Sleeping on the plane - window seats often have a little extra space
Sleeping on the plane - window seats often have a little extra space

Secrets of global flying - How to sleep on the plane

Updated January 30, 2019 by CJ

Sleep is the best way to avoid that groggy, brick behind the eyes feeling that hits you after long haul travel. Decent sleep helps when you have that important meeting the next day, or you’re eager to start your holiday. How then to get decent sleep on a plane?

I enjoy a good night’s sleep, especially when it means I wake up refreshed and ready to start the day; to tackle that important meeting; or to enjoy my holiday.

My favourite ways to sleep on a long haul flight:

1. Neck pillow

I was wandering around the new Denpasar airport waiting for a red-eye flight to Australia when a lady called me over to her store to sell me a neck pillow. At USD 37, it was the priciest neck pillow I’d seen, nearly double the price of the one I forgot at home. With a desire to not be a zombie in the morning, I forked out on this memory foam pillow and have never regretted it since.

Buy a good neck pillow, particularly if you’re down the back of the plane, it’s a necessity for any kind of acceptable sleep.

2. Eye mask

As I was settling in for a few hours sleep at the back of a plane on an overnight flight from the middle east, my neighbour nodded off forward onto the reading light switch, turning it on. He was asleep and hadn’t realised. I suck my arm around him (despite the werid looks his wife was giving me) and managed to press the off switch and subsequently fall asleep myself.

While reading lights and window shades that haven’t been fully closed aren’t as disruptive as the full cabin lights, they can trigger your brain into thinking it’s day time and that you should be awake. Wear an eye mask to stay asleep on these long flights, and to help you adjust to your destination time.

3. Water

Seems obvious right? Not many people stay hydrated enough on a plane, particularly given the dessert like humidity on the plane.

Drink more water!

4. Food

While your waistline won’t necessarily thank you, filling your stomach with a good hearty meal is a great way to help you get to sleep.


I’m an aisle seat kind of person, however many people swear by the window when you have to get a few hours sleep as often there’s that little bit more room