Five Ultimate Tips For Sleeping In An Aircraft

There are those people who can sleep just about anywhere. I know two close up – three, actually. If they want to, they can sleep – wherever they want, however they want. One of them really takes the crown. He is able to sleep leaning on the tray table in flight. It seems there are more people who can do that.

But not everyone finds napping in flight quite so easy. So here are some on-board sleeping tips – as simple as they are clever – should you need them.

The brilliant pillow

Are you already aware of this customisable cushion? It’s an invention that I think every traveller desiring to sleep in the aircraft will love. Hook the pillow over the seat and loop the strap over the opposite armrest or the seat belt. That allows you to sleep comfortably on your side. Google Jetsleeper and order it. And let me know if you like it.


Just read a book

Reading helps you to relax. And, when you relax, you fall asleep more easily. Your body and mind will let go. If you want to help yourself to let go, read a book, or an e-book, with the light dimmed. While you do that, make sure that your posture is relaxed. Let your shoulders hang down. Slow your breathing – in through the nose, out through the mouth. Look, read, relax, and you’ll be off – with or without a brilliant pillow.

Sea breeze and chirping birds

In complete relaxation mode by plugging your telephone into nature. The sounds of nature can be extremely calming. Close your eyes. Take a deep sigh. Listen – nothing more than that – to the waves, swaying beach grass, the wind and the birds, the rain. You’ll imagine yourself on the ultimate beach or in a wonderful rain forest. And when you drop off. One condition: be sure to download those nature sounds onto your phone or tablet and have your headphones plugged in. Success factors: keep your eyes closed and focus on the sounds.

music plane

Shut out the outside world

You can experience deafening silence, even in an aircraft. There are headphones that shut your ears off from the ambient noise. They’re ideal if your want to listen properly to the nature in the previous suggestion, and really relax. Or if you want to treat yourself to a silence retreat above the clouds. No growling engines, hissing air supply, or snoring neighbour to disturb you. And, if you keep your seatbelt on and your seat back upright, you can sleep as long as you like –that is, until the cabin attendant wakes you. We’ve arrived. Sleep well?

slaap plane

Sleeping in unusual positions

But to return to the sleeping travellers around me, who only make me jealous – the table-sleeper had stolen the idea from his neighbour He swears by it when he travels. He says to make sure you have a soft carry-on bag, not over-filled, and a pillow. Open your table-top and put the bag and the pillow on it – hands underneath, head on top. It seems you can nap a few hours that way because you’ll imagine yourself in bed.

So, these are my five tips to help improve the quality of your sleep in flight. If you’ve discovered any good techniques, please let us know. Sleep well tonight, or next time you’re in the aircraft.

Posted by:   Kim Lammertse  | 
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Ik vlieg regelmatig naar New York. Op de heenreis gebruik ik altijd mijn Walkman (ja echt ouderwets) met cassette bandjes. Ik neem altijd Andre Rieu, Nana Mouskouri en Pavarotti mee. Na de warme maaltijd heb ik de muziek zachtjes aan en dan val ik meestal even in slaap. Op de terugreis is het een nacht vlucht en ik zeg altijd meteen tegen de crew dat ik geen eten of drinken hoef. Ik val dan meestal in slaap ongeacht of ik zit, lig of hang.Ik wordt meestal wakker door de heerlijke geur van de verse koffie.




In flight napping time and the time of serving food never match.


OMG so true!!


The JetSleeper is nowhere to be found. Unavailable on Amazon or not deliverable in The Netherlands. Please help us out! We need ‘m!


Tim Williams

Go to and click on the item to order it.
I am the inventor and if you have a problem, my own mail is

Erwin Kunnen

I fly regularly from SFO to AMS in the night flight. I have a hard time falling asleep on the plane. Your five suggestions were not that helpful. I have noise cancelling headphones and those help. But they are bigger than the in-ear headphones which makes it hard to turn your head and ‘lay’ a bit more on your side. I am 6ft4, 1m94 so resting my head on the tray is completely impossible. So my remedy to sleep is only to go to my doctor before I travel and ask for a good sleeping pill. That way I have once even slept for almost 6 hours on the 11 hour flight. (Usually three to four hours, but that is three to four more than without the pill.)

Tim Williams

If you are very tall and you buy a jetsleeper pillow, you will need to “raise” the support for your head.
Put the pillow on the HIGHEST setting on the hook and then put another small pillow or cushion on top of the Jetsleeper, and you will find it works fine.


years ago I found noise-canceling headphones Sony MDR-NC13 that are bud-type and so much more comfortable and portable than the big ones. Uses one AAA battery, I put a lithium battery (longer life and lighter). Alternatively the 3M earplugs work well (resting on the pillow).


I don’t see much other passangers on these photo’s. Often they prevent me from sleeping.


I regularly fly on the AMS-KUL route and I try NOT to sleep but to work, read and watch movies instead. I always bring two fully charged laptops and my noise cancelling headphones. I do a full day of work on the plane and sleep in my hotel/home after my arrival. Only when I’m so tired that I can’t avoid sleep, I sleep on the plane. And when you are very tired, it’s not hard at all :-)


I always create my own cocoon by pulling the blanket over my head. Under that goes my noise cancelling in-ear phones and a sondre voyage pillow. This travel pillow has a strap to go around your neck or over your eyes, really useful!


I swear by the so-called evolution pillow that I picked up from Arlanda airport. Keeps your head stable so I don’t wake up for neck cramps. I suppose another trick is also not to attempt to sleep the whole flight. It’s better for my mood to sleep 3 hours well rather than fight for 7nhours to fall asleep.


I normally not sleep in a plane only one time i fly with another company than klm and was delayed 24 hours and mean i not sleep 42 hours i sleep 4 hours.

But i not worry i look movies walk little around and talk with cabin crew.

One time KLM i sleep but that because i get a cheap upgrade for business and have flatbed, that was so so nice.

Bob Segurson

Along the lines of your nature sounds, I find listening to classical music on one of the flight channels usually helps me to relax. The interesting thing is that I don’t normally listen to classical music…


Fly business class with fully-lie seats for better sleep during flight :)


That’s it! And have the boss pay or sneak in standby.

Bob Kenward

I use the Orbus Form neck pillow. Travelling from the Pacific coast to AMS also has me adjusting my sleep pattern to the European Time Zones prior to departure, meaning on the day of departure I wake up at 0100 Pacific time (having started my sleep at 1800 Pacific Time), so when I hit the 1530 departure I am already sleepy and when arriving at AMS I already have adjusted to “Europes” time zones. Importantly I get sleep on the overnight flight. I use a face mask, headphones to deafen noise, blanket to be “cozy” and shoes off to help cooling my feet (personal preference). Arriving in AMS I am ready to hit the streets, visit the airports amenities or head into town

Robert Crisolo

Get a shot or two (or more) of your favourite liquor. Voila. It works all the time for me.


Henk, check the official site and select Europa. Can order it without issues.


Oh man if only i had more legroom……


A window seat is a must if you want to sleep, put the pillow to the side of the airpplane, ues an in-ear noise cancelling headset and cary a cheap fleeceblanket with you… also very important is to have an eyemask to block the light out… works for me everytime ..


love the tips from the frequent travellers. But question for those of I Always would like to pull my legs/feet up.. but there is no room. How do you solve this?? only the flatbeds in the BC can solve it, but are there alternatives for the economy class??


Bring your own pillow, your blanket, 5 Mg zopiclon, and sometimes fly business class.


No need for a pill or a drink. I usually sleep before the flight takes off and will only wake up if I am thirsty. I am known to sleep the whole flight.


By an Ostrich pillow – available on Amazon.


Why not offer a Nature Souds Channel in the program line up on board?

Ludo Wentholt

Most important for relaxed sleeping is sufficient legspace


With out leg room it’s pretty much impossible to sleep.

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