Growing up I found eye pillows weird and disturbing. I didn’t like how they looked on other people (especially with open eyes painted on them) and I didn’t like the feeling of the pillow pressing against my eyes when I would try one on. I never thought I would ever use them. One point several years ago I was trying to take a nap at Anjali’s sister’s very brightly-lit apartment. I borrowed her eye pillow, and discovered, surprise, that it did a good job of cutting out the light and helping me sleep. As an adult I have become very conscious of the brightness of my sleeping room, and especially since I am often sleeping through daylight hours, I go to great lengths to seal out all light. I realized that an eye pillow really helps seal out light. I have used different eye pillows in the last few years, and have found them especially useful for sleeping on planes. Upon debarking in New York on our last trip I saw a $40 Tempur-Pedic Swedish eye pillow in one of the Newark airport shops. I decided that was what I needed. Ironically, after leaving the airport, I realized I had left my eye pillow on the plane, and so I knew I would be looking to replace it when I returned to the airport.
According to the Tempur-Pedic eye pillow product package hype it is “made of a unique open cell, visco-elastic material that uses your body heat to mold to the countours of your face and seal out light.” It seals out ALL light. It is amazing. No matter how brightly-lit the room, it is pitch black once you put on the eye pillow. No cracks of light around the edges, nothing. This worked so much better than any other eye pillow design I have tried, that I was an instant convert. I am usually wary of what I call “chemical nuclear death” and although I had some concerns about this space-age material, I wagered that it was safe.
My DJing lifestyle results in large, dark circles under my eyes. Upon returning from NYC I noticed that my eye skin looked even worse than usual, the dryness and texture resembled lizard skin, and there were even raised rash areas. I started using moisturizer, which I rarely do, but it got worse every day, not better. Eventually I noticed that although this discoloration and dryness was concentrated underneath my eyes, there was a radiation-burn pattern all around my eyes in the shape of the pillow. Yikes! I immediately stopped using the pillow. I don’t know how many people have this reaction to the product, but it really scared me. As much as I am convinced about how effectively the Tempur-Pedic pillow keeps out light, it’s not worth the severe skin reactions. No thanks, Swedes, I guess I’m going back to silk, or some other time-tested natural material.