How to Sleep Better on a Train

This content was created by the National Sleep Foundation

Sleeping well while traveling may seem like an oxymoron, but it is possible—especially if your journey is by train. It's less stressful than traveling by car (you don’t need to worry about giving directions to the driver) or airplane (no security lines to deal with!). In fact, many people say that the rocking motion of the train lulls them to sleep. So follow these four tips the next time you travel via rail. All aboard the train to Sleepy Town!

1. Keep Your Ticket Displayed.

Most train seats have a small slot to place the ticket in, so keep yours there (as opposed to in your pocket, wallet, or purse) while you sleep. If there is no slot for your ticket, hang it around your neck on a chain, clip, or lanyard. Otherwise, the conductors may awaken you when they come through the aisles to ask for your ticket.

2. Pack Wisely.

Unlike planes, where you can close your window shade when you’re ready to rest, trains can be quite bright—and loud. Bring an eye mask and ear plugs to shut out noise and light while you nod off. A travel pillow may help you get comfortable too.

3. Dress Wisely.

Train temperatures can fluctuate, so be prepared for a blast of air conditioning while the train is up and running, as well as warmer temperatures while the train is idling in stations—especially during the summer. The cooler temperatures of most trains can actually aid your sleep, since the ideal sleeping temperature is between 60 and 67 degrees , but wear layers or bring along a small blanket or shawl to snuggle under if the train gets too chilly.

4. Consider Sleeper Cars.

The only drawback to sleeping on trains is that you have to rest in a seated position. Luckily, many train companies that travel long-distance routes, including Amtrak , offer sleeper cars. Although they are an additional cost, they come with beds and linens, as well as privacy. Consider bringing your pillow from home to make the experience even more relaxing. It’s best to book these rooms as far in advance of your travel as possible because they can fill up fast. If you can't afford a sleeper car and your train is fairly empty, you could try kicking your shoes off and lying down across two or three seats.