How to get a good night’s sleep during a long-haul economy flight

Some people can just switch off and sleep from take-off to touchdown, but for some of us, the art of sleeping on a plane does not come easy, especially when you’re squashed in not-so-luxury economy.

Luckily, we’ve got the tips and tricks you need to ensure you can pass the time with a good night’s sleep and wake up refreshed  as you arrive at your destination.

Make full use of the free amenities Credit: Thinkstock/kasto80

Before you fly

Eat the right food

Your holiday may start as soon as you leave work, but in order to get a good nap on your long-haul flight, you’ll want to eat three balanced meals, including plenty of fruit, veg and protein – resist the temptation to consume carb-heavy snacks and any fast-food. Your pre-flight diet can make all the difference, because it plays an important part in setting your body clock – it can be the difference between a great night’s sleep and a disrupted few hours of tossing and turning.


You need to get in the right frame of mind. You may be excited to be escaping the daily grind, but keeping it chilled will help you hit the hay when you finally board.

Since airports can be a high-stress environment, consider booking an airport lounge where you can escape the hustle and bustle of the terminal building.

During your flight

What time is it in your destination?

Make sure you know what time it is in your destination. Knowing the time will mean you can eat according to the time in your upcoming destination, helping to adjust your body clock and help tackle jet lag.

Choose the right clothes

Opt for comfy clothes for any long-haul flight. It will aid sleep and help you relax and find it easier to get into a decent sleeping position.

Try and follow your usual sleep routine

Whether your usual pre-sleep ritual is reading a book or listening to music, follow the same routine to help send sleep signals to the brain.

If you’re given an amenity kit, use it

Most long-haul flights, especially overnight ones, will provide an amenity kit – usually including a pillow, blanket, eye mask and ear plugs. Take full advantage and use all of the items to help aid your sleep.

Stay hydrated

As tempting as it may be, avoid the booze. Alcohol can disturb your sleep and make you thirsty. The best thing to do is consume plenty of water to stay hydrated and mobilise your energy reserves.

Tech down

If you’re looking to get some shut eye, you’ll want to turn off your tech. Whether it’s your phone, tablet or laptop, the light from the devices will keep your brain awake and make your struggle to sleep all the more real.


Hopefully, you’ve managed to get more than a few hours’ sleep through the duration of your flight, but you’ll want to make sure you wake up about 30 minutes before you land.

Once on the ground, help reset your body clock by drinking plenty of water and spending as much time outside in daylight as possible.


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