Travel Tips

Snoozing is Winning When Flying Economy : How to Sleep Through a Flight


You planned, you booked, you packed and now it’s time to climb on board and fly off to your next adventure! You’re excited! Maybe a little nervous? But you’re sooo ready to start your vacation!

But that 5 – 8 hour flight you’re about to embark on, might have you frustrated and completely exhausted. With the delays, insufficient leg room, the dry, irritating air and that toddler acting out a couple rows behind you, you wish you were already landing (or at least had a margarita in your hand). But the main doors haven’t closed yet, people are still boarding and you won’t even take off for another twenty minutes. *sigh*

Does this sound familiar?

We’ve all been there. As fun as traveling is, the process of getting to our destination isn’t always as fun filled as we’d like. But there are ways to minimize the damage of jetlag and make our airtime a little more bearable.

Below are my tops tips for getting some shut eye on your next flight!

How to Sleep Through a Flight

1. Be strategic

Aim to arrive at the airport earlier to avoid rushing through crowds and stressing out over long lines at the security check point. All that hussling and running to your gate can really get you worked up and make it more difficult to relax once you’re actually on the plane.

Give yourself enough time to take your time.

Aim for a window seat, away from the lavatory. The side of the plane can be used as a support to lean on when you’re trying to sleep and you don’t want to be disturbed by people going in and out of the lavatory.

Which reminds me, make sure to go pee before boarding.


Snoozing is Winning When Flying Economy : How to Sleep Through a Flight
Snoozing is Winning When Flying Economy : How to Sleep Through a Flight

2. Skip the morning coffee

I know, I know, it’s madness! Unless you ‘re not a coffee drinker then you probably don’t care for this but if you’re like me (and I know some of you have to be) and can’t live without your morning coffee, unless your flight is really late, consider skipping a cup that morning.

Try not to kill anyone on the way to the airport and remember, you’ll nap on your flight and everything will be ok.

3. Prepare for comfort

Carefully plan what you’ll be wearing during your flight. Now I don’t mean wear your jamies or your nighty, we don’t need to see that, but don’t wear anything restraining or tight fitting and  pair it with your favorite, warm sweater and some cozy socks. Bring ear plugs or noise canceling headphones. I normally skip the eye mask but if you’re one of those people that can’t sleep unless it’s pitch dark, bring one.

Invest in a neck pillow but not just any neck pillow. Just like you would be picky about a pillow you sleep on at home, do the same with your travel pillow. I personally really like this one.


4. Stick to your bedtime routine

We all have some kind of routine before heading to bed. Whether it’s reading a book or listening to music, try to accomplish this during your flight. Before boarding your plane, stop in a washroom to wash your face and brush your teeth. Anything that you normally do before going to bed, do it now.

5. Magnesium

Right before your flight, take a 500mg magnesium pill.

Random? Maybe. Effective? Definitely!

Magnesium is a natural muscle relaxer preventing restless legs and as a bonus, it’ll make you drowsy. For added effectiveness, take it with a cup of chamomile tea at the beginning of your flight or before you board the plane. You’ll most likely start to get sleepy within the next 30 minutes.

Snoozing is Winning When Flying Economy : How to Sleep Through a Flight

6. Put away the electronics

You know how you’re suppose to put away your electronic thirty minutes before going to bed because the screen light tricks your brain into thinking it’s day time ? Same applies here. Unless it actually is day time, in which case your brain doesn’t need a reminder.

If you have anything important to take care of, do it before boarding, then turn all your electronic off and do not even reach for them once you step foot on the plane.

7. Watch what you eat before your flight

Comfort food is great and does a wonderful job of putting us to sleep. However avoid anything that’s heavy on the stomach, spicy and difficult to digest. Aim to have your last big meal an hour before your flight, that way you’re won’t be hungry, but you’ll have enough time to digest your food and avoid any discomfort.

Now if you’re one of those people that have extra, super speedy metabolism (I’m so jealous) and you read the above statement and thought “But if I don’t eat for an hour I’ll be hungry” my answer to you is – snacks!

Pair your carbs with your protein. Bring a snack size ziplock with some almonds or pistachios, eat a slice of whole grain toast and peanut butter on your way to the airport. Bananas have magnesium and potassium which can help you stay asleep, but don’t over do it. One is enough. You got this!

8. That H2O

We all know this rule, yet most of us tend to neglect it.

You – must – stay – hydrated.

High altitudes and dehydrated aircraft air really take a toll on your body and make jetlag too real.

If you’re not big on drinking water, like someone else I know *cough* *cough* me, try adding some lemon juice to enhance the taste. Alternatively you could bring some of those Emergen-C packets, or something similar and mix them in with a cup of water. Not only you might like the taste better, you’ll stay hydrated and load up on some vitamin C and boost your immune system from airborne germs.

Avoid caffeinated drinks and green tea – though a healthy option, it has caffeine and can make it hard to fall asleep.

I’m not going to tell you not to drink wine because that would make me a hypocrite. IF you choose to drink wine, or beer…or vodka.. just make sure to drink some water afterwards. Ok? Ok!

Flights can be draining and exhausting, but following these tips really will ensure that you survive your flight and happily enjoy your next adventure.

Let me know in the comments below what tips best work for you when you set off on an adventure.

Happy travels!

I'm Sandra, creator of Whispers of Adventure. I'm a crazy dreamer with a love for adventure and new experiences. With my passion for writing and capturing the moment with a lens, I hope to inspire you for your next adventure!

One Comment

  • Diana

    Awesome tips! And I totally need to look into that neck pillow! But seriously, all of them were awesome. Now I need to book a flight so I can put these things into practice;)

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