Travel writer Peter Greenberg, for example, eschews food and booze and has spent years convincing his body that it's possible to be comfortable in the middle seat. And a Denver neurologist named Dr. Ronald Kramer suggested taking a sleeping pill like Ambien, as long as you know ahead of time how you'll react to it. This last part is key, as a friend of mine once popped an Ambien at the gate, only to find out that her flight was delayed. She opened her eyes hours later to find herself lying on the floor, surrounded by airport security personnel and medical people who had been called to attend to the girl who couldn't be woken up. Dr. Kamran Rabbani isn't so strict about the booze, suggesting that a glass of red wine might be just the thing to take the edge off and catch some Z's. Just don't get too hammered, or you'll have an awfully rough landing.
Of course, the best way to sleep comfortably on an airplane is to be rich or upgradable enough to fly first or business class. Those lay-flat beds sure beat laying your head on the tray table.