Pack These Essentials For The Best Plane Sleep

When trying to sleep on a plane, the obstacles are stacked against you. The environment is loud, bright, crowded and uncomfortable. But while it most likely won’t be the same quality as at home, it is still possible to get some shut-eye with the right gear.

Focusing on getting rest vs deep sleep will take the pressure off when you buckle up for take-off. With the right gear, mental state and practice, you’ll be snoozing in your seat in no time.

Here’s what you need to get started.

Neck pillow

Every expert interviewed recommended buying a good neck pillow before you fly. But pillows aren’t necessarily a one-size-fits-all kind of product. What one traveller may love; another may hate. It could take trial and error before you find what works for you.

Eye mask

Between the flashing entertainment systems, blinking seat-belt notifications, cabin lighting and the screens of your fellow travellers, there’s a lot of stimulating light that can keep travellers awake. Although you may not have any control over the lights on the plane, you can pack an eye mask to create a light-tight setting. Buy one that doesn’t press too firmly on your eyes and still covers enough ground to protect from light getting inside.


In a perfect scenario, you’d be falling asleep in a dark room. Planes don’t always have complimentary blankets these days, so don’t rely on a plastic-wrapped saviour to be waiting on your seat. Prepare for a cold scenario by packing a scarf, shawl or blanket in your carry-on. If you don’t need it to keep warm, you can use it to further support your neck.

Compression socks

Compression socks are another way to keep warm on a plane, but that’s not the only reason they’re recommended by our experts. The compression socks will help prevent stagnant blood flow while you’re stuck being sedentary on the plane.

Earplugs or noise-cancelling headphones

Planes are loud. Really loud. Earplugs and noise-cancelling headphones are your best options for combating noise pollution.

Choosing what to play on your noise-cancelling headphone is up to personal preference. You can try audiobooks; sleep or relaxation apps; music or white noise.


The best sleep is interruption-free, and unfortunately, that’s nearly impossible on a plane. The one interruption you can avoid is the refreshment cart. Pack your own water bottle so you don’t have to live at the mercy of the flight attendants’ service schedule. Furthermore, skip the booze if you’re trying to sleep on a plane.

By Natalie B Compton