Trying to Sleep on Your Flight? You Need These

Sleeping on a plane. Some people have no problems with it. Others really struggle. If you’re one of those who struggle to get rest on a plane, or even if you just want to get better sleep on your next flight, you need to take a look at this list of the best products for sleeping on a plane

You don’t need all of these products. I have had success with combining several of these travel sleep accessories to help me arrive at my destination more well-rested than I would have been without them. 

Passengers sitting on their seats in airplane cabin

You can significantly improve your comfort and chances of getting some good rest on your next flight with these products. 

And at the end of this post, you’ll find my best tips (sort of my routine) for falling asleep on an overnight flight. 

This post includes affiliate links. If you make a purchase through one of these links, I may earn a small commission at no additional cost to you. As an Amazon Associate, I earn from qualifying purchases. See disclaimer.

Melatonin: my must-have product for sleeping on a plane  

My preferred nonprescription (in the United States) sleep aid for air travel is melatonin.

I never travel without melatonin supplements, because I prefer more natural sleep aids. But I only use this to help me sleep on a plane when I have enough time on my flight to sleep for at least a few hours.

Any less than 3 – 4 hours of sleep on melatonin tends to make me feel groggy after I wake up. Everyone is different though, so you might want to try melatonin out at home to see what dosage works best for you or if you have any side effects like excessive grogginess the next day.

Related Post → How to Survive Long Flights in Economy

If you can get melatonin without a prescription and it works for you, I highly recommend you give it a try on your next long flight.  It costs literally just a few pennies per dose, and it’s the one thing that makes it more likely I can sleep on my long flight. 

Hubby and I both use the same brand of Melatonin, but I prefer these 5mg fast-dissolve tablets. You don’t need water to take them, and I find that the fast-dissolve version gets to work faster than the regular tablets. 

5mg is just perfect for me. Hubby prefers a lower dose. Please note that the fast-dissolve tablets are NOT gluten-free. But they are vegetarian.  

The thing I really like about melatonin is that it is drug-free so I don’t feel groggy when I wake up.  And it helps me keep to a somewhat normal sleep schedule when I’m traveling. 

5mg fast dissolve melatonin tablets
51,023 Reviews
Natrol Melatonin 5mg, Strawberry-Flavored Fast-Dissolve Tablets
  • Sleep Supplements: One 150 count bottle of Natrol Melatonin 5mg Strawberry-Flavored, Fast-Dissolve Tablets for a 150-day supply
  • Ingredients: These sleep aid supplements are vegetarian and non-GMO
  • Natrol Sleep Melatonin: Made with 99% pure Melatonin, this adult Melatonin nighttime sleep aid supplement provides 5mg of Melatonin to help establish normal sleep patterns; Melatonin helps you get better sleep so you wake up refreshed(1)

Hubby can’t take the fast dissolve melatonin since it isn’t gluten-free so these are the tablets he uses. He also prefers to take only 2 mg, so he’ll take two of these 1 mg tablets to help with sleep. 

Natrol Melatonin Time Release Tablets, 1mg
  • Melatonin Supplements for Sleeping: One (1) 90 count bottle of Natrol 1 mg Time Release Melatonin Tablets for a 90-day…
  • Sleep Aid Supplements for Adults: This melatonin 1 mg nighttime sleep aid supplement provides time release melatonin to…
  • Sleep Aid Dietary Supplements: 100% drug free melatonin supplements made with no milk, egg, fish, crustacean shellfish,…

Plus the next item on the list… 

Mack’s Earplugs 

Mack’s Pillow Soft Silicone Earplugs are virtually the only thing that makes it possible for hubby to sleep on long overnight flights to Europe. 

The soft silicone helps him mold these to fit perfectly and block out distracting noises on the plane while he’s trying to sleep.

They’re also popular with travelers who have trouble sleeping in hotels. They can block out ambient noise, street noise, and loud hotel neighbors. Mack’s silicone earplugs are non-toxic and non-allergenic.

Mack’s Pillow Soft Silicone Earplugs
  • THE ORIGINAL AND #1 SELLING – USA’s original and #1 selling moldable silicone ear plugs. Provides safe, non-toxic,…
  • THE ULTIMATE IN EARPLUG COMFORT – Mack’s soft moldable silicone putty molds very comfortably to the unique contours of…
  • #1 BRAND FOR SNORING – Mack’s is the #1 Doctor Recommended Brand to get a good night’s sleep when sleeping with a…

If you prefer foam earplugs, you might like these instead. These earplugs also have a higher Noise Reduction Rating (33db) than the moldable silicone earplugs (see above). 

Mack’s Ultra Soft Foam Earplugs
  • ULTRA COMFORTABLE – Made with super low-pressure, slow release, Comfy Cush Comfort Foam. Their user preferred color is as easy on your eyes as they are on your ears
  • ULTRA NOISE BLOCKERS – With a Noise Reduction Rating (NRR) of 33 decibels, these versatile, noise blocking earplugs are great for sleeping, studying, work, travel, concerts, relaxation, motorcycling, loud events, etc
  • #1 BRAND FOR SNORING, SLEEPING AND TO PROTECT HEARING – Mack’s is the #1 doctor recommended brand of foam earplugs to protect hearing and to get a good night’s sleep when sleeping with a snoring spouse

Noise-canceling headphones 

If earplugs aren’t for you, might think about trying a pair of noise-cancelling headphones to help you fall asleep on your flight.  

These Anker Soundcore Life headphones reduce ambient noise by up to 95%. They’re also a #1 best seller on Amazon and a good value for the money. 

You’ll get an estimated 40 hours of playtime on a single charge. But if you need to charge up fast you can get 4 hours of play time on a 5-minute charge.  They also feature memory foam cushioning around the ears.  

Soundcore by Anker Life Q30 Hybrid Active Noise Cancelling Headphones with Multiple Modes
  • Hi-Res Certified Music -Hear every detail of your favorite songs thanks to Life Q30’s 40mm drivers. The highly-flexible…
  • Advanced Noise Cancellation Technology – Maintain your focus with Life Q30’s hybrid active noise cancellation. Dual…
  • Ultimate Noise Cancellation Experience -Customize Life Q30’s noise cancellation with 3 modes—Transport minimizes airplane…

If you want to invest in a pair of high-quality headphones, I will always recommend Sony headphones over Bose.  

The features of these headphones include a built-in microphone so you can take calls, voice access to music through Alexa, and “quick attention mode” so you can instantly adjust your music to have a conversation.  

Sony WH-1000XM4 Wireless Premium Noise Canceling Overhead Headphones
  • ACTIVE NOISE CANCELLATION: Premium noise canceling with Dual Noise Sensor technology
  • LONG BATTERY LIFE: Up to 30-hour battery life with quick charging (10 min charge for 5 hours of playback)
  • TOUCH SENSOR CONTROLS: Pause play skip tracks, control volume, activate your voice assistant, and answer phone calls.


Since I prefer to travel carry-on only I’m always interested in cutting down on bulk when packing. So, I prefer to pack my carry-on with earbuds than over-ear headphones. 

When I’m ready to sleep I turn on my free white noise app (keep reading to see my recommendation!) to block out background noise, pop in my earbuds, put on my sleep mask (see below), and off I go.  I think these earbuds are a great value for the money. 

PHILIPS Pro Wired Earbuds with Microphone
  • Headphones with mic. In-ear headphones with in-line microphone and controls with 3 5mm connection. The best earbud & in-ear headphones and headphones with microphone.
  • High-resolution Audio capable earbuds with mic for reproducing music in its purest form. The best earphones wired.
  • These wired earbuds are High-powered 8 6mm neodymium drivers for exceptional sound

Sleep mask 

A good quality sleep mask (eye mask) is a must for me on a long-haul or red-eye flight. I’m one of those people who needs dark to sleep well.

And you never know when you’re going to find yourself seated next to someone who wants to stay up all night and keep their personal light on. Those things are annoyingly bright when I’m trying to sleep. 

This mask is adjustable so you can get it to the pressure that’s perfect for you and completely block out light. And there’s plenty of room for your eyelashes so you can blink freely and won’t destroy your eye makeup.  

It’s hand-washable and comes in a ton of fun colors and patterns to match your personality.  

Bucky 40 Blinks No Pressure Eye Mask
  • ULTRA LIGHT WEIGHT: Our contoured eye mask is 3.5″ tall by 9.5″ wide, perfect for men, women and children
  • EASY CARE: Made of 100% polyester interlock & 100% polyurethane foam, Hand wash cold with mild soap, Hang to dry
  • REST IN COMFORT: Ultra lightweight latex-free molded foam is contoured for pressure free eye comfort that allows you to blink freely, won’t smudge makeup, false lashes, or put unwanted pressure on your head

Inflatable Travel Pillow 

If it helps you sleep on airplanes, pick up a good-quality travel pillow.

Getting some sleep on your long haul or red-eye flight can make a world of difference in beating jet lag. And a travel neck pillow can really help with that.  

The AirComfy Ease Inflatable Travel Pillow is more than just a pillow for your neck.

You can also use it for upper back and lumbar support. And since it’s inflatable you can control the firmness.  

It weighs only a few ounces and (deflated) packs into a small bag that you can clip onto the outside of your carry-on if you wish.   

AirComfy Daydreamer Inflatable Neck Travel Pillow
  • EASY TO INFLATE: No-blow inflation allows you to inflate your airplane neck pillow in 30-60 seconds by repeatedly…
  • EASY TO CLEAN: Keep your travel pillow clean by tossing the micro-velvet pillowcase in the washing machine for a quick…
  • PREVENTS NECK KINKS: This ergonomic neck support pillow has raised support to prevent your head from tilting. It also…

Trtl Travel Pillow 

If you’re looking for more neck support and chin support than a traditional u-shaped neck pillow or inflatable travel pillow, you might like the popular Trtl Travel Pillow

The Trtl Travel Pillow is a neck support pillow that will help you get some shut-eye right there in your airplane seat…even if you can’t manage to snag a window seat.

The idea behind this travel pillow is that it provides the necessary support to keep your head in an ergonomic position the entire time that you’re sleeping. 

The Trtl Travel Pillow weighs only about half a pound and is machine washable.

It might take some trial and error to find the best neck pillow for you, but it’s worth trying out a few to discover which is the right pillow to help you get sleep on long-haul flights.

trtl Travel Pillow
  • Scientifically Proven Neck Pillows For Travel: Thanks to our unique, patented design, you can easily adjust your Trtl…
  • Enjoy a Real Sleeping Experience on Long Flights: Add our neck pillow to your long flight essentials’ list to…
  • Lightweight and Compact Design: Weighing in at only 4.5oz, The Trtl Travel Pillow’s lightweight design allows you to…

Microfleece Travel Blanket 

This cozy fleece blanket is designed specifically for travel, but you can use it anywhere. It’s lightweight, machine washable, and small enough to roll up and stow in your carry-on bag. 

Microfleece Travel Blanket
  • PREMIUM COMFORT WITH DOUBLE HEMMED EDGES – The lightweight double hemmed edges of our cozy-soft microfleece blanket…
  • VERSATILE- Perfect for at home, the office, in the car, or on a plane. It is compact which allows it to contour and…
  • GIFTABLE- Available in multiple colors, this ultra-soft blanket makes a perfect present and comes in a festive…

Compression socks 

If you suffer from swollen feet and legs when you travel for long periods, you might benefit from compression socks. 

Compression socks help with circulation that can slow down when seated in a confined space for a long time…like sitting in economy on a transatlantic flight perhaps. 

They can make you more comfortable. And I always sleep better on a flight when I’m more comfortable. 

Copper Compression Socks
  • UPGRADE YOUR COMPRESSION SOCKS DRAWER! – With all the tasks of work and family (and of life itself!) we may forget to pay…
  • POWER OF COPPER – Copper is an essential element vital for the normal functions.It have extraordinary power.Our copper…
  • UPGRADE MATERIAL-We carefully designed and manufactured our compression socks to provide premium support,moisture wicking…

Free white noise app 

I use a free Fan Sounds app to help me sleep when I’m traveling. 

I don’t just use this app on the plane either.

It’s also perfect to help you sleep in your accommodations to cover up ambient or street noise. Or noisy hotel neighbors.

Inflatable footrest

Those with shorter legs or traveling with small children may benefit from using an inflatable footrest to help them get some decent sleep on their flight.

You can find adjustable-height footrests or leg pillows on Amazon.

Do not use this on your flight if it blocks row access, becomes a tripping hazard, or your airline doesn’t allow footrests for passengers. Make sure you check this out first.

Be considerate of your fellow passengers and follow all instructions from flight attendants.

If bringing a purchased footrest on your flight isn’t an option for you, consider resting your feet on your personal carry-on bag that’s stowed under the seat in front of you.

Final thoughts on products for sleeping on planes 

Everyone is a little different in what they need to help them get a good night’s sleep on a flight. Here’s what helps me:

  • Wear comfortable clothing on your flight. Comfortable clothes will go a long way to helping you feel relaxed.
  • Avoid caffeine and sugar as much as possible on travel days 
  • Stay hydrated 
  • Eat well. I can’t sleep if I’m starving. 
  • I take one 5mg quick dissolve melatonin tablet approximately 20 – 30 minutes before the time I want to “go to bed” for the night. 
  • If possible I try to minimize screen time once I’ve taken my melatonin. 
  • Set my White Noise Generator app to the mix and volume that I want. 
  • Plug in my earbuds 
  • Put on a sleep mask 

With my sleep mask on and my white noise playing through my earbuds, I’m virtually completely blocking out all extraneous noise and light that could keep me up. 

I don’t play the white noise so loud that I can’t hear an announcement from the captain in the event of an emergency. 

TIP: Keep track of your packing list with this editable travel packing list spreadsheet.

Prefer pencil and paper? Grab the printable blank packing lists.

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