Posted tagged ‘Eye mask’

Eye masks

July 20, 2015

Here’s how not to use eye masks: get one that’s too tight.  Yes, it stays on better, but then you end up at the optician’s complaining that you have hours of blurry vision every morning, due to the pressure on your eyes.  At least, I did, and I felt like a right noodle once I realised what was most likely causing it.  The offending eye mask was one by Muji which seems to have been withdrawn by now, and had strange double straps that were meant to go around your ears and didn’t.  Perhaps it was too small for everyone, since I’m a small woman and anything that’s tight on my head is unlikely to fit that many people.  Their current models look a lot more comfortable.

Eye masks are the sort of thing where there is a great deal on the market and you can usually find something to suit your taste.  In the past I’ve relied on blackout curtain linings instead, but I now have a partner who prefers to have some light coming through in order to wake him up in the morning, so this was the easiest solution.  My own preference is for cotton, soft and flexible, and I wanted something more substantial than the standard cheapie ones.

 Lewis Clark eye mask

After reading Amazon reviews and noting many complaints that dark coloured eye masks would bleed colour onto the bedding, I bought the Lewis Clark eye mask, which comes in a variety of colours.  It’s currently £13.99.  Years of early exposure to “girls must like pink” have caused my attitude towards pink to be ARGGH GET IT OFF ME, so I plumped for the turquoise, which is more of a soft sea green.  The bedding remains unharmed, and it’s a colour which I can spot when it’s fallen off and hidden in the covers somewhere.  The drawback with a lighter colour is that it isn’t a complete blackout mask.  They should look into a layer of dark fabric in the middle, as the inside is a lightish grey.  You don’t really notice unless the room is quite brightly lit, though.

After the business with the eye mask that was too tight, one of the most alluring features of this mask was that it has an adjustable strap.  It’s a good wide piece of elastic, too, unlike the narrow stringy things on cheaper eye masks that stretch out before long.  The mask still falls off my head every now and again, but I suppose nothing is perfect, and I’ve always managed to hunt it down again in the morning.  The cover is a soft plush, the inside is comfortable even for my ultra-fussy skin, it feels breathable rather than sweaty, and the sort of flap at the bottom does a reasonably good job of blocking out light that might seep in around your nose.

To be honest, if you want something that offers a complete black-out, you probably need the sort of rigid eye mask that looks like you’re wearing bulbous goggles.  I’ve had one of those and found it rather uncomfortable, although not as uncomfortable as my partner did when it collided with his face!  No one wants an eye mask that threatens to leave bruises if you happen to have a sleepy snuggle, after all.  So I reckon this is a good compromise between blacking out the light completely, comfort, and not leaving peculiar bluish stains on my bed linen.

Rating: 4 out of 5.

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Sleep in total darkness and quiet

January 26, 2010

Make your sleeping environment as dark and quiet as you possibly can.  If you have tinnitus or are troubled by background noise, look into getting a white noise generator.  I was given this one on the NHS by my hearing therapist, and it was very useful when I was living in a noisy place and with a landlord who liked to play loud music at interesting hours, not to mention helpful when I was going through a spell of bad tinnitus.  It makes a variety of sounds as well as white noise, which is useful as it’s normal to find that some or most of the sounds annoy you, while there may be only one that you find soothing.  I personally liked the rain one.  It can also be plugged into a special pillow if you have a partner.

The rule for how dark your bedroom should be at night is that you should not be able to see your hand in front of your face.  I used to sleep with an eye mask on, but while my one was also good for dry eyes it was not a particularly friendly thing if you have a partner (he used to call me Bug Lady ,and would yelp if the bulbous shape of the eye mask hit him during sleepy cuddles), plus I decided that I wanted to try dawn simulation again.  There is some research suggesting that light is taken in by the skin as well as by the eyes, so some people think an eye mask won’t do if the room isn’t dark enough.  There are several views on the subject, though, and personally I wouldn’t worry about it.  If an eye mask suits you and doesn’t fall off during the night, then go for it, it’s a nice easy solution.

Once I stopped using the eye mask, I had to go to quite a lot of effort and a certain amount of expense to get the room as dark as possible.  There’s a borrowed light above the bedroom door which lets in light from the hall (which itself lets in light from the stairwell through a borrowed light above the front door), and I taped a piece of blackout fabric onto that shortly after I originally moved in years ago. The curtains are beige and glow nicely when the light comes through, even when I have my not-terribly-efficient blackout blind down, so I bought blackout curtain linings and they improved matters quite a lot.  Lots of light still came in around the sides and top, so I bought self-adhesive velcro and stuck one side to the window surround and stapled the other side to the blackout linings, thus blocking off the light at the sides.  I did spend a while still being woken by the small amount of dawn light coming over the top of the curtain rail, but this settled after a while.  I don’t know whether it was an adjustment period or whether it was because winter set in and it was still dark when my alarm went off.   I found that it took me a while to get used to not having the eye mask on any more, for some reason, but I now sleep absolutely fine without it.

All of this would have been considerably simpler if I did not have 10′ high ceilings, which meant that my original curtains had to be custom-made, the only affordable blackout blind available was a cheap and nasty thing from Ikea which was still a few inches too short, and I had to buy extra pieces of blackout fabric and sew extensions onto the blackout curtain linings.  If I ever have to start over with a similar type of flat, I think I’ll look into the cost of having shutters made instead.