I am bad at sleeping. As someone who started having bouts of insomnia in sixth grade, I've always been deeply jealous of people who can drift off peacefully and wake up, their slumber uninterrupted, eight hours later. I wake up in the middle of the night, or with the slightest sound. I often do that thing where I wake up ten minutes before my alarm goes off and lay there, cursing my body for letting those extra minutes of rest go by until my clock radio beeps to life. Yes, I know about sleep hygiene, and yes, I know about blackout curtains. But my apartment has so little light as it is that installing bolts of black fabric will turn it into a book-cat-cave. Which is why I am pleased to say that I have finally found the equivalent of portable blackout curtains for your face: the Bucky Ultralight Sleep Mask.
Sleep masks aren't always that great. The ones occasionally given out on airplanes, for example, are designed to lay flat against your eyelid, which feels like you're smushing your face into a pillow. That's restful for some people, I'm sure, but it always made me feel claustrophobic. Add tot hat the thin, elastic straps, which have a tendency to dig into the back of your head or slip down. The Bucky, which will run you a cool $9.99 on Amazon, is designed so that rather than laying flat against your eyelid, it has eye cups. (As Maureen O'Connor points out, they're rather like a bra for your eyes, but don't let that deter you.) You can open your eyes with the mask on, and it will still be dark. It also has a wide elastic band with a velcro closure that's easily adjustable. Plus, it's made out of lightweight foam, so you don't feel like you're wearing something huge on your face.
Bucky makes the eye mask in an array of jaunty colors and patterns-chevrons!-if that's your thing. It's cheap enough that you could have a few lying around if you feel like it. And it really, really works. Having that eye mask with me is the only way that I got any sleep during a recent trip to Mardi Gras in New Orleans, which necessitated sharing a futon mattress on the floor with a friend. The Bucky helps me face the morning-or block it out completely.