Share on Facebook

Can Never Sleep on an Airplane? Seasoned Travelers Spill 14 Snoozing Secrets

Let's face it: Finding a way to get comfortable on an airplane feels impossible, let alone sleep on one. That is, until you read these tips from travel experts and globe trotters who have mastered the skill.


Do what usually makes you sleepy

Consider what you do in at home to make yourself get tired: listen to relaxing music? Read? Watch a movie? Whatever sleep routine works for you on a day-to-day basis is what will help you in an unusual circumstance, too. For Niver, watching a movie is her go-to trick, as it cancels out the noise around her and makes her eyelids feel heavy. Think about what works normally and apply it to your travel experience.


Make sure you're hydrated

If you rake in a bunch of travel reward points because you're a frequent flyer, catching and boarding flights, then you know how tough the stale air can be for your skin. In addition to moisturizing pre-flight and wearing lip balm, Booth says it's a good idea to hydrate the full 24 hours before your takeoff time, but not right before you board. "Drink lots and lots of water before getting on the plane, so that you don't have to drink a lot before going to sleep. Nothing like falling into a deep slumber only to have to wake up due to thirst or to answer nature's call," she says.


Don't drink caffeine

You java lovers out there might find this one  impossible, but we promise you can make it work. Look at this way: One day without caffeine means that when you land at your destination, you can have all the coffee and espresso that you want. Michelle Weller, a travel agent from, says the way to satisfy your palette (especially when you might be dragging from java withdrawal) is to bring a chamomile tea bag and down a cup before you sleep.


Be strategic with sleep beforehand

In addition to working out, Joost Schreve, the co-founder and CEO of kimkim, says sleeping in on the day you're going to travel cross-country or cross-Atlantic is a bad idea. "Plan ahead in terms of your sleep patterns. For example, the day before boarding a red-eye, I prefer to wake up early to make sure I am tired enough to ensure that I fall asleep early on the red-eye."

View Slides 1-10