The Best Seat To Book If You're Looking To Nap On Your Next Flight

No matter how you look at it, sleeping on planes is never comfortable. Even if you can afford a business-class seat that reclines so you are lying flat, you're still essentially snoozing inside a huge chunk of metal, so it will never be as relaxing as when you're lying in the comfort of your own bed. The experience is even worse if you're in the economy section without much space to move around. You're already considered lucky if you can manage a few hours of uninterrupted shuteye in such conditions. And even then, you may feel stiffness and aches in some parts of your body as you're forced to sleep mostly while sitting upright.

If dozing off in planes is perennially uncomfortable, then what can one do to make it at least a wee bit tolerable? Well, it all boils down to your choice of seat. If you can't spare the cash for a spacious seat in the business or first-class sections (and frequent travelers should get to know the difference between all the airline classes), you have to be strategic in selecting your seat in coach. For the best nap — or at least nap — possible onboard, especially when you need to survive long-haul flights, your best bet is a window seat.

A window seat can help you nap better mid-flight

Let's be real — no seat in economy is truly ever cozy, but if you want to prioritize a good nap more than anything else, you want to ensure that you're booking a window seat. Not only does situating yourself by the window give you a wall to lean against, but you won't be disturbed mid-flight by people trying to stand up and stretch or head to the lavatory. You can form your cozy little bubble right there in the corner. As a bonus, you can also decide how much natural light is coming through the window.

You can make your napping experience better by forking over additional cash for an economy comfort seat, or maybe even scoring a spot in the business class by bidding a tiny amount. If you really can't swing it, try to see if you can get an entire row to yourself. You don't even have to book multiple seats to do this. "A little hack for getting the best number of empty seats is to wait to board until your name is called, and you can sit anywhere that has two or three empty seats to spread out, as no other passenger is likely to come," says Alex Beck, a former flight attendant, told However, this usually only works with flights that are not full, so don't count on it working every time.

But what about achieving uninterrupted sleep?

A relatively comfortable nap can be quite easy to achieve if you pick the right seat, especially if your flight lasts five hours or less. But actually sleeping for several hours on an airplane? That's a whole other story. Apart from booking a window seat, you need to take extra steps to ensure that you'll get the best sleep of your life on board — or at least restful enough to dodge post-flight crankiness. For starters, you may want to skip the caffeine preboarding, as that would only make falling asleep mid-air next to impossible. It would also be ideal to fly directly to your destination and at the time you normally sleep, so you're more inclined to sleep faster.

Aside from reclining your seat, wearing a sleep mask (bonus points if it can block 100% of ambient light), investing in a comfortable neck pillow, and wearing ear plugs or noise-canceling headphones — these all help for naps too — travel producer Sarah Funk advises that you should try to stick to your night-time routine to make your body believe that you're ready for bed. "Your mind is powerful, and if you can trick it to make it seem more like you are at home, it does wonders," she tells Real Simple. "Before going to sleep on a plane, I will change into comfortable sleeping clothes, brush my teeth, wash my face, and put on heavy face cream. Then, after I put on my eye cover and earplugs, I will visualize that I am laying in my bed. Normally that does the trick!"