How to Sleep on a Plane Like a Pro

There's an entire industry catering to in-flight insomnia. Here's our list of can’t-miss airborne sleep aids.

Photo By: Izabela Habur, iStock

Photo By: Genaro Melendrez-Diaz fotografo, iStock

Photo By: DreamScience

Photo By: GoSleep

Photo By: SleepPhones

Photo By: Symphony1

Photo By: Travel Halo

Photo By: WaveWall Sleep

Photo By: Voyager Travel

Photo By: Znzi

Sleep Tight

Many people suffer anxiety while flying, leaving them exhausted upon arrival. Mosaic Weighted Blankets offers a refreshingly low-tech solution. Weighted blankets simulate the effect of a reassuring hug, which increases serotonin, producing a calming, sleepy feeling, as if you were napping under Grammy's homemade quilt.

Relaxation 30,000 Feet in the Air

There are ways to do yoga on a plane that do not end with an air marshal and handcuffs. Yogi Ramesh Padala has devised YogaTailor a personalized yoga and meditation guide with suggestions for air travellers by which he swears. Teri Meissner teaches the Japanese practice of Jin Shin Jyutsu, a touch-based relaxation technique that can be applied even within the confines of an airplane seat.  

Tune In, Drop Off With Me

If you find it impossible to tune out the carnival in your brain prior to an early flight, the DreamScience Brainwave Oriented Sleep Companion is your own personal off switch. 20 nature-themed soundscapes and hypnotic mood lighting will drop you into a blissful dream that the gradual wake setting will lift you out of in time to make your connecting flight. 

Fasten Your Head Belts

The only thing worse than not being able to sleep on a plane is being too good at it.  The GoSleep Travel System is a car seat for your nodding noodle. It combines a memory foam neck pillow with a sleep mask that wraps around the seatback keeping you in the upright, locked position for the entire flight. We love the cool retro-aero designs. 

You're Getting Sleepy

Four out of 5 scientists agree that listening to the windbag next to you doubles flight time. SleepPhones are headphones in a headband form that comfortably and cordlessly evict the outside world from your headspace. They’re made from recycled plastic bottles, so when you glance out the window at that swirling vortex of trash in the Pacific, you’ll rest easy knowing you had little to do with it. 

First Class Sound, Even in Coach

When you want to feel fancy even when you're sitting by the aft lavatory, slip these tony Symphony 1 cans over your ears and let the vulgarians speculate as to the aristocrat in their midst. These premium Definitive Technology Bluetooth headphones feature 50mm drivers for high-quality sound and pack a battery with 10 hours of run time, although these leather and chrome babies should score you an inflight upgrade to business class before that ELO playlist blows your cover. 

Heavenly Sleep

If you’re not a fan of bulky, neck pinching, swim camp looking travel pillows, the Travel Halo may be the answer to your prayers. While the oversized eye flap blocks out light, the two stabilizer pillows on the back of the headband keep your dome upright, balanced and comfortable. The Travel Halo packs into a tiny bag that fits neatly into your purse or pocket. 

Blue Light Special

Using a mobile device before trying to sleep is like Red Bull for your eyeballs. The blue light from phones and tablets inhibits the production of melatonin.  Enter WaveWall Sleep, an affordable blue light filter and screen protector for Apple and Android devices. Now you can use your mobile device until the sun comes up, secure in the knowledge that it won’t keep you from losing sleep.  

Convertible Neckwear

There’s nothing more dashing than an aviator scarf, but they haven’t been functional flight wear since the open cockpit era. The Voyager Travel Pillow Set by Happy Luxe resuscitates the classic accessory by including two removable pillows that can be configured as neck support or a sleeping cushion. There’s even an air-activated warmer in case cabin temps dip below your comfort level.

Window Seat Upgrade

The Znzi Travel Pillow instantly turns your porthole into a headrest. The plush, adjustable pillow has two suction cups that attach to your window, enabling you to make the most of a limited space. When you arrive, the pillow folds into a small slipcase that slides onto your luggage handle for quick deplaning.

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