How many times have you been on a plane or train dozing off, only to experience that incessant head bob?
We’re not meant to sleep sitting up, but nonetheless we’re forced to when we travel. That’s why a number of creative people have developed products all promising to help you catch some zzz’s on the go — and one is taking the world by storm: the NodPod.
Going beyond the typical neck pillow you've seen in airport stores — and recently on Michael Phelps — this new contraption has been dubbed the “head hammock” because it cradles your head by holding your chin in place with a piece of memory foam and chords that hook on to the back of your seat.
"The NodPod recreates how you sleep on a bed but in an upright position,” reads the company’s website.
The inspiration for the design came when Creative Director Paula Blankenship was traveling for work and suffering from sleep problems.
“I traveled a lot working for a commercial real estate developer and was on a plane every other week,” she told TODAY. “It was misery flying. I was trying to get comfortable and get some sleep, but no matter what, I never achieved rest on a plane.”
That’s until on one Southwest flight she had the idea to tie her scarf around the chair to cradle her head and finally was able to sleep soundly.
“It hit me like a bolt of lightning and as soon as I got home I made the prototype for the NodPod,” Blankenship said. "I made it out of straps in the beginning, but then realized I had to make it smaller and that’s how I came up with the chord design.”
Blankenship set up an online funding page on Kickstarter to raise money for her idea and reached her goal of $20,000 in the first 10 days. The number soon reached $125,000 and kept going.
“I couldn’t believe it,” she said.
While a number of similar products have hit the market, like the FaceCradle Travel Pillow, the NodPod received its patent for the design because of the over seat chords.
“A lot of the problems with some of the other neck pillows on the market is that they don’t work for tall people,” noted Blankenship. “You can be 6’4" and still use the NodPod because it’s adjustable. It also doesn’t interfere with the person’s seat back display behind you on a flight. You can also wear it over your eyes or on your forehead.”
That sounds great and all, but you’re pretty much guaranteed to raise eyebrows while wearing the NodPod.
“You’ll look ridiculous, I’ll give you that,” admitted Blankenship. “But, do you care if you're sleeping? I want to rest. I don't care what I look like. People with their heads bobbing look more ridiculous to me.”