What You Need to Pack to Sleep on a Plane

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Mar 02, 2018

by BRIDGET DE MAINE, Online Writer

It’s somewhat of a holiday holy grail: getting some deep sleep on a long-haul flight. While the flicker of your neighbour’s movie screen or the confusion of time zone changes may keep you up, sleep is not impossible. Here are a few items to include in your hand luggage to help you nod off in the air. 

A purpose-built eye mask

Although the eye masks provided inflight are a good start to helping you create a sleep-worthy environment, it’s quality not quantity that truly counts when it comes to long-haul slumber. REM sleep, which relates to the “rapid eye movement” that occurs during this sleep stage is crucial to restorative rest. Try taking a contoured mask such as this one that keeps pressure off your peepers for a deeper sleep.

A soothing sound producer

Anyone who’s flown in close proximity to a child knows if they don’t sleep, neither do their travel companions. This unassuming soft toy isn’t just for cuddling – it’s actually a disguised speaker that plays white noise sounds such as “mother’s heartbeat” and “ocean surf” for 23- or 45-minute intervals to encourage little ones to nod off. Who knows – it might even help you catch a kip.

A travel pillow worth its weight

Don’t start your holiday with a sore neck. Proper support is crucial for falling asleep and not feeling crook when waking. Most travel pillows are inflatable for easy packing but sturdier memory foam pillows provide superior support, keeping your head in a more natural position for napping.

Antibacterial refreshing wipes

There’s nothing worse than trying to get comfortable with sticky fingers. Retain a feeling of freshness upon waking or after eating by keeping a pack of refreshing antibacterial wipes on your person.


A scarf that goes the distance

Wearing layers made from natural fibres such as wool and cashmere will help you regulate your body temperature. Cashmere scarves, like this one, are light and easy to pack and with fibres this butter-soft, you’ll be off to dreamland in no time.

A collapsible drink bottle

Dehydration causes headaches and disrupts the body’s natural rhythms. Instead of waiting for your flight attendant to make their way to you with a single glass of water, ask them to top up your bottle and sip away for the duration of your flight.

A facial mist

This mist is a heavenly mixture of travel-perfect tinctures: rose petal helps boost hydration, bergamot peel gives you a mood lift and chamomile helps you relax.

Noise-cancelling headphones

Noise-cancelling headphones are as indispensible as your passport when boarding a flight and for good reason: all manner of distractions can be overcome when a bit of shush descends. With all that dozing, you’ll want a wireless pair such as Bose’s QuietComfort35 wireless headphones II but there are plenty more on the market to consider.

Non-invasive headphones

Tuning into Mozart while flying is all very well but many headphones can be restrictive and make it hard to get comfortable. SleepPhones has created a soft headband that feeds your headphones into soft, concealed speakers that wrap around the head for easy side (read: against-the-window) sleeping.

SEE ALSO: How Beauty Experts Hide Signs of Jet Lag