Eye Masks: Deep Sleep Prescription-Free

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You can't crawl into a cave, close your eyes for the winter and emerge to a stabler market. But you can at least guarantee yourself a few good hours of shut-eye at night or on your next flight. To help you achieve total blackout and quality REMs, we've road-tested a variety of eye masks on the market.

The interior of this handcrafted sleep mask feels like it's stitched out of the downiest fleece, while the satin exterior slips easily against surfaces so the Hibermate stays put if you toss and turn. The snug fit was a little too much for this bear, since my eyelids flit and flutter as I fall asleep, and I had some issues adjusting the mask at the bridge of my nose for total darkness. While the two ear "pillows" — both detachable and adjustable — are intended to block sound, I was glad the package came with real ear plugs. The fleece-covered foam cushions did offer a slight additional buffer to noise, however, and they were definitely pillow-like — perfect for those awkward head leans on planes, trains and automobiles. Price: from $24

Glo to Sleep
The Glo to Sleep mask is supposed to calm the storm in your head so you can reach the Land of Nod. You activate the mask's glow-in-the-dark pellets by holding it near a light for 30 seconds, and then kick back and "look up" at the floating, glowing disc shapes (you decide, cosmic snowmen or early Atari video game?). The design is based on meditation practices and scientific research that suggests that looking up and focusing on an object lowers brain-wave frequencies. It did work, as long as I kept looking at the glowing blue saucers, though my obsessive worrying returned whenever I closed my eyes. But after some ebb and flow, I eventually drifted off. That said, even if you don't "turn on" the snuggly foam mask, it still has great coverage and is out-of-this-world comfortable. Price: $49.95

Dreamer and Dream Essence
I've gone to bed with the Dreamer a handful of times. And now I want to marry it. A pillowy bulge lines the bottom of the mask, which feels so light and cushy on the sinuses and allows for hardcore REM action (and for women, protection from make-up smudge during a cat nap). The design blocks out every stray photon of light, and the silky head-strap won't give you any rude awakenings or crude indentations. If you want to spice things up, try the Dream Essence mask, which has a pocket that comes with a sachet filled with lavender and chamomile; it almost made me topple like Dorothy in a field of poppies. After a while I wasn't down with the smell, but you can take the sachet out or add your own. Price: $21.95 for Dreamer; $24.95 for Dream Essence

Tranquileyes Hydrating Therapy
The Tranquileyes kit has received many an accolade from chronic dry-eye sufferers and is also recommended for people who suffer eye discomfort from contact lenses, LASIK surgery and air travel — as well as migraines, allergies and aging. This is a bewildering production involving goggles, hot and cold moisture pads and heat-producing "ThermoEye" gel packs — all meant to create an invigorating yet ailment-easing atmosphere. After peeling off my contacts, I tried the heat therapy using the gel packs — which was like a sauna for my peeps — for 45 minutes. Verdict: Ahhh! Price: from $39

Beaded Bliss
Brain strain, go away... Stick this bead-filled baby in the fridge for 60 minutes (or in the freezer for 15 minutes), Velcro it on and it's like having a Popsicle when you were a kid — it somehow makes everything better. You can also heat the mask up in the microwave (15 seconds) to ease nasal congestion, soothe an allergy-puffed face or just kick back and relax (a mask cover is recommended, which also helps block light). Beaded Bliss, indeed. Price: $7.95 for eye mask; $6.95 for eye-mask cover