This blog post was updated on April 2, 2020.

Missed flights, canceled flights, long layovers; it’s safe to say we’ve all been there. Regardless of how you’ve been delayed from boarding your flight at the time you’ve planned for there’s always a logical answer to this dilemma. Put down your bags and slumber at the airport! It may seem like a ridiculous idea given that airports are busy chaotic places operating around the clock. But by following these few simple rules you’ll learn how to catch a little shut-eye at even the busiest terminals.

Find a Quiet Spot

sleep comfortably in airport

Contrary to common airport wisdom, larger airports fair better for sleeping than smaller ones. They often have dedicated quiet areas including reclining seats for reading or snoozing. However, at smaller or regional airports you will have to make do with a spot on the floor (preferably carpeted for added comfort). Find a small space like an alcove, which is away from walkways, that is particularly quiet and useful for sleeping.

Pack a Sleeping Kit

how to sleep comfortably

If you’re booked on one of the cheap international flights and know in advance that you’ll be snoozing at the airport on a layover, pack a sleeping kit. Your kit should contain ear plugs, eye mask, socks, toothbrush and toothpaste. Wrap everything in your travel towel (two towels if you like to have a blanket). Pack your sleep kit in your carry on luggage for ease of access. If you’re a pro-level airport-sleeper you’ll take a travel pillow too. If you haven’t packed a sleep kit, place a scarf or towel on the floor before you rest as airports are pretty germy places.

Keep Your Luggage Safe

It’s unlikely that anyone would take off with your suitcase but small valuables may be fair game. Always secure your belongings before you get to the airport by using zip locks or padlocks. Before you sleep, push your suitcase against a wall or alcove next to you. Keep backpacks safe by using them as pillows. Wear a crossbody handbag and you’re all set to snooze safely.

Don’t Leave Electronics Charging

sleep comfortably at airport

This may seem obvious from the previous rule but do resist the temptation to leave your electronics charging while you sleep. Remember that you’re not in the security of your own home. Small high-value items such as laptops, cameras and mobile phones can be easily lost, stolen or damaged. You will also sleep better knowing your items are safe.

Wind Down

Just as with sleeping at home, sleeping at the airport requires winding down. This is particularly important if you’re stressed from a missed or canceled flight or Read a book, listen to soothing music, watch a movie on your phone or tablet or drink some herbal tea. Any of these will help you relax and fall asleep naturally.

Set an Alarm

sleep comfortably at an airport

The most important rule of all is setting an alarm. Give yourself at least two hours if you’ve yet to go through security and an hour if you’re close to your gate. Bear in mind that at larger airports gates can be far apart and you may need to take a shuttle to get there. If you’re wearing earplugs ensure that your alarm is set to vibrate and keep it zipped up in your jacket, trousers or jeans close to your body. Wake up in plenty of time, have a healthy bite to eat, brush your teeth and be on your way!

Got any tips to share for terminal naptime? Tell us in the comments below!

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About The Author

Chris Osburn is a freelance writer, photographer, consultant, curator, and the driving force behind the long running and award winning blog, Originally from the American Deep South, Chris has lived and worked all over the world. He's called London home since 2001.