Well, whether it’s a long-haul flight or a red eye, sleeping on a flight can be a great way to combat boredom and fight jet lag. But, sleeping in an unfamiliar environment can be a challenge for many people and sleeping in a crowded and sometimes noisy environment can be almost impossible. With a little preparation ahead of time you can set yourself up for a refreshing in-flight snooze.

With fluctuating temperatures onboard, often it is a matter of comfort that is preventing you from falling asleep. I recommend you wear loose-fitting, light layers to the airport. Choose pants with a relaxed fit and a comfortable shirt with a zip-up sweatshirt or cardigan sweater.

Wear socks and slip-on shoes, and once you’re in your seat, you can slip off your shoes and either keep your top clothing layer on or remove it, depending on your temperature preference for sleeping.

For me, sleeping when I’m hungry is nearly impossible. So, you should also make sure that you eat just before you get on board. A small meal or snack will satisfy you without making you feel bloated.

Next, pack an inflatable pillow in your carry-on. Choose the type that you can blow up with just a few breaths and has a soft cover. A U-shaped pillow that wraps around your neck is the best choice because it can fully support your head if you have an aisle or middle seat with no wall to lean against. Waking up on your neighbor’s shoulder or getting bumped into by someone walking through the aisle doesn’t make for the best sleep.

Bring a light blanket, pashmina or drape a sweatshirt over your body. Be sure to buckle your seat belt on top of your blanket so the flight attendant won’t have to wake you up to check that it’s fastened.

Put in some earplugs or use noise-canceling headphones. It a great idea to download some soothing songs, sounds or white noise tracks to your iPod. If light bothers you, an eye mask is a great option to black out any light.

And finally, you can try an herbal or homeopathic sleep aide. I really don’t recommend taking any strong sleep aides or prescriptions. Let me tell you, I have heard some horror stories as you never really know how your body will be affected by medications like these.

Instead, focus on breathing deeply and slowly. You should be asleep in no time!

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