The best intentions are often foiled by reality, and one of the best intentions many business travelers have is grabbing some sleep on the plane. The reality of cramped seats, chatty passengers and being fully clothed and uncomfortably upright can certainly work against you, but sleep is a possibility with a few tricks from Gizmodo

Choose Sleep-Friendly Flight Options 

Whether you’re heading to Boston, Barbados or somewhere in between, opt for a non-stop flight. You’ll have a better chance of getting at least an inkling of a nap if you don’t have to get off one plane and on another one at any time during your trip. 

Evening flights are more welcoming to sleep than those in the bustle of the afternoon since your body is already winding down for the day. Unpopular flight times likewise increase your chances of nabbing a less cramped seat – or even that rare find of an actual empty seat or two right next to you. 

If you can’t splurge for a first-class, roomy seat on long-haul flights, at least try to snag a window seat in an emergency exit row. You’ll get extra leg room and avoid the hassle of anyone trying to move past you during the flight. 

The closer you are to the front of the plane, the quieter it will generally be. Anything within five rows of a bathroom or galley is typically a foot traffic nightmare. 

Break out the Sweats 

Flying is not a fashion show, or at least it shouldn’t be if you intend to be comfortable on a super-long flight. Once your 15-hour flight hits cruising altitude, head to the bathroom to change into the comfy sweats and the plush socks you packed in your carry-on. Brush your teeth, wash your face and head back to your seat ready for bed. 

If you bring or request a blanket to use for your slumber, make sure to fasten your seatbelt over the blanket so it remains visible for flight attendants. An extra blanked rolled up for lumber support can add another layer of comfort. 

Bring the Right Tools 

Must-have sleeping gear on airplanes consists of: 

  • A sleep mask to block out the light
  • Noise-canceling ear plugs or headphones to block out the noise
  • A sleep pillow to stop your head from flopping forward and then jerking you awake 

You can use a pulled-down baseball cap in lieu of a sleep mask, and the donut-shaped sleep pillows can be placed backwards around your neck to stop your chin from falling forward. If sleep still tends to elude you, there are a number of all-natural, over-the-counter and even prescription sleep aids on the market you can purchase in advance and bring along for the ride. 

The final tip is to set a silent alarm about 45 minutes before your flight lands. This gives you time to wake up, spruce up, change out of your sweats and greet your destination with a well-rested smile. And, of course, if you just can't sleep, you can finish your Chrome River expense report before you land.

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