Sleeper Holder features

Travel Tuesday: Sleeper Hold Travel Pillow Review

Earlier this year, I shared how I had contributed to a Kickstarter campaign for a new travel product. Well, just a couple of months later, that item arrived at my door: the Sleeper Hold travel pillow. As luck would have it, soon after the pillow’s arrival, I ended up taking a trip to Hong Kong that also happened to include the literal longest flight I’ve ever taken — which presented me the perfect opportunity to give this pillow a try.

So what is the Sleeper Hold and does it live up to my expectations? Let me share my experience with it aboard a 15.5 hour flight.

Sleeper Hold Travel Pillow
Sleeper Hold: A Clever and Effective Twist on a Travel Pillow
4
Retail price
$75
Includes
Pillow, eye mask, universal seat strap, hooks, carrying bag, patches
The Sleeper Hold travel pillow promises to alleviate “bobble head syndrome” — and succeeds! While the system is fairly simple, my experience suggests that it can help achieve better sleep on airplanes and beyond. However, the $75 retail price is steep (if the item isn’t on sale) and the pillow will take up room in your bag. But, if you can get a good deal, it could be well worth it.
Pros
  • Helps prevent “bobble head” while sleeping
  • Works on plains, trains, automobiles, and more
  • The microsuede eye mask is comfortable
Cons
  • Retail price is high
  • The full set does take up a decent amount of room in your bag

Sleeper Hold Travel Pillow: The Basics and My Experience

Sleeper Hold pillow and eye mask

What is Sleeper Hold?

The Sleeper Hold travel pillow is a new product from Rener Gracie and his wife Eve. I’m actually familiar with Rener as he appeared on Shark Tank and I’ve been a big fan of his Quikflip hoodies ever since. Funny enough, when I was first served an Instagram ad for Sleeper Hold before the Kickstarter went live, I instantly recognized him.

Anyway, back to the product itself, the idea of Sleeper Hold is that it combines a travel pillow and eye mask to help hold your head up and prevent “bobble head syndrome.” This is done via a strap and a pair of hooks on the side of the eye mask to basically strap yourself in. Simple? Yes. Effective? We’ll find out in a moment.

Price and what’s included

I should note that, as a Kickstarter backer, I was able to get my Sleeper Hold set for $29. However, on their site, a single set retails for $75. As of this writing (which is just ahead of Black Friday), a single Sleeper Hold is on sale for $48.75.

What's Included with Sleeper Hold

My Kickstarter package included a pillow, a universal seat strap, an eye mask, metal hooks, plastic hooks (for car travel), and a bag to carry it all. It looks as though the retail version includes all of these as well as fun patches that can be attached to the eye mask. These include phrases such as “Do Not Disturb,” “Wake for Food,” and “Sorry 4 Snoring.” You can also buy additional hooks, an extra mask, a bag, and more on the Sleeper Hold site.

My experience with Sleeper Hold

First, there is good and bad news regarding the size of the Sleeper Hold pillow. While the bag containing all of the necessary parts did fit easily enough into my Away backpack, it also took up a decent amount of room. Granted, I don’t know how much smaller you could conceivably make it and have it be effective — but accommodating the pillow was a factor in how I packed my personal items.

Knowing I definitely wanted to use my Sleeper Hold on our flight from Detroit to Incheon, I attached the strap to my seat’s headrest soon after boarding. I also elected to put the pillow itself under the strap, regardless of whether or not this is how it was intended (honestly, I’m not sure but it worked). I then tested attaching the eye mask portion but decided to leave that off until I was really ready to sleep.

A bonus of using the Sleeper Hold pillow was that it freed up the Delta-provided pillow to be used for lumbar support — something I’ve found makes long haul flights a bit more bearable. Incidentally, the seat next to me somehow ended up going unoccupied so I could have stolen that pillow as well… but that’s not the point.

When I felt sufficiently tired, I attached the eye mask to the strap I’d set up. I then spent a couple of minutes adjusting the strap to be a comfortable level of tightness. I also chose to dig the back of my head into the pillow a bit more so that it was flatter and didn’t push my neck out quite as much. Once these things were settled, I… slept!

Sleeper Hold tied to an airplane headrest

Was it the best sleep I’ve ever had on a plane? Well, I’ll say it was the best sleep I’ve ever had in Economy (#humblebrag). The Sleeper Hold worked as intended and there wasn’t a single instance where I felt myself falling forward. At the same time, I also didn’t feel overly constricted or constrained by the straps. Plus, in the moments when I did wake up and wanted to see out into the world, it was easy enough to either flip up the bottom half of the eye mask or just slide it up onto my forehead. Also, speaking of the eye mask, I thought it worked well on its own and felt fantastic.

Although my flight back to Detroit from Seoul was mercilessly shorter than the way out, it was still a long haul to be sure. So, I once again planned to employ the Sleeper Hold. This time around, though, I opted to strap the Delta pillow down while leaving the Sleeper Hold one in my bag (happenstance somehow led me to have two Delta pillows and blankets on this flight). Honestly, this strategy worked equally as well — if not better since the pillow was more normally shaped and, thus, was easier to strap down. More importantly, though, it means that I could likely leave the Sleeper Hold pillow behind on future trips if I know that I’ll be given another pillow and just employ the strap with eye mask.

To be clear, this isn’t to say that the Sleeper Hold pillow isn’t good — it’s just that I think I’d personally prioritize the space in my bag. Perhaps I’ll feel differently with more trips under my belt, but that’s where my head is now (no pun intended).

By the way, I really wanted to get a photo of myself in full Sleep Hold mode. Unfortunately, selfies were difficult and my wife wasn’t seated near me on either of our long flights. Sorry.

Final Thoughts on the Sleeper Hold Travel Pillow

Overall, the Sleeper Hold met my expectations and solved a problem I’ve personally experienced on numerous occasions. Even if I don’t have strong opinions on the quality of the pillow itself, the Sleeper Hold system is one I can definitely endorse. Sure, it may look a little weird — but the sleep I was able to get as a result of this simple solution is well worth it.

With that said, if this product really does retail for $75… that’s a bit high. Interestingly, it does look as though Sleeper Hold does sell individual parts as well. So, if you decide that another pillow will suffice, you could just purchase the eye mask, hooks, and strap for half the price (based on the retail price, that is).

Personally, I’m glad I got my Sleeper Hold during the Kickstarter campaign and will definitely bring it along for future travels. But would I buy another? I would like to get my wife one — especially after she had a chance to try mine — however, I’ll be waiting for a good deal.

Author

Kyle Burbank

Kyle is a freelance writer and author whose first book, "The E-Ticket Life" is now available on Amazon. In addition to his weekly "Money at 30" column on Dyer News, he is also the editorial director and a writer for the Disney fan site LaughingPlace.com and the founder of Money@30.com.

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