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Travel can be exciting, but it can also wreak havoc on your body. And one of the biggest problems related to travel is the loss of sleep.

Long flights, changing time zones, eating on the run and not sleeping in your own comfortable bed can all disrupt your sleeping patterns. But in addition to the sleep you get at night, naps can also help you stay well-rested while traveling.

Even if your flight is a few hours long, taking a nap can help. So the next time you have to take a long flight, use these tips for taking naps on a plane.

7 Ways to Nap on A Plane

Fasten the Seat Belt Over Your Blanket

Airplane seat flight airport

This is a pro tip, which we’ve learned from experience, but to avoid having the flight attendant wake you up when doing seat belt checks, fasten your seat belt over your blanket instead of under it.

This way they can clearly see it, and won’t have to shake you awake to have you fasten your seat-belt during turbulence, take-off, or landing.

Remember that naps are one of the best ways to stay well-rested while traveling, so setting yourself up for the best possible chance of a nap without interruption is one of the simplest tricks to ensuring a successful rest.

Get Comfortable

If you have an overnight flight, don’t worry about reclining your seat to sleep. Everyone will do it. Even if you’re in the economy seats, you can still get comfortable.

Use a small pillow to support the arch of your back. Avoid putting too much pressure on your elbows or neck. A u-shaped travel pillow can help with this. A small pillow or rolled-up blanket under your arms can also help support your body.

We will add however, that while comfort is a priority for good rest, make sure your comfort is not at the expense of others. For instance, don’t poke your feet through to the seat of the person in front of you – don’t rest your head on a stranger.

Get as comfortable as you can, while still being courteous of others. If you choose a window seat, you may find more opportunities to get comfortable in being able to rest your head against the side of the plane / window.

Put Your Phone Away

Apps that work with inflight wifi phone plane

It might be tempting to get your laptop, tablet or smartphone out. You might want to get some work done or draft some messages. However, the blue light emitted from the screen can interfere with your sleep.

The blue light disrupts your body’s melatonin production. Melatonin is a hormone that makes you feel sleepy. It’s advised for good sleep to turn off your device at least 30 minutes before you want to nap.

Read a paperback book, do a crossword puzzle or close your eyes and do some meditation exercises. You may be surprised at just how effective this tip improves the quality of your sleep!

Pack Carefully

Pack some gear in your carry-on bag that will facilitate napping on the plane. For instance, if you can’t sleep with bright lights or even dim lighting, pack a sleep mask.

If noises bother you, bring some earplugs or noise-canceling headphones. Choose comfortable, breathable clothing so you don’t get too hot or too cold.

Keep in mind that regardless of how warm your departure or arrival destination is, it’s always cold on planes. So even if you pack a sweater or throw-over just for use on the plane, this may make a big difference to your comfort.

Choose Your Flight Carefully

Virgin Australia Plane flight airport

Although direct flights cost more, the duration of your trip will typically be shorter, and not having to depart the plane for a stopover means less interruption to your potential opportunities for sleep.

A single flight of one longer segment is much better for napping compared to two shorter segments that require you to change planes or disembark.

If possible, choose a red-eye flight. They often cost less, and it might be easier to find one that’s direct. The red-eye flight should be quieter, making sleep come more easily.

Pick the Right Seat

A window seat means fewer disruptions if your neighbors need to get up for the restroom. And for the same reason, try to choose a seat away from the lavatories, as that part of the plane is always busier.

Seats located at the wings are a good option if you get anxious while flying.

Plan for Jet Lag

When crossing multiple time zones, your body could take a while to adjust. As soon as you get on the plane, fix your watch or adjust your device to the time at your destination. This makes it easier to time your naps and meals.

What are your tips and tricks for napping on the plane?

Megan is an Australian Journalist and award-winning travel writer who has been blogging since 2007. Her husband Mike is the American naturalist and wildlife photographer behind Waking Up Wild; an online magazine dedicated to opening your eyes to the wonders of the wild & natural world.

Having visited 50+ countries across all seven continents, Megan’s travels focus on cultural immersion, authentic discovery and incredible journeys. She has a strong passion for ecotourism, and aims to promote responsible travel experiences.


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