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Getting Some Sleep on an Airplane: The Ultimate Carry-On Packing Guide

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Believe it or not, it’s possible to get some rest on an airplane. Yep, you heard us right. Even in a loud, bright, crowded setting, it’s possible. The key? Stocking your carry-on with all the right things. If you’re not sure where to start, see our essentials below:

Blanket, neck pillow and eye mask

The goal here is to create a “bedtime” environment. Instead of relying on what the airline provides (which may be absolutely nothing at all), pack your own bedtime necessities. Things such as a lightweight blanket (something like a Turkish towel packs well and gets the job done), a comfortable neck pillow and an eye mask can turn inconsistent temperature and economy seats into the bed that dreams are made of.

Earplugs or headphones

Some people prefer complete silence when they are falling asleep (earplugs) while others prefer white noise (headphones). Whichever your preference, pack accordingly and don’t feel bad popping either in as soon as you get on the plane.

Products that mimic your nighttime routine

Do you put a specific eye cream on each night? Use a pillow spray that you can’t sleep without? Whatever the case may be, pack it! The closer you can get to mimicking your bedtime routine, the better. Local drugstores often sell empty travel-size bottles that you can fill with products so they can go through security. Just be careful packing any products with a strong scent – you don’t want to irritate your neighbors!

Sleep aids

Especially on a plane, there’s nothing wrong with a little extra help when it comes to actually falling asleep. Natural remedies like Sleepytime or Bedtime herbal tea may do the trick however, some over the counter medications can be used as well. Melatonin, Unisom or Tylenol PM can all be found at your local drugstore and will send a signal to your brain that it’s time to sleep. Of course, consult with your doctor before experimenting with any of these medications and be sure to follow the dosing instructions carefully.

Bonus tip: dress right

Though it’s not necessarily in your carry-on, what you wear on the plane plays a vital role in your rest and relaxation on your flight. Choose loose and stretchy bottoms and layered tops so you can remove or add as needed. Consider wearing blue-light-blocking glasses that can help you avoid light from phones, laptops and other screens that can dramatically impact sleep.

Getting a restful sleep on a flight is as simple as packing for success. Do you have any tips to share? Leave them in the comments section below!


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