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Sleep Mask-erade Party

She likes it dark.  He likes it bright.  She wants it cold.  He's up all night.  What to do when you and your partner don't see eye to eye in the bedroom?  It's not a sexual issue, but rather, a matter of light.  Lisa Mercurio explores the undercover world of eye coverings.

If you were to look at my nightstand, you would see an array of bedtime items: Sabon vanilla massage oil, Sabon foot cream (for my aching runner's feet), an iHome, a Kindle and a pile of different sleep masks.  I’ve written about sleep masks before and have sampled them off and on, though these days, mostly on.  If you’re like me, you are probably finding that the change over to EST (eastern standard time) has had the sunlight streaming in far too early.  5:45 AM. Ah yes.  Mr. Golden Sun.  Though I love him, if he wakes me before I’m capable of behaving in a civilized manner, it’s a pox on my loved ones.


So, I’ve ventured deeply into the world of black out shades and sleep masks.  During a recent visit to the Weill/Cornell Sleep Center, I noticed the black out shades on the windows.  They are formidable, blocking all but the faintest crack of outside light.  While there, I eyed them enviously.  Imagine taking your sleep so seriously that you wouldn’t allow a speck of extraneous light in your bedroom lest it disturb your slumber.  Black out shades might seem like a luxury, and it would seem that those that participate in the luxury lifestyle are first to swear by them (for instance, I know of one or two major, touring pop artists that require them in their hotel rooms by contract).  They are also fantastic when dealing with the effects of jet lag, but when too much light can mean the difference between you and a good night's sleep, you've got to do what's right for you, right?


Alas, I do not have black out shades at home.  Instead, I have an Asian-style, bamboo pull shade, a honeycomb set of Levolors and a set of linen curtains, none of which block the morning light nor the evening’s ambient street lights. Three separate window treatments and yet my boudoir is way too illuminated.  Of course, the real reason for all of this is that my sweetheart prefers the light and is vehemently opposed to the concept of black out anything.  I alas, do not.  What to do if you are the part of a couple that loves that “cave-like” feeling and your partner does not?


Sleep masks!


I have extolled the virtue of the airline freebie: light-weight, one size fits all when you find yourself on a red-eye.  But in the comfort of your own home, there are now some great new options.  Enter: 40 Blinks.  I love this sleep mask.  It actually looks like a mini bra (Victoria Secret style) for your eyes.  It leaves no marks and it is blacker than the blackest, black out shades. Safely ensconced in my own, private dream world, the "Bucky" comes in lots of colors and has a velcro adjustable strap in the back for comfort.  The nicest thing about the 40 Blinks mask is that it doesn't rub up against your eye lashes.  You could blink one hundred times, and there's no element of friction.  


I've also recently demoed the Dream Zone Sleep Mask by Earth Therapeutics.  Comfortable and lightweight, you will also be enveloped in inky darkness.  The difference here is that the mask rests against your eyelids so you will feel the beat of your lashes against the surface when you blink.  This is the perfect traveling mask as it can crunch down into even the tiniest handbag. 


There are no sleep mask rules.  You can start your night without one (I do), and then slip it on when you waken at 3 or 3:30 for Mother Nature's first call.  You can even wait to slip it on when that first hint of light threatens to disturb your peace and serenity. One thing's for sure: wearing your sleep mask tells the immediate world, "hey, do you mind?  I'm sleeping under here." 


Buona notte.