How To Sleep On A Train

Train rocking me to sleep like a lullaby.
How To Sleep On A Train
Tom Greenspan
December 21, 2022

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Taking a long train journey across the country can be an adventure and great fun, mainly if you take the family with you or travel with friends. However, there are some things you will need to consider before booking.

Sleeping on a train or sleeper train can be made comfortable with earbuds, eye masks, and travel pillows. Headphones shut out sudden noises, and an eye mask blocks out light that might wake you. A travel pillow is a bonus to help rest your neck while sleeping. 

Traveling Across State

The prospect of taking a cross-country train journey years ago would have filled you with dread. Now trains have changed, and it can be quick to travel across the state. 

If you have young kids, they will surely love the adventure, and sleeping on a train is an adventure at any age, offering a new experience.

Can you sleep on Amtrak trains?

Amtrak offers a fantastic sleeping experience. If you are looking for luxury and comfort, then Amtrak offers everything you need.

Do Trains Have a Place To Sleep?

If you choose a well-known national train company like Amtrak, you will find their smallest bedroom will accommodate two adults, and the largest will accommodate 4 adults. A family sleeping cabin can be booked for two adults and two kids.

There are two types of bedrooms that have an ensuite for your convenience. If possible, book this option; having an ensuite toilet and shower in your bedroom will increase your level of comfort and privacy tenfold.

The family room comes with bunk beds and a couple of reclining seats. I did tell you traveling by train has come a long way.

The bedroom suite has two bathrooms and two showers, making getting ready for breakfast and the day ahead of a breeze.

The best thing about the family room, which spans the whole carriage width, is your private living area, the cozy room converts into a daytime seat.

You can enjoy climate control and a small closet to unpack some essentials.

In Which Direction Should We Sleep?

There is no set way or any direction that is preferable to sleep on a train, and it is all personal choice and availability of accommodation.

Some folks do recommend sleeping with your head in the direction of travel. But it's up to you.


Like most modes of transport, sleeping on a train requires you to be comfortable, so pack clothes specifically for the train journey. Select clothes that are breathable and loose-fitting for your comfort. A large proportion of your day is going to be spent sitting around chatting with your family or friends.

How Do US Sleeper Trains Compare To European Sleepers

The US train service is geared up for a long journey just because of the country’s expense, and we don't utilize high-speed rail services at this point.

Mainland European sleeper Trains are slightly different in not offering the same amenities and the size of the sleeper cabin.

There is a good reason for this; it’s the scale of the country when you board a sleeper, it is usually’s evening time, and the train will arrive at your destination the following morning, usually early, say 5 am.

So the luxury element is toned down to a more utilitarian style. Don't get the wrong impression that sleeper trains are comfortable and spacious enough to sleep well.

However, some train services are almost the same as moving hotels and offer luxury at a price.

As you would expect, the train service is spotless and meticulously cleaned for your comfort and hygiene.

Using a Sleeper In The UK

If you are visiting the UK and decide you want to travel the length of the country on a sleeper, you will have one option: from London to Edinburgh, to Glasgow, and then on to Fort William.

The sleeper part will be on the longest leg of the journey.

To get the best night's sleep try to book a room in the center of the carriage; why?

There is less vibration and noise in the center of the carriage. The wheels are at either end of the carriage.

There will be banging doors through the night at either end of the carriage as people get up to use the bathroom.

If you hate the hint of cigarette smoke in the air stays in the center, smokers congregate in between carriages.

Take the bottom bunk, it's often cooler due to heat rising, and it avoids the shameful fall out of bed and the ungainly climb to the top bunk.

Climate Control

There isn't any. If you are fortunate, you can speak to the guard , and they may be able to adjust the temperature. It's best to pack clothes for if you are too hot or too cold. Using a battery fan can be helpful to cool you down initially.

Sharing a Cabin

This can be an experience as some passengers have their unique aroma. Tracking some essential oils can work wonders for masking smells.

Take your essentials in a smaller accessible bag, such as a torch, eyes covers, and some snacks if needed.

If you have a power bank, you will find it invaluable for charging your phone or laptop.

The best night's sleep can be with earbuds to drown out the noises from the train and passengers moving around.

Should You Use Sleeper Trains In The UK? 

If you are a tourist, there is an argument to say no because traveling by day will reveal some incredible scenery as you travel north through the lake district.

Sleeping on a train traveling through Scotland could be considered equivalent to sacrilege. The breathtaking scenery alone is worth making sure you travel by day.

Sleeper Trains In Asian Countries

Well, I guess if you are a backpacker, this could be one of the most memorable experiences of your life.

The first problem you will have is buying a ticket. Sleeper trains are in demand, and with a massive population like India, getting a ticket is no mean feat.

Assuming you have your ticket and are not booked on to one of the luxury sleepers used by the well-heeled, you can prepare yourself for an authentic Indian travel experience.

The hot room, authentic Indian food, and traveling companions who will be fascinated by your presence.

Take wet wipes to wash off regularly, and a handheld electric fan is an ideal companion as the heat rises and never really cools, even in the dead of night.

Sleeping On A Train On A Budget

Not all of us who sleep on trains book cabins or bedrooms. There is no law against sleeping in your seat overnight, and it can be done at a fraction of the cost of booking a sleeper.

Of course, roughing it isn't for everyone, but it does allow you to see some of life's characters traveling at night.


The problem with roughing it on a train overnight is that you will need to take your valuables everywhere.

Trains through Europe and the UK will have a guard and a ticket collector, but the problem is you will not see them through the night. All services such as food and beverages will close.

Of course, if you are a seasoned traveler, you will be prepared and stocked up with sandwiches and beverages at a local store to avoid paying the inflated prices of the railway operator.

So unless you're very comfortable and going as a group, sleeping in an economy seat on a train overnight may be a bad idea for you.

Be Prepared

Take essentials with you so you can charge your phone. Power banks can be a lifesaver when your phone is running low on a battery charge.

Eye masks are always a welcome accessory to the traveler. You may want to sleep, but your companions have other ideas, so blocking out the light will help you rest.

Book the cabin that's best for you and your family. Take note of where you will get the best and smoothest ride, which is usually in the middle of the carriage. The bogey is located at the ends of the carriage, regardless of the suspension, the ride is always more bumpy and noisy in these locations.