Sleep expert reveals five surefire ways to sleep on a plane

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By Dan Sears

Catch flights and some shut-eye.

Getting sleep on a flight is one of life’s hardest battles, but according to a sleep expert, there is a way to get some sleep mid-flight.

CEO and sleep expert at MattressNextDay, Martin Seeley, shared some tips to help ease into sleep, all whilst cramped in an airplane seat.

Don’t drink alcohol on a plane

If you want to get sleep on a plane, Martin says to avoid alcohol and sip on some water instead.

“If you are looking to sleep on a plane, always opt for water instead of alcohol,” he explained. “While it may make it easier for you to drift off, alcohol actually disrupts your sleep and lowers the quality —  making you more tired in the morning.”

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Take a 30-minute walk around the airport before you board

Plastic cup full of brown alcohol.
It may be best to avoid liquor before a flight if you want some sleep, Martin suggests.
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Window shopping could help you catch some z’s. Getting some steps in pre-boarding can actually help your quality of sleep, Martin says.

“Before you board, spend 30 minutes walking around the airport, duty-free or even in the lounge,” he encouraged.

Be strategic about where you sit

Woman in window seat on plane legs resting against seat in front with eye mask on asleep.
Try to avoid sitting near the bathroom if possible, Martin says.
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If you can, it pays to be picky about where you sit on the plane.

Martin suggests picking a seat away from the bathroom, to avoid the heavy traffic.

“Not only is this likely to be the quietest area but as the wing is usually where the emergency exit is based, you’ll have more legroom,” he explained. “For international flights, try to pick a seat closer to the front, as you’ll be served food first —  aka, you can spend less time waiting for food and more time trying to sleep.”

Man sleeping on plane with green shirt, eye mask and headphones.
Bringing tools to block out sound and light can be helpful.
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Download a white noise app

Planes can be noisy places — so Martin suggests coming equipped with some background noise of your own to avoid being woken up by unfamiliar sounds.

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Prepare sleep kit for the flight

Martin suggests packing a small bag with some sleeping essentials, including an eye mask, cotton socks, a travel pillow, and ear plugs or noise-canceling headphones.

“If you are flying late or through the night, an eye mask is also essential to block out the lights from people reading and or watching TV,” he added.

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