In my prime, I used to be able to doze off in the most egregious settings: lights on, in a loud room, wearing jeans. My normal sleep routine went like this:
- Make the room cold by cracking a window.
- Transfer Orson from his spot on my pillow to the lower quarters of my bed.
- This step is crucial: Load up my iPad with a “sleep show." Putting on something to stream comforts me because it reminds me of falling asleep as a kid, when my parents were awake in the next room. (Most recently, my sleep show is Bon Appétit’s Gourmet Makes. I like Claire’s wry delivery and problem-solving prowess.)
- Orson walks up beside me, plops down, and shares my pillow.
- Zoink out shortly thereafter.
At some point over the last few months, something changed. I suddenly became hyper aware of my diaphanous eyelids—those things are paper-thin. Rather than a salve, the flickering of my iPad became an unbearable distraction and I just couldn’t fall asleep. Coloring myself the logical type, I tried omitting the sleep show pillar of my routine. (Sorry, Claire.) Rookie move. The silence was unbearable in a different way. It made my gears turn until the wee hours of the morning. I cycled through white noise apps, podcasts, and thunderstorm sounds on Spotify to middling success. (Too colorless, too monotone, too Rainforest Cafe.)
I purchased a sleep mask and went back to my nighttime programming. Every morning, I awoke looking like I had strip-harvested my hairline for transplantation surgery. How do people sleep with elastic strapped to their domes? I then spent several weeks resigned to a towel draped over the top half of my face. Sometimes, it would slip and block the nose that I breathe out of. Other times, it would just cover my entire face like the Shroud of Turin. Categorically not sexy. Finally some good news: I discovered weighted eye blankets.
Nodpod’s sleep mask looks more like The Very Hungry Caterpillar than it does a sleep mask. It’s like a scarf with four bead-filled segments. Here’s how I use it: For quick naps, I’ll just lay it over my eyes. The heft keeps it in place. At night, I’ll loosely secure the ends together so I can roll around as I please. No elastic or Velcro means no pinches or pokes. In this configuration, two lumps are on my eyes and the other two are over my ears, blocking light and muffling sound. I can roll around and feel cushioned from every side. In short, it’s like an ostrich pillow for someone who values their appearance.
Like with its sister blankets, the first use is a new sensation. Delighting, but unfamiliar. It’s not oppressive. It’s just like a handful of beans that conform to your orbital socket, inducing that heavy-eye feeling. Imagine two chinchillas sitting on your lids. Doesn’t that sound nice? It wasn’t long until I couldn’t fathom sleeping without it. These days, my waking hours are quite fraught on their own. The least I can do is get a good night’s rest.
Photo via ITG.