Hibermate Sleep Mask: The Review

We don’t have curtains in our house. My wife’s not too fussed by daylight in the morning and I have a Hibermate sleep mask. I’ve had a Hibermate sleep mask for donkey’s yonks and recently purchased one of the new models which they introduced with their successful Kickstarter campaign.

(image from Hibermate)

The original idea behind the Hibermate was a sleep mask that incorporated sound mitigation via rubber pads that sat over your ears. I have to confess that I threw away the rubber pads. I liked the Hibermate because it was the best most comfortable sleep mask on the market. The light blocking was complete. With these things you could sleep through a killer solar flare (what do NASA know!) and wake up to the end of the world as we know it feeling rested and ready to deal with it.
Now they have a new model with a new take on blocking sound and light while you sleep. Loving Hibermate the way I do I bought into the Kickstarter campaign straight away and got the new model delivered at campaign’s end. I was impressed with the product I received but didn’t actually have a need for it. I already had a great sleep mask that I was totally happy with. So what did I want another mask for? Well, I discovered a use during my recent travels, wearing the Hibermates on planes, trains and buses from here to Vietnam and back.

Hibermate: The Good, The Bad And The Snugly

What separates the new Hibermate from the old Hibermate (and every other sleep mask on the market) is how they block sound. If you’ve ever worn a pair of ear muffs when you’re on the tools then you’ll know how established sound prevention works. You have a solid outer muff that forms a cavity that’s padded out by a sound mitigating foam.The Hibermate’s work on a similar design, except solid ear muffs would be uncomfortable to sleep in. They have a rubbery-silicon-type outer padded by a foam-type rubber. They’re similar to the ear muffs that save you from industrial deafness but a lot more comfortable when you sleep in them.
In terms of blocking sounds, they’re not as effective as industrial quality ear muffs. You wouldn’t want to get get out the hammer drill while you’re wearing your Hibermate. Quite apart from anything else you wouldn’t be able to see what you were doing with the mask on. What I can say about the sound blocking is it’s better than anything else available on the sleep mask market. If you’ve ever tried to sleep with something you thought was comfortable, like those squishy ear plug things, and woken up several hours later in pain, you’ll know how important the comfort side of this equation is.  In terms of a compromise between comfort and sound mitigation they’re just about spot on.
What I loved about the original Hibermate’s was how snugly they fitted. They required no effort to fit them properly in order to block the light. Dragging them on at 4:30am (as the Gold Coast summer sun rises…yes we have no daylight savings!) barley broke the crust of my sleep. The new Hibermate’s didn’t seem quite so snug when I unpacked them and tried them on. (Of course, this is something like doing a car-park test loop on a new bike. It’s not always an accurate way to test things.) I felt that the mask part of the Hibermate was too wide, forcing the ear muffs just a little too far apart to sit on my ears properly. Or maybe I had inadvertently discovered my strange genetic abnormality and now I know that my ears are too close together. 
The Hibermate’s sat in my drawer for several months. It wasn’t until my holiday to Vietnam that I dragged them out. In use I forgot about my initial impression about the width of the mask. I wore them during an overnight jaunt to KL and never thought twice about them.
One of the ways I used the mask most was with headphones in. When you’re traveling you learn to value a short kip. Being able to pop the ear-bud headphones in, set some music and don the mask was wonderful. I tuned out from my surroundings and dozed off without a problem. The Hibermate caused no discomfort and helped make that separation from the world around me more complete.
I’ve enjoyed the Hibermate since returning from my holidays. Having discovered how good they are with headphones in has been a bonus. I came down with the dreaded lurgy on my return and on the weekend a mid-arvo nap was just the thing to take the edge off it. I popped the ear-bud headphones in, put the Hibermate over that and let myself doze for an hour. Wonderful. 
There’s been a whole lotta talk lately on the benefits of napping on your cognitive and creative faculties. I could easily convince my boss on the need for a mid-arvo nap to revive my faculties (he’s me) but he’s too tight to buy one of those Google sleep pods. But who needs a sleep pod when you can tune out with some tunes in and a Hibermate sleep mask? Now I just have to explain it to my team of flying monkeys why it is I’m sleeping mid-arvo and they’re still chained to their work stations.
The Hibermate sleep mask is comfortable to sleep in, does a decent job of blocking sound, and a great job of blocking light. I’m not aware of another sleep mask that blocks sound so as a sleep mask they’re in a field of their own. If you’re a shift worker, traveler or just want a mid-arvo nap to restore your faculties then the Hibermate should be your new friend.

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