What’s the worst part about travel?

Stepping onto a plane for 10+ and trying to get some sleep before an action-packed vacation.

If you’re not prepared, you’ll arrive with a bad case of jetlag, bloodshot eyes, sleep deprivation, and stiffness all over your body from trying to get comfortable.

Luckily, all hope is not lost.

I’ve got a few tips and tricks to help you sleep better when you travel (even if you’re flying Economy).

How Does Travel Negatively Impact Your Sleep and Health?

As much as I love hopping onto a plane and exploring new destinations, it’s not always glamorous.

You’re disrupting your normal routine and sleep environment when you’re 10,000 feet in the air on a red-eye flight.

Let’s face it.

Unless you’re flying Business or First Class, you’re not getting a goodnight’s rest. In Economy, pins and needles, stiff joints, sore necks, and snoring neighbors all do the most to keep you awake and exhausted.

What happens when you don’t get a quality night of shut-eye?

Then there’s jet lag.

We’ve all been there.

It’s 4 am. Your mind is wide awake. It has a lot to say about your to-do list, whether you remembered to unplug your curling iron and what to order from room service.

Jet lag throws off your body’s natural circadian rhythm, resulting in feelings of tiredness and exhaustion. 

Luckily, these symptoms disappear after one or two days, depending on how many time zones you fly across.

How to Sleep Better When You Travel 

There’s no internal switch you can flip or supplement you can take to recover from the impact travel has on your sleep.

However, there are strategies to help your body prepare and kick jetlag to curb faster.

Create a Travel Sleep Kit

What’s in a travel sleep kit?

If you’re feeling extra bougie, throw in a bottle of lavender essential oil to help your mind and body relax.

I know what you’re thinking.

The airlines provide these kits on long-haul flights, but some items may be missing, or they’re not of great quality.

If you’re a frequent traveler, invest in your travel sleep kit. It’s the ultimate form of self-care to make sure you’re set up for a comfy(er) long-haul flight, even if you’re stuck in Economy Class with cramped legroom.

Take Melatonin to Help Ease The Effects of Jet Lag

Melatonin is a hormone naturally produced by the body and helps regulate our sleep-wake cycles. 

Adding the supplement to your long-haul packing list can help counteract the effects of jet lag and adjust to new time zones quickly.

How so?

Melatonin helps you fall asleep more easily, especially if you have trouble in new environments. It relaxes your body and mind and can make you feel refreshed when you wake up.

Choose Your Seat Carefully

You don’t need to splurge on a first-class ticket to get a good night’s rest on the plane.

Using an app like SeatGuru, you can strategically plan where you sit to maximize your comfort.

Using the seat key, you can avoid bad seats close to the bathroom or with minimal recline. There are also traveler reviews for specific seats to give you an idea of what to expect.

For example, some planes have a seat that sticks out in the aisle more than others. If you pick it, you’ll have to keep moving your feet for the flight crew, which will disturb your sleep.

What are the best options?

Look for seats with extra legroom (paying a little bit extra is sometimes worth it!), and think about swapping the aisle for a window seat. You’ll have something to lean your head against, and you won’t get interrupted by other passengers getting up to use the bathroom.

Watch What You Put Into Your Body

On long-haul flights, it’s tempting to knock back a couple of glasses of wine before the lights go out.

But it’s not good for your sleep and health.


Alcohol has a sedative effect, making it difficult to sleep during the flight, and it can increase feelings of dehydration and fatigue. Plus, your glass of wine can worsen jet lag by disrupting your body’s natural circadian rhythms.

The same goes for coffee.

Drinking coffee on a flight can be tempting but detrimental to your sleep. Caffeine can increase alertness and energy, making it difficult to fall asleep, especially if the flight is already delayed or uncomfortable. 

Even if you have a cup of Joe before you land, the time difference between your origin and destination can exacerbate the effects of caffeine, making it even harder to fall asleep at your hotel.

Wrapping It Up

Sleep and long-haul flights aren’t the best of friends, but if you follow the above tips, you can rest better and nip some of the effects of jet lag in the bud.

Do you have any tips for sleeping better when you travel? Let me know in the comments below!