13 Tips for Sleeping in Airports

From napping on a plane to sleeping in airports and dealing with jet lag, these are some great tips for ensuring quality sleep during business travel.

As a business traveler, you are constantly on the go and often running on little to no sleep. Waking up early to catch flights and adjusting to different time zones can take a toll on your sleep schedule. A lack of sleep can affect your performance in the work place and your overall attitude during the day. The following sleep “hacks” will ensure that you catch up on your Zs whether it’s at the airport, on the plane or when you finally reach your destination.

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Whether you’re stuck overnight due to storms, delays or plane repairs, or just have a long layover, these three tips will help you successfully (and safely!) sleep in an airport.

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Many airports have specific sleep rooms that are designated specifically for naps or relaxation. You may be surprised how many airports actually offer sleeping accommodations such as MinuteSuites and NapPods.   A lot of these airports have amazing accommodations including massage chairs, relaxation “zones” and even  a “Spa on Air” service where you can take a warm shower after your nap. If you are globetrotting, be sure to check out the top 50 airports to sleep in around the world.

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Your safety when sleeping in public is always important. You’re always safer in groups and having other travelers near you when you nap also helps to ensure that your luggage is also left alone. It also might be a good idea to ask the person sitting closest to you if they could keep an eye on your bags while you take a quick nap.

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Deborah Zanke, from TagAlongTravel.com, is an advocate of writing signs for others to wake you up if you have no way of setting an alarm. She remembers a time where writing a note would have been a good idea for her husband, Steve. According to Deborah, “He fell asleep waiting for his flight at the gate lounge. He woke up to find the lounge empty and the flight departed. He was actually quite upset with the gate staff who should have checked to see if he was waiting for the flight that was boarding. I think he had to catch a flight the next day because of it!”

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Hooray! You’ve finally boarded your plane and are on your way to your destination. These following seven tips will ensure that you get the best sleep possible on your flight. These tips are especially helpful if you’re on a red-eye or a long international flight.

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According to a previous post we did about sleeping on planes it might also be beneficial to pick a seat on the side of the plane that you would normally sleep on if you were in your bed. Your sleeping position is also important. Would you prefer to lean your head against the window? Pull out your tray table? Or  you could even sprawl across the entire row (if you happen to be lucky enough to not have any neighbors).

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Another good idea would be to bring a jacket or your own blanket on the flight. I often find that I personally get extremely cold on planes and sometimes the airline will not have enough blankets to go around.

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This is also important for safety. It’s the crew’s job to make sure that your seatbelt is fastened during the duration of the flight so that you and others around you stay safe. It’s extremely tempting to unbuckle your seatbelt as the large hunk of metal tends to get in the way of comfortable sleeping, but to avoid being woken up, just keep it fastened!

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Drinking water on flights is essential. Dehydration can cause unnecessary stress to your body. Add that to lack of sleep and jetlag and you’re sure to feel it. To avoid having to wait for the drink cart to come around, just buy a bottle of water after going through security in the terminal and bring it on the plane with you.

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Adding the light from your screens can worsen your sleep quality and even give you headaches. Turn off the iPad and put your phone on airplane mode and get some shuteye. Trust me your body will thank you later! And don’t worry, those emails will still be there when you land.

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Neck pillows are essential in any seat, but especially if you find yourself on a middle or aisle chair. Neck pillows are great for comfortable sleep and help to avoid a stiff neck and back that can occur if you sleep sitting up without one.
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One of our previous posts discusses at length why sleep masks are essential. These masks are great for letting your body sleep in total darkness on your flight, at the airport and even once you get to your hotel room. Sleeping in total darkness is much better for your health as it improves overall quality of sleep and as a frequent migraine sufferer, I cannot tell you how many times one of these sleep masks have saved my life on a long (and bright) flight during the day. See our five picks for travel sleep masks.

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Okay the hard part is over. You’ve braved the airport and the long plane ride and managed to get some nice sleep time in during both. But now you’re jet lagged and all you want to do is take another nap. But you have hours of work to catch up on and a meeting tonight. Here are three tips on how to best adjust to the new time zone and beat that jet lag!

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If you don’t have any immediate work to do, keep yourself awake by going for a run, working out in the hotel gym or even going for a walk around whatever city you’ve landed in to explore interesting landmarks or find a healthy restaurant to eat at later in your trip!

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Many business travelers have experienced the extreme exhaustion caused by a one-night business trip. It may seem weird being awake at 3 AM or going to bed at 6:30 PM but your body will thank you after you’ve returned home and you don’t have to readjust your internal clock after only being away for 36 hours.

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This post that we did about improving your sleep quality in hotel rooms is extremely helpful when it comes to tips like researching the hotel, the specific questions to ask when you check in and establishing your own “hotel room bedtime routine”. One of my favorite tips is to bring your favorite kind of relaxing tea when you are traveling and drink it before going to sleep. I also enjoy doing some relaxing stretches before calling it a night.

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Thanks to www.sleepypeople.com for this infographic!


What are some of your favorite tips for sleeping on the road?


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Thanks for SleepyPeople.com for proving this infographic!

Business Travel Life

Business Travel Life is an online resource supporting the road warrior lifestyle. We give business travelers the tools they need to maintain their wellness and productivity when traveling. The topics we cover include business travel tips, travel workouts, healthy travel hacks, travel products, general travel tips, and industry trends. Our goal is to make business travel a healthier experience – and to make healthy travel practices more accessible to all road warriors.

sleeping in airports, Business Travel Life

  1. Thank you. No screens! I always forget. Instead of checking mails, sometimes some “boring time” is helpfull to get new ideas or fell to sleep.

  2. Great idea shared by you. Though I am a sleep apnea patient, I am always more concern about sleeping. Coming week I am going new york city to meet my son. Well I sleep with the help of a cpap mask for side sleepers. I always need this. Still I was looking for some tips specially for airport, if I need to wait there then it will help me. I am really glad that I have found your article.

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