7 Travel Essentials To Help You Sleep on Long Flights and Red Eyes

Over the years, flying has redefined the way we commute by making travel times a fraction of what they used to be. Nevertheless, when it comes to travelling across the globe, you have to suffer the necessary evil called long flights. Here are some travel essentials to help you sleep on long flights.

Although flights are way better than spending days or weeks on other modes,  they cause specific problems. Probably the biggest issue is the difficulty in falling and staying asleep. But, it’s not an impossible task either. Thanks to the many globetrotters who have slept their way around the world, we always have methods that help us get good sleep on long flights.

Because we now have a world that considers a good night’s sleep as a privilege, we also have sleep experts working on things that improve sleep quality. We opened up our ears and listened to what such experts had to say.

The ultimate result is this list of the seven travel essentials that we rely on for sleeping on a long flight. We have included both physical products and some steps you should take. The idea is to help you get a seamless sleeping experience while spending more than a few hours on a high-altitude flight.

Noise Cancelling Headphones

First up on this list of travel essentials to help you sleep on long flights is a good pair of noise-cancelling headphones. These are well-designed headphones that can block the sound from outside. So, when you try to sleep, the aeroplane sounds won’t bother you. You should also try to pair a good set of music tracks with headphones. Several studies, including this one, have shown that listening to classical music can help you overcome flight anxiety. And, a noise-cancelling headphone can keep you isolated from chatty neighbours and routine announcements.

  • READ MORE: Bose or Apple – Which Noise Cancelling Headphones are Best for Air Travel?

A Sleep Mask

Sleep masks have been helping people fall asleep for longer than we imagine. On aeroplanes, however, they become more of a necessity. As to why you need them, you should understand the association between the sleep cycle and the exposure to light. And, we are not talking about blue light, but light in general. When you are on a flight, the sensitivity increases, and you need a well-optimized environment. As Richard Morse, the chief editor at The Inside Bedroom and a celebrated sleeping coach, says, you should not rely entirely on the light adjustments from the flights. Instead, try to create your own safe space using a comfy sleep mask.

Comfy Travel Pillows

If you are travelling in first class, you can probably forget this part. But, even then, it’s always good to have a comfortable travel pillow to accompany you. We recommend carrying one by yourself as the pillows that your airline provides may not suit your convenience. For instance, if you have gotten used to memory foam pillows, which are proven to improve sleep quality, it may be uncomfortable for you to use a standard pillow from the airline. So, to keep things comfy and healthy at all times, you should have a pillow of your own at all times. Even if it’s a comparatively short flight, you can fall asleep quickly with the help of these pillows.

Good, Sleep-inducing Food

The food you consume before you board or when on the flight can impact how quickly you fall asleep and the total quality of the sleep. Understanding this point, you should consider eating food that can induce sleep. Fortunately, the list of such food items is pretty huge, which means you can pick something that you love. If you didn’t know, almonds, bananas, cherries, and warm milk are some things that can help you sleep more quickly. While some of these are difficult to carry in a flight, you can try some options such as dark chocolate.


If you need a more practical but harmless way to fall asleep on long flights, you should consider carrying an apt sleep-aid with you. Sleep aids are often prescriptions that contain elements to make you fall asleep in a quicker manner. You have two options here. First, you can get a simplified, synthetic sleep-aid from a store. Second, you can go for natural alternatives, which come as tea-bags and drinks. Of course, make sure you don’t mix these sleep-aids with food or beverages that contain caffeine. If you mess this part up, there is no point in getting ready for a long-haul flight. You’re going to end up with red-eye.

The Right Smartphone Apps

On a typical day, a smartphone is something that prevents you from falling asleep. When you’re a few miles up the sky, though, you can use a few smartphone apps to fall asleep. The first app would be a music player that works offline, combined with a few relaxing tracks. The second one is a white noise app, which should also have offline playback support. Both these apps can help you listen to sounds that make you relax and even meditate. Of course, we recommend the second method, not just because research says white noise can improve sleep quality but also in light of our experience.

Comfortable Dress

Last up on this list of things to help you sleep on long flights is all about being comfortable. Afterall, long-haul flight isn’t a place where you have to exhibit your sense of fashion. Instead, prioritize comfort and choose the dress accordingly. This way, even if you end up having a little uncomfortable angle trying to sleep, the dress can help you. Once again, if you’re flying first class, you may have time to change to a more convenient dress. But, as long as you are on the less-expensive side of flights, you have to plan things. The only exception is when you have to rush to another place as soon as you land. Even then, you have to stay healthy while travelling, and you can’t do that without proper sleep.

The Bottom Line

These things to help you sleep on long flights, however small and negligible they may seem, can help you gain good-quality sleep. As you can see, all these essential products help you stay asleep, in addition to bringing the sleep vibes rather quickly. You may not need all of these, either. For instance, some people can disregard the typical discomforts using a good pair of noise-cancelling headphones. But, then again, it must be a perfect pair of headphones.

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