There’s no denying that long haul flights can be a pain in the neck. And I mean that literally. Travel can be a real physical pain. You’re cramped for hours on end in a confined space, and as anyone who has sat in one can testify, airline seats aren’t exactly designed for comfort. A substantial 88 per cent of people experience increased back or neck pain following a flight.
But we suck it up and write it off as an unavoidable part of travel. Resign ourselves to the fact that we’ll contort ourselves into some semblance of comfort, and deal with the stiff neck at the end.
Which brings us to the wonderful world of travel pillows; designed specifically to help you sleep better while traveling, and feel better once you’ve reached your destination. (I’m sure everyone will agree that airline pillows are farcically small and essentially useless).
Many people can’t be bothered with travel pillows, believing these are just as useless as those the airlines provide. However these people have usually only tried the simple inflatable neck pillows, when there’s a whole range of different options specifically designed with comfort and neck support in mind. In fact, there’s even one which is NASA approved for space!
Wonder How Astronauts Sleep in Zero Gravity?
While we’re down on earth complaining about our 20 hour flight to the other side of the world, astronauts are facing some of the longest haul flights known to man. They’re literally flying to moon!!
So NASA developed a unique pressure absorbing material to cushion and support astronauts during the strain of lift-off. They needed an exceptional way of evenly distributing weight and pressure.
This unique material later became TEMPUR: the only mattress and pillow recognized by NASA and certified by the Space Foundation. And while you may know them for mattresses, TEMPUR has released a travel pillow, offering support in transit for travelers here on earth.
TEMPUR Transit Pillow Review
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The TEMPUR Transit Pillow is a horseshoe-shaped travel pillow made from a synthetic material which molds to your neck and head. Given the confined space of most seats in a plane this is a pretty natural sleeping position, and as far as travel pillows go, you can actually get some much-needed rest with no resulting neck pain, arriving at your destination refreshed.
Personally, I’m a fan of memory foam pillows because I find them more comfortable. But while this is broadly defined as a ‘memory foam’ product, the material they use is in a league of its own.
The exact composition of Tempur is a closely guarded secret; a unique temperature sensitive, visco-elastic material that responds to your weight and warmth, conforming to your body. However unlike regular memory foam pillows, it instantly returns to its original shape.
It’s almost like a very thick and heavy sponge which cradles and supports the neck, allowing shoulder muscles to relax better. The density of the synthetic pillow means it also reduces the jolts and vibrations from the plane which is ordinarily “transmitted” through regular pillows. It was, after-all, built to combat the turbulence of space!
What About Comfort?
With the ability to mold to your neck and head, the Tempur Transit Pillow is extremely comfortable. And there’s a nice level of chin support meaning your head doesn’t roll forwards.
Because it gently molds to your unique body shape, the muscles in the shoulder and neck have the chance to relax, which I found prevented the usual stiffness you often experience at the end of a flight.
It’s comfortable whether you wear it around the front or the back of your neck, depending on the way you like to sleep. And because it reduces a lot of the normal vibrations from the plane, you’re able to rest more soundly.
Those who find that plastic inflatable pillow irritate their skin will be pleased with the soft suede cover that is comfortable even in hot weather. Re comfort and ease of traveling with it, the pillow is reasonably bulky, though fits quite easily within a carryon bag, or in my case, standard backpack.
What About Hygiene?
I won’t touch pillows supplied by the airlines after a Wall Street Journal investigation found that airlines tend to wash their blankets and pillows only every 5 to 30 days. (Yes, you read that right.) This means that when you borrow a blanket from the airline, you’re sharing a whole lot of germs.
So I avoid this completely by bringing my own travel pillow. The Tempur transit pillow is fantastic in this regard as the fitted cover is removable for washing, meaning you can keep it clean, and wash a lot more frequently than the airlines do!
What About Price?
The Tempur is one of the most expensive transit pillows on the market, retailing for $210 AUD. This isn’t a spontaneous purchase, but it is an investment in your long term comfort and health.
As much as I hate to start sounding like my mother, putting your posture under pressure risks long-term problems when it comes to your neck. However the Tempur Travel Pillow takes the pain out of frequent flying.
In a Nutshell
If you suffer neck pain, and need a travel pillow with good neck support, the TEMPUR Transit Pillow is a solid investment. If you want to sleep more soundly on long haul flights, with a pillow which absorbs the vibrations of the plane, the transit pillow is also a solid investment.
It’s extremely comfortable, and is one of the highest quality travel pillows on the market. For more information, or to purchase, visit http://au.tempur.com
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