Get a few key pieces of gear
As a member of the armed forces, your heavy gear and armor have some surprising sleep-inducing qualities. Burton recalls a basic training combat exercise that required her and her fellow recruits to hole up in an old hangar wearing an overcoat, gas mask, helmet, and gloves, among other heavy gear.
“I want to stress that this goes over your military uniform, so it was extremely hot, stuffy, and uncomfortable,” she says. “But I was so exhausted that I passed out on my friend's butt.”
Feibleman had a similar experience. “You know those thunder shirts for dogs? Like tightly wrapped blankets?” he says. “Body armor worked like that. It would squeeze you nice and tight, and you could sleep in just about any nook or cranny of space because you were swaddled in armor, ammo, and weapons.”
Replicate the comforting embrace of standard-issue armor with a weighted blanket. Doctors say they can help relieve anxiety and relax before bed. Tons of travel versions on the market, meaning you can swaddle up anytime, anywhere.
The other essential pieces of sleep gear might be more familiar. “Earplugs -- nothing fancy,” Feibleman says. “Cheap new plugs from any store or complimentary airline travel kit work fine. And there’s this awesome eye-bra sleep mask on Amazon. It’s shaped so it doesn’t press up against your eyelashes. That thing is a lifesaver.”
When it comes to travel pillows, remember three words: Tempur-Pedic, Tempur-Pedic, Tempur-Pedic. “I've never really personally have been a fan of the neck pillow,” Ryba says. Instead, he always travels with a memory-foam pillow. “It's like a smaller size, condensed for traveling,” he says. “I can stick it in the top of my bag, and I'll sit on it, which helps with my back. Or I'll put it behind me, which is super-comfortable. It helps me fall asleep on the plane a lot better.”
And if you’re really into white noise, or having a breeze on you? “A rechargeable travel fan is a good gadget as well,” Feibleman says. “Point that in your face with an eye mask and earplugs, you can sleep anywhere you can lie down.”