Travel Gear Review: Does Bucky’s 40 Blinks Sleep Mask Really Help?

Oct 1, 2017

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Can four stars and 1,300-plus Amazon reviews be wrong? From the looks of things online, the Bucky 40 Blinks Sleep Mask seems to be an obsession for certain folks. As a notoriously sporadic sleeper — I haven’t clocked eight hours for a solid week in my life — I wanted to see if this seemingly magical device could improve my shut-eye. So I tested it a few environments. Because if there’s one thing nearly everyone can agree on, it’s that sleeping well, especially on a long-haul flight or in a mediocre hotel bed, is the best remedy for travel fatigue. 

The Specs

So, it looks like a bra. That’s obvious. Sleeker and nearly double the size of the eye masks you receive in business or first class, it has molded cups and a thick band with Velcro that firmly straps on. The cups are what sets Bucky apart: Unlike the solid rectangular fabric of a typical mask, this one has individually molded eye cups half an inch deep so you can blink without smashing your eyelashes.

The Look

I’ve never done the math, but eye mask wearers seem disproportionately female. Maybe it’s the old “get your beauty rest” mantra, or because masks come in colors called Leopard Ice and Peach Mimosa. There are 24 colors to choose from, and the brand recently released a handful of new shades like Sea Glass, pictured above. And yes, there’s plain black, for those who refuse to make a style statement. Made of polyester and foam, the fabric rebounds quickly even when squished.

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Trying It on at Home

Hotels can be unpredictable and flights never get close to pitch-black, so for my first test run, I tried out Bucky in the brightest place in the world: my bedroom. Light streams in from surrounding street lamps, a skylight and, of course, my iPhone — somewhere, Arianna Huffington is huffing about my inadequate sleep environment.

My first night with Bucky wasn’t eventful — and that was the point. You know how you feel after a solid eight hours of sleep, like you traded in your body for a new model overnight? That’s how I felt after only five hours. I actually felt rested. Even more miraculous was that the eye mask was still on my face. I’m no manic thrasher, but I know I shift around enough that every other cheap eye mask has ended up on the wrong side of the bed in the morning. At nine by three inches, this one stayed on my face. And that wouldn’t be our only night together.

Testing It on the Plane

My next excursion was, of course, to take Bucky up in the air. I had a three-hour daytime flight and a nap was more appealing than checking emails, so I unfolded Bucky and slapped it around my head. Smaller than a pair of socks, the mask takes up negligible space in your carry-on. While it completely blocked out light — you truly can’t see a thing — I wasn’t carried off to dreamland. For that, I would have required a sedative, ear plugs and a lie-flat seat. But the mask did help to isolate me from the hundreds of people who were crunching their free cookies and chips in my general vicinity.

The Details

So what’s the catch? It’s one more item to remember to pack, one more item to possibly lose, one more item to buy — a seemingly pointless purchase if you already have freebies floating around your home. It’s hand-wash only, of course. Overall though, the price is reasonable for this level of quality. The eye mask is available for $13.99 on Amazon.com, as well as on Bucky’s website.

The Takeaway

“Light at night suppresses the production of melatonin — our major sleep hormone. This is especially true of blue light, such as that emitted by televisions, computers, cell phones and other electronics,” Robert S. Rosenberg, D.O., author of Sleep Soundly Every Night, Feel Fantastic Every Day, told Glamour. “The mask guarantees you darkness,” Rosenberg added. 

If your sleep is in rough shape, this might improve your winks. For less than $15, and without the aid of a drug, you could find yourself sleeping more deeply, and that alone is comforting — and supportive to your overall health. 

All images courtesy of Bucky. 

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