It’s 5:47 a.m. and my roommate is rummaging around the room, trying to find her water bottle before crew practice. The florescent lights that are typical of dorms and other large, box-like buildings are blaring, awakening me from a wonderful dream about waffles and golden retriever puppies.

My roommate finds her water bottle and heads to practice, but it’s too late. I’m already awake, and now the sun is starting to rise, filling the room with a beautiful golden glow.

However magnificent the sunrise, though, I’m begging for just a few more hours of restful, comatose sleep. But what can I do when I’m already awake and thinking about all the things on my to-do list?

I like the bedroom to be nice and dark when I sleep—no distractions; no lights to wake me up from the little sleep I can fit in on a weeknight in college. That’s why I use a sleep mask to block out any extra light that may attempt to interrupt my sleep cycles. And I’d highly recommend buying one for yourself.

Now before you judge, let me just say: freshman year, when my mom suggested I try wearing a sleep mask, I was skeptical. Those silly little pink things with the eyelids on them, or cheesy sayings like “beauty rest” and “sweet dreams”? The ones worn by all the drama queens and stuck-up snobs in chick flicks?

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But for the sake of my REM cycles, I decided to test it out. On nights when I’d go to bed early and my roommate would be working on homework (lights on, of course), I’d slap on the mask and the world would go black. In the morning when she headed to crew practice, I’d barely stir because the light couldn’t penetrate my mask. I slept deeply and peacefully until my alarm woke me up.

I’m sure I looked a little ridiculous as I slept, my mouth wide open and my black mask hiding my eyes, but I honestly didn’t mind. That mask was amazing. It helped me sleep through my roommate watching TV, the sun shining in my window, and even my friend bursting in my room to borrow one of my shirts.

Now, whenever I have sleepovers or go camping or stay in a hotel with friends, I make sure to pack my sleep mask. When you’re in college, any extra hours of sleep are a blessing.

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