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How to Sleep on a Flight

How to Sleep on a Flight

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Flying is often an uncomfortable, crowded experience. When you’ve got the sounds of the plane, the noise from other passengers and staff, the blasting cold air, light streaming in from the windows and a cramped economy seat, sleeping seems near-impossible. While the wisdom of the internet mostly suggests weed gummies or a prescription from your doctor to help you sleep on long-haul flights, those options aren’t always available. That’s why we’ve rounded up the best sleep products for travel you can shop now. These top-rated neck pillows, blankets, and other in-flight essentials make flying not only tolerable but, dare we say, comfortable. 

Plenty of these products — including nourishing skincare items, highly-rated eye masks, and noise-canceling headphones — are also useful to have once you land. You never know when you’ll find yourself needing to tune out the sounds of neighboring hotel rooms, or block out the light when it comes shining into the window at 5:30 a.m. 

We’ve scoured tons of reviews to bring you these highly rated sleep products that make any flight, vacation, or visit to your parents’ house more enjoyable. Here are our picks for the best sleep products any frequent flyer should have on hand before their next long-haul flight.  


Best travel pillow

This unique pillow was recently featured in a TikTok from The Bachelor’s Matt James, who shared a video of his girlfriend Rachael Kirkconnell inflating and using this unusually shaped pillow on an airplane. Once inflated, it tucks in between your shoulder and neck to provide support, even if you’re in the dreaded middle seat. Amazon reviews suggest there’s a bit of a learning curve, but once you’ve found the arrangement that works for you, you’ll be able to sleep peacefully. Plus, it rolls up compactly once deflated and can be tossed in a bag, unlike bulkier pillows that can be annoying to carry during travel. 


Best Sleep Mask

Some airlines pass out sleep masks, but they’re often flimsy and don’t block out all the light. A mask with contoured eye cups solves that problem. This 3D sleep mask from Amazon is made with soft memory foam and has an adjustable strap. According to reviewers, it really does block out 100 percent of the light and is well worth the money. Some reviewers also mention that this doesn’t press on your eyelashes, so you don’t have to worry about your mask ruining your lash extensions or eye makeup while you snooze. As far as travel sleep products go, this is one of the more inexpensive ones to try out. 


best noise-cancelling earbuds

THR has previously recommended these Bose QuietComfort II earbuds as some of the best ones for everyday use. They’re also some of the best noise-canceling earbuds for traveling because they’re comfortable to wear and have a long battery life. Several reviews on Amazon also note that the noise-canceling feature does an impressive job of blocking out airplane noise. If you’re the type that needs even more silence, consider Bose’s QuietComfort Ultra earbuds that customizes and adapts noise cancellation for your ears.

best headphones

If you find over-ear headphones more comfortable, consider Bose’s QuietComfort Ultra noise-cancelling headphones. They offer up to 24 hours of battery life, spatial audio and personalized sound tuned specifically for your ears. Reviewers also affirm that the noise-canceling capabilities on these headphones are top-tier, with several glowing reviews specifically mentioning how well they block the noise of jet engines. 

Most comfortable earplugs

If you want to block out the hum of the plane or the passenger next to you chewing pretzels, but you don’t want to shell out for expensive noise-canceling headphones, consider these earplugs by Loop. We like the three-in-one design that lets you choose your level of noise reduction by 11 to 16 decibels. Whether you want to keep a quiet bubble while traveling or studying, soak up live music while protecting your ears or simply turn down the volume in social settings, there’s a comfortable mode for everyone.


best memory foam neck pillow

When a product has nearly 20,000 five-star ratings on Amazon and a price tag this low, it’s worth considering. The unique contours of this memory foam pillow are designed to support your neck while you sleep. One reviewer shared that this is a must-have for flying. “I’m still amazed at how comfortable it is and how well it keeps my head in position so I can sleep,” they wrote. The set also comes with an eye mask, earplugs, and a carrying case for all of it.

best pants for travel

Comfy clothing is also essential for getting good sleep (no distracting waistbands here!) Quince’s super-soft Flowknit wide leg pants are made of moisture-wicking recycled polyester and spandex and feature a drawstring band. (The direct-to-consumer brand’s four-way-stretch Flowkit pieces are also available in men’s styles and sizes.)

Related: The Best Women’s Pants for Traveling


best travel blanket

This blanket and pillow combo should make it easier to catch some sleep on your next flight. It’s lightweight and made with a soft fleece fabric that’s sure to keep you cozy. Use it within the soft case as a pillow, or unfurl it to use as a blanket. One especially handy feature is the luggage sleeve, which attaches it to the handle of your carry-on when it’s in the pillowcase. Plus, if you get to your destination and find an undesirable pillow or blanket situation, you’re already prepared with this set. 

If you need some extra help getting to snoozeland, you might want to mix melatonin — a hormone produced by the brain to regulate circadian rhythm — into your approach. We’re fans of Olly’s blackberry-flavored Sleep gummies, which boast nearly 31,000 five-star ratings. They contain three milligrams of melatonin, plus L-theanine, chamomile and other natural sleep aids. (For those who need a bit more, Olly offers the 5mg Extra Strength and 10mg Ultra Strength options.)

We’d recommend only using these on long flights since the effects can last several hours. Talk to your doctor before taking melatonin, as it isn’t recommended for people with health concerns including pregnancy, auto-immune conditions, seizure disorders and other conditions. If you’re cleared, you should give these a test drive at home before popping one pre-flight, since some people experience nightmares while taking melatonin.

Best compression socks

While compression socks aren’t necessarily a sleep product, they can make you more comfortable, which might help you catch some sleep on your flight. In addition to reducing uncomfortable swelling around your feet and legs, Comrad’s comfy knee-high compression socks can also reduce the likelihood of a blood clot. They’re also great for post-workout recovery and the contoured design and stretch make them easy to put on and take off. (Brie Larson and Karlie Kloss have reportedly worn the brand.)

See Also

Best foot sling for travel

Basic Concepts’ memory foam foot hammock can make your legs and feet more comfortable when you’re on a long flight. The straps attach around your tray table and allow your feet to rest in the sling, which can help reduce stiffness upon landing. Reviews suggest that this is more useful for short people than tall ones, and it may not work on every plane — but we’d still say it’s worth a shot if you often find yourself suffering from lower back pain on flights.


Best inflatable travel pillow

Sunany’s inflatable neck pillow might earn you a sideways glance from the passenger next to you, but you should try this out anyway — especially if you’re a person who leans over the tray table to sleep. This unique design supports your neck at different angles while you lean forward, plus it has holes for your arms to go through.


There’s very little humidity in the air inside a plane cabin, meaning you might wake up from your peaceful sleep with your skin feeling dry and dull. Luckily, there’s a solution. Spritz a little bit of Mario Badescu’s cult-favorite facial spray on your visage before you doze off and wake up with skin that still feels nice and dewy.


Even if you don’t manage to sleep on the plane, Shiseido’s Benefiance WrinkleResist24 smoothing eye masks will help you fake being well-rested when you arrive. One reviewer on Sephora shares, “I take these with me on every long flight! Not only do they make you look awake and refreshed, but the benefits last for a day or two until your jet-lag goes! Worth every penny.”


Best sleep tea

Skip the glass of wine, since alcohol can actually interfere with your sleep. Instead, ask a flight attendant for some hot water so you can sip on Traditional Medicinals Organic Nighty Night tea while you settle in. It’s made with an herbal blend to help you relax, and tons of reviewers on Amazon say this helps them sleep, even when they’re traveling.

Best gel travel pillow

If you prefer to recreate your bed on the plane, try Honeydew’s ergonomic travel pillow that features a curved shape that supports your neck and shoulders. It’s made with a copper-infused gel fill that stays cool all night, and all of the materials are Oeko-Tex Standard 100-certified.

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