14 Tips on
How to Sleep in Airports

How to sleep in airports

You’re tired, you’re angry, and you’re on your second 6 hour layover on your journey. Your head is bobbing up-and-down as you sit in your chair while the little girl sitting behind you is laughing at you! You don’t even care, all you want to do is to try to sleep for just an hour before getting on the next flight but to no avail! Sound familiar?

We have all been there before whether we’re on a long and crazy international adventure or just a delayed flight in the wee hours of the night. To most of us, sleeping in an airport can be just as bad as trying to sleep on an airplane!

I have never been a big fan of long layovers trapped in an airport nor have I ever been comfortable enough to sleep in an airport seat. However from all those out there like me, here are some tips on how to sleep in airports.

14 Tips for Sleeping in an Airport


1. Bundle up

Prepare from home by bringing along some warm and comfortable clothes for your trip and then get settled in. Nothing will help you to fall asleep faster by bundling up in a cold airport . Chances are if you don’t, you’ll wake up every 20-30 minutes freezing your tail off since your body’s core temperature drops once you start sleeping.

2. Then Bundle up some more…

For serious sleepers, break out your sleeping bag or blanket. Don’t have one? You can buy one (or all of them) in the airport usually or plan ahead and get one before you leave on your trip as you’ll likely need it more than once.

3. Get some Peace and Quiet

Break out your ear plugs and eye shades. You’ll want to use them and will likely get better sleep this way.

4. Use your Alarm or a Stranger!

Light sleepers, you’re probably fine with your normal setting on your phone however, you heavy sleepers out there, put it on both audible volume as well as vibrate and keep it in your pocket so you can feel it going off too.  You can also tell others to wake you up. If they are on the same flight. You’d be surprised how many people would be glad to do this for you. *Note to self: Check to be sure your time zone is set correctly to where you are as well as the volume setting before dozing off.

5. Scout out a Location

In order to find the best options and locations for getting settled, spend some time exploring and scouting out a suitable sleep spot. Take into consideration: Safety, high traffic/noisy areas and areas that you are less likely to be disturbed by airport personnel. If just sleeping a few hours before a flight, it’s obviously best to sleep at your gate’s lounge area so you don’t miss the boarding call however, for you overnight sleepers, I’d recommend finding a place to stretch out and find a quiet area that will avoid airport staff as well as travelers. You’ll be less apt to get disturbed or hassled while sleeping.

6. React Quickly

When bad weather or other major delays end up grounding a lot of flights, your best bet is to pick a sleep spot quickly before all the good ones get taken up by other sleepy stranded travelers.

7. Limit Stress and Paranoia

Store your bags in a secure locker or office if you can, otherwise find a way to either sleep on them or attach them to yourself. For frequent travelers that also travel on buses and trains, a handy TSA approved cable lock can be invaluable to secure your bags together and even to your leg. Since I’ve traveled so often by myself, I’ve done this many many times and it works great.

8. Travel Soft, not Hard

Since it’s best to actually find a way to sleep on or with your luggage for security reasons, it’s obviously preferable to travel with soft luggage or a backpack instead of hard cased luggage. You can use that duffel bag as a pillow or rest your legs on top of your bag. If you’ve missed it, check out my post on how to pick a backpack.

9. Find a Spa or get a Message

Nothing can be better than a quick power nap while there and who knows, they may just let you doze off there afterwards without giving you a hard time.

10. Sleep in Shifts

When traveling with a companion, nothing can be finer than having someone next to you that can watch your bags and stay alert for flight changes and announcement calls and wake you up when ready. You can do the same. This is the best scenario when you only have a few hours to doze off before your upcoming flight.

11. Seek out Sleep Pods

Ask airport staff if they have sleep pods or designated lounges in which to sleep. You’d be surprised just how many airports actually have them!

12. Safety in Numbers

If you choose to sleep on the floor, it’s usually best to find other travelers doing the same and join in on their area. Most airport personnel frown on overnight sleepers and those that look homeless in airports. However, there is safety in numbers as they”ll be less apt to disturb large numbers of sleepers in one small area than they would if you are alone!

13. Be Smart and Secure

Hide your valuables before dozing off! This is needless to say but if you haven’t already done so, plan on stowing away all jewelry, camera and computer equipment and anything else that is visible and that may entice would be thieves.

14. Let the Blood Flow

Help yourself stay asleep by doing two things: Prop your legs up (if sleeping in a chair) and cross your arms. Both will help regulate your blood and keep your warmer and therefore give you better quality sleep.

If anyone has other tips to share or any airport sleeping stories to share, we would love to hear it in the comments below! Whatever you do, just don’t miss your flight!

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