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I Tried 5 Sleeping Hacks For Long-Haul Flights And It Was Damn Uncomfortable

My neck has seen better days.

Hi. I’m Michelle, and like most people, I love to travel but HATE flying.

My dream flight situation would be a business-class seat and a whole lot of alcohol, but unfortunately I’m not rich enough for that life.

So I decided to try out five different ~products~ that were suggested by the BuzzFeed Community to find out which would actually help me sleep on my upcoming flight.


I thought this product would be great for sleeping on the plane. I mean, it's small, it's compact, and when deflated it can easily slip into your carry-on without adding much extra weight.

But when I started to inflate my travel pillow, people began to stare. I couldn’t quite get the airflow right and every time I tried to shut it I lost too much air and had to blow it up again. I must admit though, once inflated it was pretty damn good. It’s the shape of a normal pillow, so you can really rest your head where you want to, but it also kind of looks like a neck brace.

Deflating it was difficult, noisy, and embarrassing. Picture trying to deflate a balloon without making noise. Now picture that on a plane full of people trying to sleep in silence.

Cost: This one was $8 from Kmart.

Comfort rating: 3.5/5

Judgment level: 4/5


In theory this folding hack was easy, on account of the fact most people already take a hoodie on their flight. However, this trick is all good until you actually have to fold the hoodie correctly on your tiny lil’ tray table while trying to avoid elbowing the person next to you.

Once I managed to fold it up as correctly as possible I found it was just OK. Sure, it’s better than no pillow, but if you’re in an aisle seat it isn’t all that helpful. It’s hard to balance your new weirdly shaped “pillow” and find a position that’s comfortable and sustainable over the long time you need to sleep.

This one is probably a good one for those in a window seat because you can rest your head on the window and the hoodie can cushion it. I mean, at least until the turbulence kicks in.

Cost: Free if you already own a hoodie.

Comfort rating: 2/5

Judgment level: 2/5


This was dumb. The idea is to get one long sock and fill it with all the other socks you're bringing on your trip, and to use that as your travel pillow.

The concept is good because not only does it save you some weight in your check-in luggage, it also means you don't need to carry around a bulky travel pillow. However, it's just not comfortable. It was literally like trying to sleep on a sausage full of hard-ass pebbles.

Plus, not only does everyone around you on the plane judge you, so do security if you – like me – get asked to unpack your bag before you board the plane.

Cost: Free. Or a couple of dollars if you don't own one big sock.

Comfort rating: 0/5

Judgment level: 5/5


This idea was also just plain stupid. You're meant to tie a scarf around the chair behind you so you can rest your head in it and lean forward to sleep.

However, I don't really think whoever came up with this hack understands how sleep works. As you lean forward there is so much pressure on your head, and in particular your eyes, to the point where you feel like you're going blind.

Plus for this hack to work you need to hope that the person behind you isn't using their entertainment system and that they don't plan to for their whole flight, otherwise you're fucked. Not to mention the fact that EVERYONE stares at you while you adjust the scarf sling to the right position. Honestly, it just isn't worth it.

Cost: Free if you already own a big scarf.

Comfort rating: 1/5

Judgment level: 100/5


The main issue with travel pillows is that they're so bulky and usually have to be held because they can't fit into your carry-on luggage.

The travel pillow I used was a memory foam pillow, meaning it was a whole lot softer and way more flexible than other ones I used before. Because it was so soft, it was easily stuffed into the top of my carry-on.

Cost: Anywhere from about $15.

Comfort rating: 5/5

Judgment level: 0/5

Disclaimer: Michelle Rennex travelled on Contiki’s Bangkok to Singapore trip. Contiki provided all Hotel, airfare, and associated tour costs free of charge. BuzzFeed writers did not guarantee coverage.