Traditional travel pillows that wrap around your neck have never quite jived with my sleeping positions. I can sleep sitting straight up, but something about the structure of most neck pillows fails to match up with where my chin needs to be supported or where my head could comfortably tilt onto a resting surface. And, like many travelers, I like to sleep against some sort of support: a bus window, an airplane tray table — maybe even on the seat back right in front of me. Of course, the problem here is a lack of softness.
Many a time, I’ve been woken as my head slams into hard plastic during a bout of turbulence or I’ve been unable to successfully doze off in the first place as my head vibrates against an unforgiving train window. The thing is, I’m a good sleeper — so much so, I’ve had doctors suggest I may be narcoleptic — so I can’t imagine how you average and finicky sleepers get by on red-eye flights and overnight journeys without the proper assistance. For me, I’ve found drowsy salvation in an over-the-arm style of travel pillow I rarely spot fellow travelers toting: the Ostrich Pillow Mini for Airplane Head Support. I have absolutely no idea why everyone isn’t using this style of pillow because finding one has been a huge value add to my in-transit lifestyle.
To buy: amazon.com, $40
You see, unlike most neck pillows or similar on-the-go sleep aides, this pillow doesn’t require you to rest in any particular or stationary way. The wearable Ostrich accessory fits securely over your hand or arm, opening up the sleep posture possibilities and ensuring you don’t wake up with your pillow on the floor and your head who knows where. Sometimes, I even wake up from a nap to discover I’ve shifted in my sleep but brought my little arm pillow with me to support my head in its new spot.
I’ll admit, the pillow may look like an oven mitt or boxing glove, but that’s a lot more normal than the designs of some other travel accessories with complicated ties and bulky shapes. And, I’d put up with any aesthetic compromises for a pillow that’s super portable, fits flexible sleep styles (even as you move around mid-snooze), and provides plush conditions no matter where you rest your head. Just thinking about how cozy I am curled up with my Ostrich Mini is enough to make me drift off at my desk... and I imagine I'm not alone considering the last time I wrote about this very pillow, it sold out on Amazon.
If the Ostrich Mini sells out again, you can also try a similar product, like the Cloudz on Hand Microbead Travel Pillow ($11; amazon.com), which also has a 5 percent off coupon right now. Of course, you could always opt for another top-selling option from the popular Ostrich brand, like the versatile Ostrich Pillow Light (amazon.com; $45).