The first time I used a sleep mask I was on a 12 hour flight from California to Paris. It was an overnight flight and they gave us an accessory kit. Inside were ear plugs, handy wipes and a thin, blue cloth sleep mask. Although I usually couldn’t sleep on planes and I was very excited about going to Europe, the long hours got to me and eventually I placed the mask on my face, leaned back in my seat and was able to drift off.
When I awoke I was quite disoriented. I managed to stumble off the plane, collect my bags and find my way into a taxi that took me to the charming room where I was staying in the neighborhood near the Sorbonne. I was on a budget trip to France and Italy and I had booked a room above a boulangerie that had the most delectable croissants.
During the next couple of days I found that sleep mask very helpful, as I gradually made the adjustment to a time zone with a 9 hour difference. The sleep mask enabled me to take naps during the day and shut out the light so I could sleep.
When I returned home I found that I wanted to continue using the sleep mask because it enabled me to sleep in on those days when I didn’t have to get up early, since it helped shut out the morning light that would have awakened me. Of course the mask from the airline was rather flimsy so I set about making some of my own.
When I decided to make my own sleep masks I wanted them to be really soft and cozy so I used velour fabric and filled them with a little cotton batting so that they would rest very comfortably on my face. I made a bunch of them and kept one by my bedside and one in each of my suitcases and another in my guest room.
One time I left my sleep mask at a friend’s house by mistake when I had been visiting her. She started using it and liked it so much I let her keep it since I had several others. When we started Travel Whisperers I thought the sleep masks would be a nice accessory to go along with our recordings. I’m all about the softness, whether it’s a soothing voice or an eye mask to shut out the light.