Score an A+ seat
The key to sleeping well on an airplane is all about location, location, location, according to Michael Breus, PhD, sleep specialist and author of The Power of When. “Obviously, first class is the best, if you can get there,” he says. But even if you can’t fork over the extra dough, you can still score a prime seat for sleeping with a few easy tips. For one, you’ll sleep best near the most stable part of the airplane: where the wings are attached. “A seat on or over a wing is going to have the least amount of turbulence, so you’re going to have less shaking,” Dr. Breus says. You’ll also want to avoid the exit row; the padding on those seats is usually more worn down than others, whose padding is replaced more often. If you’re over six feet tall, an aisle seat will give you extra room to stretch out your legs, but if you’re under that height, a window seat provides an ideal nook to rest your head while you sleep. Plus, a spot by the window will allow you to control the amount of light that shines in. Still can’t decide on the right seat? If you enter your flight number on SeatGuru.com, the site will rate every seat on your flight and select the best one available. (This is the best place to sit in the rare event of a plane crash.)
Pack a “sleep kit”
Once you board the flight, the easiest way to catch some decent Zzz’s is to make yourself feel at home—even in cramped quarters. Bring along products like eye masks, noise-canceling earphones, and a neck pillow. Wrap your neck pillow underneath your chin instead of around the back of your head, which will prevent your head from falling forward and bobbing. If your brain is too wired to nod off, you can also listen to meditation and relaxation exercises to soothe you to sleep, or try any of these other daily habits that guarantee a great night’s sleep.