I’ve heard from several friends that they can’t sleep on a flight. Well, I don’t have that problem! I am either out right before they close the boarding door or after my meal on an international flight. However, there are times that it is not always easy to relax in the increasingly sardine-packed airplane where less leg room and more people exercising their right to recline into your lap can mean a very unpleasant trip. There are certain things you can do to sleep when flying overseas or domestically. Below are some of the best tips for a peaceful and relaxing slumber on a flight.

Book a Window Seat

Nowadays, airlines are charging for window seats. Pay the extra cost. It is worth it. You can settle in without being disturbed by a seat mate who needs to get up to stretch or use the restroom. Make sure to determine your comfort factor of your seat in terms of proximity to a bathroom (if sleep is critical, avoid) and a flight attendant station (again, avoid) and reclining seats or non-reclining. Just make sure you take care of all of your business before you settle down for a long mid-flight nap.

Book an Economy Comfort Seat

If legroom is important, book an economy comfort (premium seating). For those long international flights, the extra cost is so worth the comfort regardless if you have a window or aisle seat.

Earplugs and/or an Eye Mask

Shutting out the noisy, distracting world of your airplane community is paramount, so pack accordingly.

Choose Your Flight Time Wisely

An overnight international flight or a domestic red eye fits in with your natural sleeping schedule, making your body respond in the usual “it’s time to go night-night” way.

Noise-Canceling Headphones

If things are particularly raucous you might want to double up on earplugs and noise-canceling headphones.

Soothing Music

Create your own white-noise with a relaxing music playlist of your choice. My playlist includes contemporary Christian and Old Skool Hip Hop. Yeah, don’t judge me. It is very relaxing. 😊

Ask for an Empty Row

With most airlines overbooking and getting as many warm bodies into seats as possible, the likelihood of a whole free row to stretch out in is unlikely, but it never hurts to ask. You never know!

All Hail the Neck Pillow

Nothing dignified here but when sleep is your main concern, dignity doesn’t always matter. Just don’t wear it on your neck around the airport. Also, you can put it on backwards in-flight with the gap in the back for maximum neck support.

One Cocktail or One Glass of Wine (Alchohol/Liquor)

I know, I know. Every travel pro warns of the dehydrating effects of alcohol on a flight. But you know what? One and only one cocktail or glass of white wine works the same at home as in the air for me: an instant ticket to Nap Town. For international flights, the wine is free. On Lufthansa, they offer beer out of Prague. Go figure!

Cozy Scarf or Blanket

Yes, I have traveled with my blankie. You know the one that is on your couch that gives you all the comfort in the world. Take it with you. It comes in handy for any flights that are over 8 hours. Oh and warmth it gives you when the flight is way too cold even when you don’t get a window seat.


I am all for a headgear. I tend to have a knit cap during the winter months or a hoodie. The hoodie does wonders at blocking out light and other distractions and provides a nice sensory deprivation effect as well as privacy. Equally good at blocking light and offering a modicum of privacy: a baseball cap or knit cap pulled down over your eyes when it’s time to be knocked out.


O-M-G! I have hospital socks that does wonders for your sense of comfort and relaxation, critical for getting in the mood for sleep. Just don’t wear them into the germ-minefield bathroom.

Dress for Comfort, but Don’t Sacrifice Your Dignity

There’s something to be said for making yourself as comfortable as possible while traveling. My travel attire is sweatshirt and leggings. Wear loose layers so you can adjust to the ever-changing in-flight temperatures (boiling before takeoff, arctic in-flight) and wear cotton and natural fibers for breathability.

Get some zzzzz!!!!