Finding Your Cave with Sleep Master
Sleep doctors such as myself typically spend quite a bit of time educating our patients about proper sleep hygiene, which refers to the optimal behaviors that promote better sleep. Since light exposure is highly disruptive to sleep, one of the major commandments of sleep hygiene has always been that bedrooms should achieve "cave-like" darkness. Humans have exquisitely sensitive retinal ganglion cells in our eyes that detect even the faintest amount of light and send feedback to our brains to wake up. The party line from sleep docs has been that you should use blackout window treatments or black trash bags to ensure that no light gets into your bedroom. I was one of these docs until I learned the hard way, several years ago, that there is another, "outside-the-box" solution.
As a firm believer in walking the walk, and not liking the aesthetics of a window looking like it was sponsored by Glad, I spent over $3,000 to black out the bedroom of my condominium with window treatments. It was an effective solution, albeit one that cost an arm and a leg.
However, the problem with light reared its ugly head during travel to conferences and speaking engagements, when I had to sleep outside of my expensive cave. My nurse, Sylvia, was the one who introduced me to quality eye masks. I had been complaining in the sleep clinic's lunch room about my difficulty managing light on the road. and she told me that her apartment's bedroom had a skylight, and the only way that she was able to sleep past sunrise was with her sleep mask. Admittedly, I was skeptical at first. Eye masks had never held much stock with me because my only experience with them had been limited to the flimsy, polyester-based, uncomfortable ones that the airlines handed out to you on long-haul flights. I decided to give it a try and bought a mask similar to Sylvia's; it completely solved the problem! I was amazed at the degree of blackout that it provided - there was literally no light seeping in from the sides. I truly couldn't even tell what time it was with the mask on, the ideal situation for sleep. I kicked myself, realizing that I could have entirely solved my problem for about 1% of the cost of my bedroom's blackout window treatments!
Last year I learned about the Sleep Master Sleep Mask through Tim Ferriss' podcast. As a devotee of Tim and, based on the inclusion of the product in his list of essentials for getting better sleep, I decided to give one a shot. I have to say that I completely agree with Tim. The mask's design leads to absolutely no pressure on my eyes, which is very important for comfort. The Sleep Master is a great product at a great price and we think so highly of it that we now carry it (and its cousin, the Sleep Master Deluxe Sleep Mask) in our online store.
Please feel free to share your experience with Sleep Master products below and help educate out community!
Joseph Krainin M.D., FAASM is the founder of Singular Sleep, the world's first online sleep center. He is a Fellow of the American Academy of Sleep Medicine and board certified in both sleep medicine and neurology. He has been practicing medicine for over 10 years.
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