The illustrated encyclopedia of sleeping positions on a plane

When flying in economy, it’s no small feat to fall asleep, yet many travelers try their best anyway. We nestle into the small, unforgiving confines of our chair, despite the fact that the seat is surrounded by sneezing, coughing, talking strangers. The only thing more disruptive than those strangers may be the deafening plane noises and overhead lighting, seemingly designed to combat any attempt at slumber.

But we travelers make do, because desperate times call for desperate measures. We adapt to the conditions, get creative, and come up with ways to get some shut-eye. Whether you’re a frequent flier or rarely find yourself airborne, you can twist and turn enough to figure out a resting position that works for you— if only for a brief interlude.

There’s no best way to sleep on a plane. There’s no right way, either. There are, however, many ways. We asked travelers to share their preferred in-flight sleeping positions to find out exactly how it can be done. These contortions have been carried out by actual travelers ⁠— seriously.

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