Mastering Sleeping While In-flight – Part 1

The downside to having a lot of clients on the East Coast and living in Seattle is that we have a lot of long flights. I find it nearly impossible to sleep on planes, and I am envious of those who are able to sack out during flights.  I end up working or catching up on our favorite shows to pass time, while Jadi happily snoozes in the window seat next to us. When we land, Jadi is ready to go and and I need a serious rest. This issue has intrigued me for a while, and every trip I try a new approach. Though I haven’t found a consistent solution, I am determined to keep trying until I master the in-flight snooze.

There are people who are able to sleep on planes easily, and those who are not. I have read countless articles in preparation for this post, and some tips really stood out. The experts all seem to think that, like anything, sleeping on planes takes practice. You have to find what works for you.  So the good news is, even if you can’t sleep on planes now, you could master it one day. Here are some of the best tips that I have found to help catch some zzzz’s while in the air.


If at all possible, the general consensus is that finding a flight that fits our natural sleep schedule is best so that our body is ready to go to sleep.  Changing time zones is tricky since frequently we have to hit the ground running when we land. If you find that overnight flights are cheaper, and you don’t have to do anything until mid-day, I suggest paying for the hotel for the night you’re flying so that you can check in first thing in the morning. This has worked out extremely well for my husband and me. It usually saves us a little money and, with a nap, we are able to tackle our vacation feeling refreshed and rested. If we had flown in that morning we wouldn’t have landed until about 4:00pm.  We ended up with several more hours of valuable time – and we are well rested!

Location, Location, Location:

Booking in First or Business Class just isn’t a feasible option for a lot of travelers. That being said, there are still optimal locations for sleeping on a plane. Avoid seats near the rest rooms and the rear of the plane. The lavatory doors opening and shutting, the flushing, the people lined up in the isle and bumping into you, all can distract you from sleeping. The rear of the plane also brings the noise from the galley and the conversations from the flight attendants while they are seated.

A new tip that I didn’t think about is to avoid seats near or behind the wings.The engine noise is much louder in those seats. It is unanimous across all articles that if sleep is your main goal, get a window seat. You may have less leg room, but you won’t be woken up by people wanting to get in and out, or by getting bumped by people in the isle, plus you’ll have the wall to lean on. There is a very helpful website called that outlines the best seats for every type flight, airline, and plane type.

Next week….Dress for (sleep) success

Contributed by: Katie Stewart, Consultant Services Coordinator