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Gear Review: The Sleeper

It happens almost every time I travel. I fall asleep, wake up when my head jerks forward or rolls to one side. I look around sheepishly wondering if anyone noticed that I’d fallen asleep. Invariably, the person across the aisle is sleeping peacefully, with a pillow supporting her neck and I think, next time I’m bringing one of those. But I never do.

Recently, I received a sample of The Sleeper. Unlike the pillow that we’re used to, the Sleeper, which resembles a sleep mask with adjustable straps, is designed to hold your head in place while you sleep.

Here’s how it works: Once you get to your seat on a plane, bus or train, you tie the Sleeper to the back of your seat, tighten to your head size then you pull the mask over your eyes. You can adjust the straps to keep your head in place. 

It’s actually pretty simple to use. I got some curious stares when I used it on the bus to DC a few weeks ago. My seat mate wanted to know what it was and I had to explain to the guy sitting behind me why I needed invade his space to tie it to the back of my seat. 

Since I’ve never used a mask to sleep, I was unsure how I’d fare with the Sleeper, whether I’d want to take it off or whether I’d sleep at all. Sleep, I did and my head didn’t roll like it would have had it not have support. 

The Sleeper did let a bit of light in at the nose area and that was a bit distracting but on the whole, I think it’s a great sleep aid.

Speaking of seat, the Sleeper’s strap (1.5m x 2cm) is suitable for seat backs that are 35 inches (90 cm) or more wide.  

The outer side of the Sleeper is made of hypoallergenic material that is suitable for those with sensitive skin, the inner side of fleece. The mask itself measures 10.6″ x 4.3″ (or 270 x 110mm). The whole thing fits into a little pouch so you can have it handy whenever you travel. And its bright orange color makes it hard to miss.

The Sleeper was invented by Lana Dey, a self-described travel addict, who on a road trip took a belt and tied her head to the headrest of a car. (The Sleeper is a better idea, Lana.) A recently closed Indiegogo campaign raised some of the funds Lana and her team need to begin mass production of the Sleeper.