For the longest time the neck pillow, that horseshoe-shaped padded piece of travel hell, has been the bane of my out of country experiences. The pillows were never comfortable enough to use for sleeping, they didn't fit well in my carry on bag, and quite frankly they were just one more darn thing to keep up with at the airport.

Then came my epiphany on a trip from Toronto Canada to Santiago Chile.

Our flight that night to South America left Toronto at midnight and almost everyone on the plane was ready for sleep. I fidgeted in my seat trying to find comfort with my stupid neck pillow but did not find the kind of comfort necessary for sleep.

That was until a very kind lady seated across the aisle from me explained. "You're using that pillow the wrong way". At first, I was taken aback by such a bold suggestion. Then she explained. Most of us put the neck pillow opening to the front. This allows our chins to drop. That drop will either wake you up or make sure that when you arrive at your destination you won't be able to lift your head because your neck will be so stiff.

The lady explained I needed to turn that horseshoe shape around. When I did I noticed my head could rest against the back of my seat. I also noted that my chin and head were supported in the front and on the sides by the pillow. This made relaxing easier and lo and behold I drifted off to sleep.

It was the longest and best sleep I have ever had on an airplane. So, the next time you need a nap in the friendly skies or on a long car trip or during a conference call remember to grab your neck pillow. But, remember the best way to get the best results out of using it is to wear it backwards from the way everyone else is using it.

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