Essential Accessories for Sleeping on Planes

There are many reasons why people struggle to sleep during flights, such as the constant cacophony of mechanical noises, the discomfort of economy-class seats, or general stress brought on by the countless “what if?” scenarios of air travel. Thankfully, there are plenty of solutions, as well. These accessories will help you get the rest you need to deboard feeling refreshed and well-rested.

Comfy Commuter Neck Pillow
This aptly named pillow provides plenty of cushion without being too bulky. Two styles are available: the Comfy Basics pillow is washable, ultralight, and comes equipped with Velcro straps to keep it from sliding around too much; the Original retains all of the same attributes, as well as a compartment for storing small items (ear buds and an iPod, for instance) and a matching bag.

Nap™ Gel Eyemask from Brookstone
In addition to shielding your eyes from light, this mask is designed to soothe your tired peepers and provide maximum comfort. The mask is reversible; one side uses NapSoft® material for warmth, while the other side features a layer of satin for coolness. Plus, the gel pack inside the mask can be frozen or filled with heated water, depending on the wearer’s desired temperature.

Comfortable Shoes
When in doubt about proper plane footwear, ask a flight attendant. Veteran Bobby Laurie tells The New York Times that the key to comfortable feet during air travel is comfort without appearing too casual. His recommendations for the fellas include the Men’s Work: Exalt ― Closer loafers from Skechers and Five-Star Ashford Lace-Ups from Timberland PRO. Veteran flight attendant Sara Keagle says Sam & Libby ballet flats are a good choice for in-flight women’s shoes, while Dansko clogs are a solid unisex pick (they’re also popular with nurses and chefs).

Noise-Cancelling Headphones
Not the cheapest air travel accessory, but certainly an effective way to reduce background noise and get some rest. According to PC Mag, the AKG K 490 NC ($249.99) is the best set of noise-cancelling headphones on the market. Other worthy models include the Bose QuietComfort 15 ($269.95), Able Planet Clear Harmony NC1050 ($349.99), Bose QuietComfort 3 ($349.95), and Parrot Zik ($399.95).

Sleep Aids
If all else fails, a little medication can’t hurt ― provided you don’t take anything against doctor’s orders. Heavy-hitters like Ambien and Lunesta will surely get the job done, but these sedatives also stand a good chance of making you feel woozy and discombobulated when you wake up. Instead, try something a little less intense. Natural supplements like melatonin have proven very effective. Additionally, Dr. Timothy Hosea, team physician and Chair of the Sports Medicine and Research Committee for the United States national rowing teams, tells Today that Tylenol PM or Benadryl will make you tired without any unpleasant side effects.

Do you have any tricks for sleeping on flights that we didn’t mention?

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