Unusual Gear to Help You Sleep on a Plane

by  Paul Eisenberg | Apr 2, 2013
Female sleeping on plane
Female sleeping on plane / Anze_Bizjan/iStock

A few weeks ago I got some swell tips from frequent travelers about how to sleep on a plane, but didn't have time to touch on travel accessories engineered to assist with said sleep. Reviewing this vast pantheon of gadgets, gizmos and elixirs would no doubt take more time than most of us have, so here are just a few novel ideas you may not know that much about.

1. White noise earphones: Frequent traveler and audiophile Ken Theriot says he doesn't get on a plane without a pair of white noise-generating earplugs,

noting that “these things block out all noise – babies crying, annoying conversations – and allow me to sleep when I never could before." The ones he uses, Sleep Eze In Ear White Noise Earplugs, “aren't cheap, but they really work, and I couldn't imagine life without them, traveling or not.”

If white noise earphones are too pricey for you, there are of course more budget-friendly headphone options for blocking airplane noise and all-purpose travel.

2. Travel neck pillow…with a pocket! I’m not a huge fan of neck pillows, but if a wrap-around foam pillow with a handy MP3/smartphone pocket appeals to the traveler in you, the Evolution Pillow ($34.99) might be your next best travel companion. The pillow is sturdy enough for you to use it off your neck (as a regular pillow for resting your head), and as a nice plus, the slipcover is machine washable.

Travel Gear for Sleeping on Planes

3. It’s a hoodie. No, it’s a pillow. Well, it’s sort of both: The Travel HoodiePillow ($19.95) is a relatively new product shipping this month that's essentially a hoodie (not the entire sweatshirt, just the hood) with an inflatable neck pillow built into it. I haven't tried this product yet and it’s a style choice I’d have to grow into, but I enjoy reporting on products that look like clever inventions, and this appears to be one.

4. Sleepy juice with anti-aging compounds: BeautySleep is a 2-ounce drink that according to the manufacturer helps you sleep and includes anti-aging ingredients that will yield younger looking skin. Among the ingredients are Melatonin, supplements of which help some people sleep, as well as something called GABA, a calming agent found in your brain that as a supplement may help relieve stress. While I'm not an advocate of ingestible sleep aids, you might want to check it out as a non-prescription alternative to other remedies. Consult with your health-care practitioner before trying this product (and ones like it). Also, cautions the manufacturer, don’t operate heavy machinery after chugging this down.

5. When in doubt, try a little bit of everything. Many travellers fashion “sleep kits” for themselves, but some kits are more novel than others. Wellness company founder Linden Schaffer travels often and professes to sleeping like a baby with a travel sleep kit that “includes a cashmere neck pillow filled with Lavender beads – which helps you relax –  a thin cashmere scarf which unfolds into a blanket, an eye mask, my Buddha Nose I-Booster Salve, which I smear under my nose and on my wrists, and a large bottle of water.”

What do you use to help you sleep on the plane?

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