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Recently, while listening to a mattress store commercial on the radio, I heard that humans are the most sleep deprived species on earth. It could just be a ploy to get listeners to go mattress shopping. Still, I can relate.
The resting zombie face I've had for way too many days this summer made me decide to try Amazon’s best-selling sleep mask. This $8 eye cover from Alaska Bear worked for the 9,700 reviewers who gave it a cumulative 4.5-star rating. How could it not work for me?
Introducing the softest thing I now own:
Alaska Bear sleep mask, $8, Amazon
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When I pulled the mask out of its packaging, I felt like I was pulling out a tuft of cloud. Despite being only $8, it’s softer than the 100 percent cashmere sweaters in my closet, the 500 thread count sheets on my bed and the expensive body butter in my bathroom. Unlike most eye masks you get last minute in airport shops, this one is soft on both sides. It’s made of hypoallergenic “100 percent top-quality 19 momme natural mulberry silk.” I’m not overly familiar with my silks, but mulberry silk is often referenced as the highest quality silk consumers can buy. On the mask's packaging, Alaska Bear — which, despite its name, is a Chinese company — calls it “the fabric of the emperors.” (It’s also the fabric behind the best-selling pillowcases that prevent bedhead.)
The sleep mask is surprisingly cool and comfortable
I have a fear that if I sleep with anything over my face, it creates a breeding ground for bacteria. This mask doesn’t feel like it’s trapping heat. If it ever did, I could loosen it with the adjustable headband. Unlike the velcro straps of my eye masks past, this one has plastic adjusters that don’t stick to my hair. For me, the fit is fine. But some fans spend $2 more for the upgraded version — it’s basically the same mask with double straps and a nose baffle that you can shape to fit your nose if you’re worried about light coming in from beneath the mask.
It's darker than any blindfold
My parents' house ruined me. I spent the first 17 years of my life sleeping in a dark basement. I had a window the size of my laptop and the closest city lights were seven miles away. As a result, I like my sleep environment like my best friend likes her coffee: black. I now live in a city. So, earlier this summer I invested in a new pair of blackout curtains. They're great, but they don’t do me any good when I’m on the road (I have a travel blog) and my seatmates have reading lights on. Fortunately, I’m finding this mask — which I ordered in basic black, although it's available in 10 colors and prints — to function as blackout curtains over my eyes.
The mask is so dark that when I'm wearing it and still have my eyes open, I sometimes forget I have my eyes open! In fact, it blocks out so much light that I recommend using it instead of a blindfold at parties with piñatas. It will definitely make the game last longer.
You have to hand wash it, so I have another in my cart
As a lazy germophobe, I don’t like that I can’t just toss the sleep mask in the washer on hot and use my detergent with bleach. But, I realize that's a small price to pay for sleeping with silk. The washing instructions for this mask call for hand-washing in cold water with a mild soap or silk detergent. They also recommend dry cleaning. However, there’s no way I’m making a special trip to the dry cleaners downtown for an $8 eye mask. Before it comes to that, I’ll just order another one. Now that I know what back-to-back nights of a full eight hours of sleep feels like, I can’t imagine going to bed without this mask.
Alaska Bear sleep mask, $8, Amazon
We've written about the calming and restorative powers of lavender in the past. This mask combines that relaxing scent with supersoft fabric to take you to a quiet, tranquil place at the end of a busy day.