Note - This is not a duplicate of How can I effectively black out my room for sleeping, cheaply and such that I can still open the curtains during the day? because I don't want to black out my room and I am specifically excluding the answers to that question.


Blackout blinds/curtains/window-covering - I tried blackout blinds but they were unsuitable. I like to sleep with the windows open. They were affected by the wind blowing them away from the window frame. In any case I do not want to black out my whole room - just prevent light from reaching my eyes.

Elasticated sleep-mask - This is my current solution. It works but there are problems with comfort and slippage. I want to move on.


What novel method can I use to prevent light from reaching my eyes whilst sleeping?

One possible answer I have thought of is to use black eye-makeup to paint my eyelids. As a man who has never used makeup of any kind, I am reluctant to try because (a) I don't know if it will be effective in blocking light (b) I don't know how easily I would be able to remove it (c) I don't know if constant application and removal would cause skin problems (d) I'm not sure if it will be expensive.

Is my solution viable? If not, how else can I shield just my eyes rather than wearing an uncomfortable and unreliable sleep-mask? Note that I want the room itself to remain illuminated.

  • I think you need to think about rephasing this question, the makeup idea won't work, and you'd just make a mess of the bedding. Maybe you need to think about why your current sleep mask doesn't work for you - I've used sleep masks when working 24/7 shift patterns and never had issues with them slipping off. Commented Oct 20, 2015 at 16:45
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    Get a cat! Mine spent a good part of last night trying to sleep on my face! Commented Oct 26, 2015 at 10:29

7 Answers 7


You state that you don't want the two most common solutions, which is to black out the entire room somehow, or using sleep mask. By far I think these are better than most other options, but that is me.

Another option could be to black out only a part of your room, namely the part where you upper body (and head) is. In other words a canopy bed of some sort. Either a fully enclosed canopy bed, or maybe just a partially enclosure for just the upper part.

Think like a mosquito net, but only in a darker material, whilst still allowing air to flow through the contraption. This would allow for you to move during the night, and still to have it dark.

DIY solution of partial canopy bed

If you have to build it your self, I would consider using dark light proof curtains for the three walls at either side of bed and the top end of the bed. For the last wall you could use the same fabric, but double it up with some distance between them.

                ~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~    ~~ | ^ v  is
BED - BED - BED v BED - BED - BED |    curtain parts
-               v               - |   
B               v   ^           B |    B E D -   is
E               v   ^           E |    the bed frame
D               v   ^           D |
-                   ^           - |
BED - BED - BED - BE^ - BED - BED |

In my beautiful, ascii art, illustration of bed viewed from above. In the middle of the illustration you'll see that the one from the top, v, only goes almost over the bed, similar to the one going from the bottom, ^. This allows a corridor of air to flow.

You could (possibly should) do similar arrangements on the other curtain walls to ensure proper air flow. You could also experiment with how high you need the curtains to go, it is not given that they must extend to the ceiling/roof. And lastly, if your bed is in a corner, you most likely don't need to have curtains against the actual walls of the room.

PS: The partial closure used over the bed, can also be used around a window in fixed materials, which would darken the entire room but still allow air to flow.

  • This looks interesting. Your P.S. about fixed materials around a window doesn't work because as soon as there is airflow there is some leakage of light around them. Nevertheless the idea of a partial canopy sounds promising -- the bed is against the wall so one side is taken care of. Airflow and its attendant light leakage is still a problem with a canopy but it's worth some further thought. I suppose I could go for the full four-poster but that is more than I really want. Commented Oct 20, 2015 at 22:17
  • @chaslyfromUK, I do believe that if you have enough overlap in dark fixed materials, you'll not have that much light slipping through. You could also add another overlap in order for even less light to get through. It will possibly not be a 100 % dark, but reasonably dark is achievable.
    – holroy
    Commented Oct 20, 2015 at 22:19
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    Mmhhh - I'll pass on having them by the window because I don't want to darken the room. However it might be possible to have a combination of rigid and curtain that can fold up against the wall when not in use. This could cover just my head. Commented Oct 20, 2015 at 22:22
  • @chaslyfromUK, you could possibly use two shower curtain frames/rails, and slide the curtains on those?
    – holroy
    Commented Oct 20, 2015 at 22:32

Something like this might stay better...

enter image description here

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    This is an example of a picture not being worth a thousand words. What is it? How does it solve the problem? Where can they be obtained? Commented Oct 27, 2015 at 5:20
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    It is best not to answer using only a photo. Photos are a "black box" to the the Internet and are not easily searched for their content (besides, I have no idea what that is). Please add a more thorough description to your answer so folks will be better able to understand it and find it. Thanks. Commented Oct 27, 2015 at 13:41
  • That appears to be a toque, but I'm not sure what the clip is. Wearing a winter hat in bed would be quite hot, I imagine.
    – user17389
    Commented Sep 6, 2016 at 20:56

As a film maker / photographer there are a couple of tricks of the trade we used to block light which may help. You should be able to source these products on the internet from various suppliers. The Rosco foil is the perfect light blocker / absorber and will allow you to block the windows and still have them ajar without the problems associated with the blinds / curtains flapping around. With regard to the light escaping into the room through the opening you will need to create a secondary barrier of some kind. Maybe try some black perspex / black board / or black draw grip from the DIY store on a suspension style curtain rod The Gaffa tape sticks everything together very well, tears easily and comes off cleanly. Bests




You could get a black winter hat like this, and pull it down over your eyes.

  • Is that the same idea as the answer posted by @djsmiley2k? I can't tell if they're both hats.
    – Minnow
    Commented Oct 26, 2015 at 20:56
  • @Minnow The hats are a bit different, but yeah, it looks like they might be the same.
    – Coder-guy
    Commented Oct 26, 2015 at 21:20
  • I've used this technique in a pinch, but it wasn't very satisfactory. Every time I rolled over, the hat would move up a bit, until it came right off. Also it's not very pleasant in warm weather. Commented Oct 27, 2015 at 5:23


Duvetyne, is reasonably inexpensive and may also offer another helpful alternative way of blocking light from the windows, its a heavy fabric.


You could sleep in your basement (if you have one). Most basements have a tiny slit window that would allow a small amount of natural light in (if none at all) and you could move a small mattress in there for use during the day.

  • Sadly there is no basement but thanks. Commented Oct 20, 2015 at 20:14
  • Shame. Another alternative is to just sleep somewhere where the windows have shutters or there just aren't any, which would eliminate the problem entirely. Commented Oct 20, 2015 at 20:16
  • Yes, but I don't want to darken the room -- just shield my eyes from the light. Commented Oct 20, 2015 at 22:25

I don't know if this makes me weird or how comfortable you will find it, but I spent the last 3-4 years sleeping with my right arm covering my eyes. It is pretty comfortable IMO, and blocks 100% of the lights (though I didn't develop this habit consciously). Works even in the beach at noon, and portable more than anything.

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