Riding on a train seems like a fun adventure—until you realize how cramped it is and how much longer it takes to reach your destination than if you hopped on an airplane.
One of the trickiest parts about train travel is trying to sleep. But hear me out: It’s not impossible to get good sleep on a train. Check out our guide to how to sleep comfortably on a train so you wake up feeling refreshed when you arrive at your destination.
How to sleep on a train
Whether you’re sitting in business class, coach, or a sleeper car, the following advice can go a long way toward making you feel more comfortable (and sleepy!) while you travel. I feel more relaxed already.
1. Find a quiet spot
Some trains have a quiet car, which can be a great place to situate yourself if you’re thinking about sleeping during your journey. If you can get a seat in a quiet car, you have a higher chance of being able to relax and unwind.
2. Put on earplugs
If you can’t get a spot away from the crowds of families, children, or friends having their conversations at a piercing decibel, try to adapt by limiting distractions.
A great way to do this is by packing some earplugs. These can help block out sounds so you can snooze. Just make sure you don’t need to be listening for cues from the conductor—you don’t want to miss your stop, after all!
3. Bring a blanket
A cozy blanket could be just the key to helping you sink into your seat and drift off to sleep. Choose one that’s lightweight enough for you to easily carry but still provides enough warmth in case the air conditioning is blasting.
Here are the most popular types of blankets to help you find the right one for your travels.
4. Pack a travel pillow
In general, the travel pillow you use for a plane will suffice for a train trip because the seat sizes and types are pretty similar. There are many different travel pillows to choose from, including microbead pillows, inflatable pillows, and even memory foam pillows—so choose the one that suits your personal and travel needs the most.
A travel pillow can help keep your head from pushing forward on the seat, which could not only cause neck pain but prevent you from getting shuteye.
5. Dress comfortably
Fit check! Choosing the right outfit for your train trip is essential. If you feel comfortable, you may be able to fall asleep more easily.
I like to wear loose-fitting, baggy clothes that can be adjusted as needed for different temperatures. Typically, leggings or sweat pants will work, with a fitted T-shirt or tank on top. Bring a hoodie or sweatshirt that can be added or removed as needed.
6. Wear a sleep mask
A good sleep mask will block out light and protect the delicate skin around your eyes. Pack one in your bag so you can slip it on when you’re ready to take a nap on the train. Our silk eye mask is the perfect travel companion if you want to sleep comfortably on a train.
7. Read a book
If you’ve ever felt your eyelids grow instantly heavy when picking up a book, you’re not alone. Science says it’s actually a proven and effective method of helping people get some shuteye. As little as six minutes of reading can do the trick, so make sure you bring a book with you if you’re traveling by train.
8. Listen to a relaxing playlist
Nowadays, you can find a playlist of just about anything—including soothing sleep sounds. Play an ocean or nature track, put on some ambient white noise, or just listen to a boring newscaster relay the headlines of the day if that helps you drift off faster. The world is your oyster!
9. Set an alarm
All of the above tips can help you fall asleep faster on a train with minimal interruptions—but if you’re unfamiliar with where the train stops or how long your journey will take, you’ll want to remain aware so you don’t miss your stop.
These tips are recommended for long train journeys, not a shorter daily commute. Make sure you keep an eye on your surroundings and have an alarm set and ready.
Block out sleep-disrupting light with these sleep masks from Saatva
Silk Eye Mask
Drift into dreamland with our sleep-enhancing eye mask made of the finest quality mulberry silk. It keeps light out for more uninterrupted sleep—no matter where you are.
Weighted Silk Eye Mask
Drift into dreamland with our sleep-enhancing weighted eye mask made of the finest quality mulberry silk. It blocks out light for more restful sleep as it gives your eyes the calming, therapeutic effect of deep pressure stimulation.
How do you fall asleep on a train?
Just like when you’re at home, keeping light and noise to a minimum is key to falling asleep on a train. If you like sleeping with a white noise machine at home, mimic that experience with a Spotify playlist of similar sounds.
How do you sleep and wake up on a train?
Depending on your sleep patterns, falling asleep or waking up may be more difficult than the other. You can utilize the above tips, like drowning out noise and light to fall asleep and setting an alarm that will ring through your headphones to wake up on time when you need to.
Is it safe to sleep on a train?
If you’re going on a long train journey, you may want to choose a sleeper car option so you’ll have more privacy and will arrive more refreshed at your destination. For shorter journeys, make sure to stay aware of your surroundings. If you don’t feel safe falling asleep, then don’t attempt it.
More tips to help you sleep better while traveling
Whether you’re traveling on a road trip, going camping, or taking a plane, we’ve got you covered with all of the best sleep tips to utilize when you’re anywhere but your bed.