In-Flight Experience Travel Technology

10 Tiny Gadgets That Will Help You Sleep on the Plane

Can’t sleep? These 10 gadgets will help you get the rest you need in strange spaces no matter how bad the conditions.

Can’t sleep on the plane? Falling and staying asleep isn’t always easy when you’re traveling. Get the rest you need—no matter the conditions—with these 10 gadgets and apps you can use on the plane, bus, train, and at your hotel.

Bedtime Bliss Sleepmask

[st_content_ad]The freebie sleep mask you get on the plane (if you’re lucky) is okay in a pinch, but not if you’re hoping for anything more than a quick catnap. Regular eye masks put pressure on your eyelids and can prevent the rapid eye movement (REM) that accompanies deep sleep. The Bedtime Bliss mask is contoured so that your eyes aren’t touched by the fabric, allowing them to move freely. It also blocks out light much better than the average sleep mask.

Sleep Cycle App

It can leave you groggy all day if your alarm jolts you awake from a deep sleep. But with the Sleep Cycle app, you’ll be awakened in your lightest sleep state, leaving you feeling refreshed and ready to go. All you have to do is set an alarm time and the app will wake you up when you’re in your lightest sleep stage, within 30 minutes of your desired waking time. It also monitors your sleep, so you can evaluate how well you’re really sleeping.

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Sleep Sheep

If the kids aren’t sleeping, you’re not sleeping (especially if you’re sharing a hotel room). The Sleep Sheep Travel Sound Machine is part stuffed animal, part white noise machine. It plays soothing sounds to help your kid sleep, and it has a Velcro strap that lets you easily attach it to a car seat or stroller.

Bluelight Filter App

It’s hard to escape the glow of a computer screen—maybe you check your e-mails on your phone before bed or even read a book on your tablet to help you drift off. Unfortunately, the blue light that these devices emit can interfere with your sleep by blocking the release of melatonin. If you can’t totally switch off a few hours before bed time, the free Bluelight Filter for Eye Care app is the next best thing. It automatically adjusts your screen color to reduce blue light and help you sleep better.

Lavender Travel Pillow

There’s some evidence that the scent of lavender can help people sleep, so give it a try with this travel neck pillow. It includes a pouch full of two cups of dried Washington lavender buds that you insert into the neck band, giving you support and a relaxing scent, wherever you may be.

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Go to Sleep Mask

Need some help relaxing and turning your mind off? The Glo to Sleep mask has a unique system that uses points of light to help you clear your mind and fall asleep quickly. Once the lights are shut off, all outside light is blocked out, so when you do fall asleep, you won’t get woken up by an early sunrise.

White Noise App

White noise machines are great for blocking out distracting sounds, but why lug one in your suitcase when you can download an app that does the same thing—for free? The White Noise Free app offers 10 different soundtracks of soothing sounds, including “fan,” “white noise,” and “beach.”

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AcousticSheep SleepPhones

If you’re sharing a room with someone that doesn’t appreciate your white noise app (or whatever podcast/audiobook you listen to when falling asleep), try the AcousticSheep SleepPhones instead. This cushy headband has flat headphone speakers built in, so you’ll be comfortable wearing it while lying down. It helps to block out ambient noise and connects to most digital media players.

The Human Charger

We’ve tried everything to beat jet lag, from herbal cures to smartphone apps, but we’ve never seen anything as innovative as the Human Charger. This gadget looks like a normal iPod, but instead of music, UV-free white light is being beamed through the wearer’s ears in 12-minute doses that can help prevent jet lag.

Super Sleep Ear Plugs

Ever woken up with an earache after sleeping with uncomfortable ear plugs? Try the Super Sleep Comforts foam ear plugs that are designed for side sleepers—their length makes them more comfortable. They’ll block out most noises and let you sleep undisturbed from pain or sound.

What’s your trick for sleeping well while traveling? Tell us in the comments below.


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By Caroline Morse Teel

Unfortunately for her bank account, Principal Editor Caroline Morse Teel is powerless to resist a good flight deal. Follow her on Instagram @TravelWithCaroline.

Caroline joined Boston-based SmarterTravel in 2011 after living in Ireland, London, and Manhattan. She's traveled to all seven continents, jumped out of planes, and bungeed off bridges in the pursuit of a good story. She loves exploring off-the-beaten path destinations, anything outdoorsy, and all things adventure.

Her stories have also appeared online at USA Today, Business Insider, Huffington Post, Yahoo,, TripAdvisor, Buzzfeed, Jetsetter, Oyster, Airfarewatchdog, and others.

The Handy Item I Always Pack: "Earplugs. A good pair has saved my sleep and sanity many times!"

Ultimate Bucket List Experience: Hiking Mount Kilimanjaro.

Travel Motto: "Don't be boring."

Aisle, Window, or Middle Seat: "Aisle (when the first class private suite isn't available)."

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