Upon boarding the plane and undertaking the slalom of people juggling obscene amounts of duty-free into the overhead locker, you discover your allotted centre seat amongst complete strangers whereby the concept of personal space has been thrown out of the oval window. For the next few hours, you will be confined within a tin can travelling 500mph, between roaring jet engines soaring 30,000 high over the endless expanse of an ocean — sleep on an airplane can at times, be a near-impossible endeavour.

While enduring a long journey, grabbing some sleep is an ideal way to begin your trip and feel refreshed. We’ve compiled 5 handy tips for giving you the best chance of nodding off on the plane.

Upgrade your seat

Let’s begin with the obvious. Airlines know passengers place particular emphasis on sleep and comfort, therefore a series of seat options are available which cater to this need.

Premium economy boasts greater legroom allowing you to comfortably move your chair back without enraging the passenger behind you. Business and first class build upon the overall quality, with selected airlines offering seats which transform into beds (or something which resembles a bed). It goes without saying the aforementioned options vary in cost, ranging from pricey to eye wateringly expensive.

If you’re travelling on a budget, you may also consider speaking with the airline about economy seats that offer additional legroom — unfortunately do not expect them to offer these for free.

Pick the right seat

Given that you’re in a ginormous tube, it may seem strange to suggest that thinking strategically will determine the likelihood of getting some sleep, however it’s a surprising factor and certainly one to take into consideration.

According to easyJet, 7F is the crown jewel of aviation seating owed to by its close proximity to the front and window status. Many consider the front of the plane to be the best place to sit, so as to avoid the inevitable riot during boarding and disembarking. Unfortunately many forget that parents and babies will often travel within the same vicinity, it is also a hub for flight attendants. The window seat on the other hand, is a perfect spot for sleeping and taking in spectacular views but, you may have to partake in the awkward shuffle over your neighbouring travellers.

Avoid drinking

The holiday starts in the departure lounge, we know. Though the temptation to test Wetherspoons’ liberal licencing is appealing, it is important to refrain from alcohol as REM is skipped and your sleeping pattern will be disrupted as a result. It’s also worth mentioning that drinking on the airplane does not make you drunk faster, but the reduced oxygen levels make you feel woozy… so take it easy when the drinks trolley passes you by.

The bottom line, make sure you stay well hydrated by drinking plenty of water.


The world of gadgetry offers a myriad of sleeping solutions, which we will break into three categories.

Pillow technology has come a long way in recent years with a notable example including the neck pillow, which can be purchased at the airport. For the brave few willing to sacrifice style over comfort check out the b-tourist band or ostrich pillow, both of which enable users to experience unparalleled comfort and confused gazes from fellow passengers.

Face masks will assist in shielding the reality of your whereabouts and provide you with the sense of being in a darkened bedroom… next to a Boeing 747. If you want to take relaxation and sleeping masks to the next level, products such as the Sound Oasis Glo to Sleep are on hand to block out light and substitute it with soft glowing pulses.

Finally, a good pair of noise cancelling earphones coupled with a smartphone loaded with relaxing music and sleep apps will reduce the constant whir of the engines.

Pop a pill

If all else fails, you have a long haul flight, a pair of compression stockings handy and you have spoken with your doctor/pharmacist beforehand, sleeping tablets may be an option to consider following professional medical advice. This may not be the best course of action though, as you can leave the flight feeling drowsy and not ready to face the glorious summer sunshine that awaits you on the beach.