Sleeping on a plain is a great way to kill time. Also its helpful to jetlag if your flight lands in the morning so you can be (semi) refreshed, have a full day, and go to sleep at a normal hours for that time zone.
- Ear Buds or Ear Plugs
The hardest thing about trying to get some shut eye is the mechanical noise. It may not be that noticeable when you're not paying attention to it but it does disrupt your sleep.
I discovered how to deal with this on one flight when I kept falling asleep while watching movies and waking up as soon as they ended. I realized the movies were drowning out the sound noise from the turbine engine.
Good ear plugs may work for this and if that's your thing go for it. I like to use ear buds and listen to a rain and thunder because I love falling asleep when its stormy outside. Other options are ambit noises, white noise, guided meditation, and so on.
Before a flight I just find something I like and download it to my phone. It works wonders for me!
- Buckle above your blanket
To avoid airline attendants waking you up to let you know it's time to buckle up, buckle your seat belt before you go to sleep.
Make sure it is buckled above your blanket so they see it and don't wake you.
- Wear comfortable clothing
Loose or stretchy clothing are ideal because while on a flight your body tends to swell so anything confining can become uncomfortable. This in tern can make it hard to get some shut eye.
- Be Comfortable
This means different things to different people. To me on a plane it mostly means not being cold, being dressed comfortably, and having a pillow.
While most airlines provide you with both a blanket and pillow, if they are not still wrapped in plastic there is a good chance they've already been used by other passengers.
I like to bring my own travel set which comes with a pillow, blanket, eye mask, ear plugs, and a carrying case.
By the way, pillows and blankets are not considered personal items. (For peace of mind I still like to call the airline and double check. I'm overly cautious that way.)
- Pressure Socks
If you're prone to getting Charley horse while sleeping pressure socks are heaven sent.
On one of my first trips I kept getting woken up by terrible pain in my calves. When I got back I did a quick search and discovered that pressure socks help with this.
- Fuzzy Socks
This relates back to being comfortable. Extremities are prone to getting cold on long flights making it hard to sleep. I always bring a pair of fuzzy socks to keep my feet warm and me feeling a little more comfortable.
- Drink Something Relaxing
For some that is chamomile tea. For me it is a cup of hot chocolate. Whatever it is that helps you relax make sure to have on hand so you can drink it.
Just make sure not to drink too much before going to sleep. You don't want to ruin your rest by having to get up and go to the bathroom.
- Follow your usual bedtime routine
To help prepare your mind and body for sleep it's helpful to follow your usual routine as much as possible. So, brush your teeth, go to the bathroom, etc. before trying to get some shut eye.
Many people like to take melatonin or other sleep aids to help them. Melatonin is a natural supplement that many people swear by. Being that it is natural it also helps you get a more restful sleep by allowing your body to go through its full and natural process.