What to Do If You Forget Your Sleep Mask

This content was created by the National Sleep Foundation

If donning a sleep mask is a permanent part of your bedtime routine, then you know that it can be a hard habit to give up. In fact, you might even feel like you're addicted to using it.

After all, it can be quite useful. When light disrupts your zzz's, whether it's from your partner’s bedside lamp, a nightlight, the glow of a computer screen, or a streetlight that floods into your bedroom window, your sleep may be worsened. When it's dark, however, your body produces more melatonin, the hormone that helps regulate your internal body clock, so you can fall asleep faster.

Wearing a sleep mask ensures that as much light as possible is blocked out, and the darker your sleeping environment is, the more melatonin your body produces. In fact, people who wear eye masks and earplugs when they sleep spend more time in the restful REM stage of sleep, wake up less often throughout the night, and, overall, have a better night’s rest.

But what happens if you, say, visit a friend or relative and—gasp!—forget to put it in your suitcase? Have no fear. These are some key ways to cope.

  1. Buy a New One.
  2. Sleep masks can usually be found at drug stores, as well as airports, and the good news is that each usually costs less than $5 to $10. If you're at a hotel, check to see whether the kiosk in the lobby sells any.

  1. Keep the Second One in your Suitcase.
  2. It pays to have a pair. That way, the next time you go on a trip, you won't have to remember to bring your sleep mask with you. You can simply keep one in your nightstand drawer and the other in your luggage.

  1. Darken the Room.
  2. If you can't get your hands on a sleep mask, don't fret. Just set up your bedroom for sleep success. Make sure that all the lights are off, close the curtains all the way so they overlap, and shut off and hide any tech gadgets that produce light (and noise) so that you have the best shot at falling asleep.