Help me nod off without too much nodding
March 31, 2024 6:51 PM   Subscribe

What's the best travel pillow for folks whose head tends to nod forward while trying to sleep on a plane? Give me your recs, please. I'll also take any other "how to sleep in economy" tips because I have a series of long flights upcoming and I have an awful time sleeping on planes.)

(I have looked at the Wirecutter, but I want more opinions.)
posted by BlahLaLa to Travel & Transportation (16 answers total) 15 users marked this as a favorite
Best answer: I love the Trtl. It's not ideal if having something wrapped entirely around your neck would be too hot or uncomfortable, but I run cold. It's basically a c-collar with a fleece scarf.
posted by Ardnamurchan at 7:30 PM on March 31 [5 favorites]

How to sleep in economy:
1. Noise cancelling headphones
2. Eye mask, or wear a baseball cap and tilt it forward over your eyes
3. You don’t have to participate in food and drink service! The food is not yummy and you won’t die of dehydration. Assume a sleeping posture ASAP.
4. Drugs. Benedryl or Gravol if it’s all you have. Take them as soon as the passengers are seated
5. Lying in the dark with your eyes closed is not a terrible replacement for sleeping. Listen to podcasts or audiobooks, don’t engage with a screen
posted by shock muppet at 7:41 PM on March 31 [4 favorites]

Well, I had a redeye recently and used a pillow eye mask thingy (this is fancier than what I had, but the same gist). I put the pillow over my eyes, leaned against the bulkhead (I always get the window seat for redeyes, for leaning potential) and was out like a light. YMMV.
posted by stray at 8:46 PM on March 31

I use a neck pillow that’s basically a cervical collar — it makes me surprisingly warmer, but as long as I have an air jet on me it’s fine. Then, noise canceling earphones as mentioned above and mild drugs (diphenhydramine, doxylamine, etc.). Result: can sleep for 9hrs at a go, but I have practice at it, so for first-timers I’d expect 4-6+.
posted by aramaic at 9:18 PM on March 31 [1 favorite]

Get yourself a Cabeau which attaches to the seat back and prevents your head from tilting forward. Add an eye mask, face mask, earplugs or noise canceling earbuds, Benadryl/melatonin/wine and you're all set.
posted by mezzanayne at 10:11 PM on March 31 [2 favorites]

A good dark woollen shawl that you can wrap around your ears and neck.
posted by Barbara Spitzer at 11:37 PM on March 31 [1 favorite]

Best answer: Neck pillow- for me, the firmer the better. I find the window seat much better for sleeping as I can lean against it. Hoodie/hat, eye mask, and noise cancelling headphones are my routine. Another tip is that I take my shoes off and prop my feet up slightly, either on top of my carryon on just on top of my soes. Something about having my feet even just slight elevated helps trigger sleepytime.
posted by emd3737 at 1:37 AM on April 1 [1 favorite]

The newest viral thing that’s all over my social media at least are eye masks that attach to the seat back, like so:
posted by mosst at 5:31 AM on April 1

We borrowed the Turtl and the fancier adjustable version for a flight recently. I found it actively uncomfortable and didn't use it. Dr. Advicepig like it. She got a little fitful sleep with it on, which is an improvement for her. I did however, sew a strap on to my inflatable neck pillow and wear it backwards. Nothing pushing my head forward, and great chin support.
posted by advicepig at 5:39 AM on April 1 [2 favorites]

This inflatable contraption is my jam
posted by tristeza at 8:04 AM on April 1 [1 favorite]

I bought an infinity pillow after watching this tiktok. I had the best sleep I ever had on a plane with it, wearing it with one end pulled through the loop made by the other end so that it was like a semi-firm collar.
posted by velocipedestrienne at 9:34 AM on April 1

I've found that wearing a regular travel pillow "backwards", so the tallest part is in front, works best to support my chin when nodding off, and has enough side support to stop me from leaning on my neighbors.
posted by Sparky Buttons at 10:08 AM on April 1

I can’t stand normal travel pillows because I hate having something around my neck, but I love the Travel Halo (I have an older version). It lets me lean back and keeps my head from rolling side to side, and the built in eye mask is great. This might not help if you nod straight forward, but I’ve noticed people on planes tend to nod forward after their head rolls to one side or the other.
posted by thejanna at 12:08 PM on April 1

Best answer: It’s already b en mentioned, and I want to emphasize: Turtl.
posted by wryly at 3:33 PM on April 1

Response by poster: I did decide to try a an eye mask and maybe also a scarf over my head. Fingers crossed!
posted by BlahLaLa at 10:47 AM on April 2

I love my Manta eyemask. I don't think the bluetooth headset part was worth it for the plane, but the eyemask part is amazing. The bluetooth headset is fine when it's not competing with the plane noise and some loud drunks behind us...
posted by advicepig at 11:37 AM on April 2

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