Need mask suggestions *not* for halloween
October 28, 2012 1:26 PM   Subscribe

Just lost the eye mask I purchased from an airport Brookstone years ago. My last purchase was due to necessity. This time, I would like to do my best to make an informed choice. Also, to get me through the next few nights, what piece of clothing will be the best substitute?

A few years ago I purchased the eye mask referenced above and have started sleeping with it nightly, as I've grown to like the darkness (it is my ally) for sleeping. I just emptied my bags and found I've lost it in my travels today. So, I have two questions:

1. What should I be looking for in a sleeping mask? The one I had was okay, but I don't really have any idea what I might be missing. Any particular suggestions? Bonus points if I can find it in Frankfurt, Germany without treking out to the airport (I was *just* there and would have bought the first one I saw if I knew it was missing ARG!); super bonus points if near the Suedbanhof.

2. After assessing the blinds in the place I'll be staying for the next two weeks and finding them completely inadequate for complete light blockage, what are your strategies for blocking the light for sleeping?
posted by chiefthe to Clothing, Beauty, & Fashion (21 answers total) 13 users marked this as a favorite
Best answer: I've tried, if I am staying alone in a hotel room, hanging an extra towel up over the window, either or under the curtain window hangings. It's really dependent on how big the window is whether this will work for you, though.

You can also use a hand towel over your eyes before you fall asleep, but of course it's not going to stay in place like an eye mask would once you start tossing and turning.
posted by misha at 1:30 PM on October 28, 2012

Knee sock, lightly tied around your forehead. Clean, unworn.
posted by Ideefixe at 1:34 PM on October 28, 2012 [1 favorite]

IMO the best sleep masks a comfortable, have a bit of a seal to actually keep out the light, and have indents or cutouts over the eyes so they don't press on your eyeballs. Something like the Mindfold should do nicely.
posted by rhiannonstone at 1:35 PM on October 28, 2012 [1 favorite]

I keep meaning to buy an eye mask... in the meantime, I usually have something covering my eyes -- basically from my nose right above where I breathe, to the top of my head. At home I use a pillow (I have thin feather pillows that are great) and on the road it's usually a sweatshirt or sweater.
posted by DoubleLune at 1:36 PM on October 28, 2012

Bandannas have worked tolerably well for me on a bunch of occasions. Softer, more worn-in ones tend to be better.
posted by brennen at 1:41 PM on October 28, 2012

I went looking around and found to my surprise that one of the highest rated sleep masks on Amazon is this one, which is also one of the least expensive!

Seems like the thing you most have to worry about is the elastic breaking on them. Also, not sure whether you prefer the ones that come with molded eye cups (that would work with a sleep apnea machine too) or just a soft mask that's comfortable?
posted by misha at 1:43 PM on October 28, 2012

Also look for masks that have a proper cut-out for your nose. Cheap ones tend to try to cover the bridge of your nose, which creates a gap, letting light in.
posted by smirkette at 2:11 PM on October 28, 2012 [1 favorite]

I sleep in a sleep cap through most of the winter and I just pull it down over my eyes in the morning. There is a lot you can do to keep light out of a room from the very non-intrusive "use clothespins to keep the gaping curtains closed" all the way to "put aluminum foil over the windows" you may look nutty but you will be in a dark place.

Usually I go somewhere between and have a towel or something else that I'll tack up over the windows. If you put pushpins into the top of the window moldings, instead of in the front, it won't make unsightly pin holes.
posted by jessamyn at 2:25 PM on October 28, 2012

This is my favorite sleep mask. I like the molded eye cups, as I don't care for anything touching my eyes, and the adjustable strap. I had to learn to sleep with eye masks, as my partner uses her computer and phone late into the night, and this is the solution I found that most mimics sleeping without a mask.
posted by studioaudience at 2:36 PM on October 28, 2012

I am a sleep mask fiend. This is by far the best I have owned. It looks very similar to the one studioaudience recommended.
posted by zug at 3:27 PM on October 28, 2012

I'm on my 2nd one of these over the course of a few years and love it.
posted by Exchequer at 3:53 PM on October 28, 2012

My husband and I have these, and we've been pretty happy with them. Mine works fine with my CPAP machine.
posted by palmcorder_yajna at 4:18 PM on October 28, 2012

When I don't have a sleep mask, I drape the arm of a long-sleeved shirt or sweater over my eyes. Of course, this requires adjusting if you move, but I move a lot when I'm falling asleep and I find the shirt-arm to still be much better than nothing!

My criteria for a good sleep mask: Has a bridge-of-nose cutout, as mentioned, and also has some fabric flap around the bridge of the nose to block light leaks there. Soft, doesn't press on eyes, and has a wide and adjustable strap for comfort. I had this one from REI and it served me well during my most recent travels (until I lost it - left it on a train!).

I've never had to try to track down a sleep mask in Germany, but a quick Google shows me that the drugstore/make-up store/whatever-it-is Douglas at least sells sleep masks online, so you could try one of those.
posted by mandanza at 5:27 PM on October 28, 2012

Tempur-Pedic makes a very nice sleep mask. It's not cheap but it works very well.
posted by brianogilvie at 5:34 PM on October 28, 2012

I use a sleep mask every night and my favorite is the Dreamfold, the one Misha recommends above. The one zug recommends is also a good one.

Do not get the Mindfold. It's uncomfortable and bulky and the foam makes you sweat.
posted by Sal and Richard at 5:39 PM on October 28, 2012

I've used a folded towel in a pinch!

When I was a kid we stayed in a summer condo that had terrible blinds. My parents used big pushpins and tacked up a blanket over the window.
posted by radioamy at 6:08 PM on October 28, 2012

As a temporary measure, a pair of undies worn over your head like a cap can work really well to block light, and won't fall off if you roll over in your sleep.
posted by Brody's chum at 6:48 PM on October 28, 2012

When putting clothing over your face to block out the light, dark-colored clothing is much more effective than light clothing.
posted by Eater at 7:46 PM on October 28, 2012

In high school I owned a sleep mask that had two elastic straps, which criss-crossed over the back of the head. It stayed on superbly well and was very comfortable. Unfortunately, it was stolen by my college roommate, and I don't know the brand so I've never been able to find a replacement. Googling has not yielded anything. If you can find a sleep mask with two straps, my vote is for getting one, and then telling me about it so I can get one too.
posted by SeedStitch at 5:34 AM on October 29, 2012

I sleep with a pillow under my head and one on top of my head to block out the light. Works great and after doing it for a couple days, you manage to keep the pillow on top of your head all night long.
posted by jabes at 9:51 AM on October 29, 2012

Response by poster: Thanks for the tips on the sleep masks! I'll need to go to a few stores and see what I can find (can't shop online currently as my location isn't static enough).

For those curious regarding my short-term solution, my window is small enough to cover with a couple blankets, held in-place by a slightly open window. I can't cover 100% of the window, but manage about 97%, and bunch the blinds over the 3%. It works pretty well to keep the room quite dark for the evening.
posted by chiefthe at 12:01 AM on October 30, 2012

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