put your sleep mask and bed socks on


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Sleep masks and socks are probably the coziest things you can bring with you on a flight. These are considered flight essentials by many people, and if you haven't tried using them during a flight, you probably should. Put on your socks and sleep mask as soon as you're settled in and ready to sleep on your flight. The socks will keep your feet warm, and the sleep mask will help regulate the lighting. The light-blocking type of sleep mask is ideal to keep the light away from your eyes. These work great if you don’t want to be disturbed if the sun comes up during your flight. Throw on a blanket for good measure!

Good to know: Socks will also come in handy, particularly the compression type, if you’re prone to swelling when you aren’t being active. Compression socks can help prevent blood clots as well.

10. Do the same activities you normally do before sleep

If you have a specific sleep routine at home, it might help to follow these same activities on a flight. These familiar sleep activities are sure to have you feeling drowsy in no time. Perhaps you’re someone who likes to do a bit of reading before bed or listen to a podcast or audiobook. Prepare ahead of time so you have the things you need on hand when you want them most.

11. Stay at the right temperature


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The temperature on an airplane tends to fluctuate and this is something you'll need to keep in mind as you select your travel attire. You’ll want to wear light clothing, and preferably layers that you can remove or put back on as needed. Bring along a blanket if you think you'll need one to help you stay comfortable. If you don't want to bring along a full blanket, you can also include an oversized hoodie or sweater in your carry-on. With all of this in mind, you should be able to get a more comfortable sleep on your flight.

Expert tip: Looking for the best family vacation ideas? This Caribbean waterpark resort might be in your future! Kids camps, entertainment, land and water sports, delicious food and drinks from multiple restaurants, and even a game arcade are included!

12. Buckle your seatbelt over your blanket

If you plan on getting as cozy as possible and tuning everyone else out on your flight, it helps to take measures to reduce the chance of sleep disturbances. These disturbances can include turbulence alerts and checks ahead of the start of destination descent. During these times flight attendants are likely to make their rounds to do a seatbelt check. If you're wearing a blanket over your lap, you may want to buckle your seatbelt over top. Doing so may help reduce or eliminate disturbances as flight attendants won't have to ask if you're all buckled up.

13. Turn your devices off

It should come as no surprise that looking at a screen on a laptop, tablet, or cell phone can prevent you from falling asleep when you’d most like to do just that. They can happen on a flight as well. If you want to sleep on your flight, it will be helpful to turn your devices off. This will help keep disturbances at a minimum. As you get set for boarding, it can also help to take a screen time break so you're more easily able to zone out and fall asleep once you've boarded. Store your devices safely in your carry-on bag once you’re ready to sleep for peace of mind.

14. Wear noise-canceling headphones


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Noise-canceling headphones can be a lifesaver on a flight. Once you try these once, you're unlikely to ever want to fly without them again. They’ll help you drown out the noise of conversations, people moving around, and other noises. Don’t have noise-canceling headphones? A good pair of earplugs will work as well. Be sure to read the reviews if you're purchasing your earplugs or noise-canceling headphones online to make sure you get an option that is durable and effective.

15. Listen to pink noise or a meditation podcast


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The background noise of the plane and other chatter is not necessarily conducive for a good sleep. To counter this, you can try plugging in some pink noise. Pink noise has been shown to reduce brain waves, which may help you to fall asleep faster. As compared to white noise, pink noise has reduced higher frequencies. This means that you'll be soothed more quickly by the steady pink sound waves as you relax and enjoy your flight. You can find various pink or white noise audio and videos online; these can be downloaded ahead of your flight. Options include (but are not limited to!) steady rainfall, rustling leaves, and even ocean waves, which can also help you prepare for a serene island vacation. Meditation podcasts are also an option if you find these helpful for falling asleep.

16. Relax!


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If your anxiety levels are at 100, more than likely, you’ll have a hard time sleeping on a plane. Try to find a way to relax, whether that be settling down with a good book for a few minutes, playing an inflight game, or just taking in the aerial views. Remember that the goal of a vacation is to relax, so try to set your mind at ease! The more relaxed you are, the faster you're likely to fall asleep. You’ll also get to your vacation destination sooner, or at least that's what it’ll feel like!

Expert tip: Planning a beach vacation can be stressful. Our ultimate family beach vacation packing list is here to help! We’ve also got a list of the best resorts for families with kids.

How to sleep on a plane -- it'll be easy with these tried and tested tips!

Picture: From your dreams to reality - you may be too excited to sleep if the gorgeous Beaches Turks & Caicos is your destination!

Who knew there were so many things to think about ahead of simply falling asleep on a plane? Well, as many of us have come to realize, falling asleep on a plane can be anything but simple! We hope that these tips on how to sleep on a plane help you get the best possible flight nap ever, ahead of exploring your wondrous vacation destination!

And speaking of wondrous vacation destinations … you can take your relaxation from the plane to the resort by staying at all-inclusive resorts in Turks & Caicos or all-inclusive resorts in Jamaica. Slip into the epitome of vacation comfort and convenience with your family by leaving meals, drinks, and entertainment up to the resort. Enjoy anytime unlimited snacks and meals, pools and waterparks, Kids Camps with supervised age-appropriate activities, unlimited land, and water sports, and more at these resorts!

With so much excitement waiting for you, you have all the more reason for you to get as much sleep on the plane as possible. Begin your awesome family vacation refreshed!

Expert tip: For parents, falling asleep on a plane can be half of the battle. The second half is keeping children settled and quiet long enough for them not to keep you up in the first place. If you need some inspiration, here are some games for kids on a plane that’ll keep your children entertained during the flight. You’ll also love these family beach games!

Kylie Morrow

About Kylie Morrow

Writing for 13 years, Kylie discovered that experiences tell the best stories. As a Caribbean mother who wrote for newspapers, magazines, and blogs, she believes inspiration is even found in our kids!