What To Pack For A Red-Eye Flight (So That You'll Actually Get Some Sleep)

Convenient and often cheaper than daytime flights, a red-eye flight can save you precious vacation time as well as money as it whisks you to your destination through the night. However, unless you're in business or first class, you probably won't have the best sleep on a red-eye (the sight of passengers stumbling off with red, tired eyes is how it got its name).

Sitting bolt upright in economy as people climb over you to get to the bathroom, the lights flicker on and off, and you're hit with constant announcements from the crew isn't conducive to a good night's sleep. But there are some things you can take onboard to improve your chances of snoozing most of the way to your destination.

We're going to kick off our guide on how to sleep on a red-eye with the travel neck pillow. Many people swear by them, while others think they do nothing. We think you need to find the right one. Traditional neck pillows are U-shaped, but there are others that wrap around and still others that look more like a scarf. Find one that will help stabilize your neck while you're sleeping and help stop you from slumping over while sleeping upright.

Eyes and ears

If you want to get some shut-eye on your overnight flight, you must cover your eyes and ears. Bring a light-blocking eye mask onto your flight and create a dark environment for yourself even if your seatmate decides to read all night with the light on. Consider a weighted sleep mask for the best light-blocking capabilities. If you don't use eye masks in your day-to-day life, buy one at least a few days before you travel and wear it at night to get used to it and make sure it's comfortable.

You're also probably used to sleeping in a quieter place than on an airplane, so invest in some earplugs before your flight or bring along noise-canceling headphones. Again, if you don't normally sleep with earplugs, test them out for a few nights before you fly. If you have noise-canceling headphones, load up a sleep meditation or play some white noise to help you drift off.

More packing tips for a red-eye flight

Airplane cabins often feel chilly to passengers; this is a deliberate choice on the part of airlines as a lower air temperature reduces the risk of passengers and crew fainting. However, it's hard to sleep when you feel cold, so bring along a warm blanket or an oversized scarf to wrap around you when you're ready to sleep. You also might want to bring a thick pair of socks, too.

Packing a small hygiene kit can also make you feel more comfortable and mimic your bedtime routine at home. At least bring along deodorant, a toothbrush, toothpaste, and some lip balm. If you usually drink something before bed, bring that along if you can — chamomile tea is a favorite and teabags are easy to pack. Finally, sleep aids can help you wind down and get some sleep on a red-eye. Many are available without a prescription, such as melatonin, valerian, and certain antihistamines. Always check with your healthcare provider before taking any medication. With a little preparation, you'll be able to sleep like a log on your next red-eye flight.