A solid night鈥檚 sleep is a major key to good health and achieving success in pretty much everything you do 鈥 even maintaining your relationship. Clocking enough hours can be tough to accomplish when you鈥檙e crazy busy or stressed though. I totally get it; between work and lots of travel, I鈥檝e been feeling frazzled for the last few months. Like so many others, I notice that my sleep is the first thing to suffer when I鈥檓 overwhelmed. Since falling asleep seems to be my biggest issue with bedtime, I decided to try a smart sleep mask that mimics sunsets/sunrises, using something called 鈥渟leep enhance pacing鈥 to try to restore my bod鈥檚 natural rhythms. I dedicated myself to wearing the mask for a full week as an experiment. Here鈥檚 how it went!

A smiling woman peeks from underneath a yellow sleep mask

Day 1:

Brought to life on Indiegogo, the positively reviewed illumy sleep mask is pretty comfy to hold and lighter than I鈥檇 expect. It has adjustable straps, so I figure out what feels the best and then do a quick test to see how I feel lying down in various positions. I鈥檓 usually a side sleeper and a little worried this might be uncomfortable, but it feels pretty good when I try. Next, I charge and set up my mask; this is surprisingly simple to do with the illumy app. (You can also program it on the web with your computer.) I choose my alarm, alarm chime, sunset, and sunrise, and sync the mask with a single button. Here we go!

Day 2:

Even with the gently dimming red 鈥渟unset鈥 light and slow pulses designed to relax me into sleep, I feel like I stayed awake for a while after putting on the mask last night. I can鈥檛 be sure how long I lay there, because I didn鈥檛 take the mask off to look at my cellphone clock like I usually do when stressing. If nothing else, I feel like this is a good benefit of the mask, as I tend to hop back on my phone or computer in bed when I feel like I can鈥檛 sleep, which is basically a bad cycle. In terms of wearability, I鈥檓 pretty impressed that the mask stayed on my face and don鈥檛 remember *any* discomfort from the edges or the strap. Since I naturally woke up several times (ugh) before the mask prompted me to, I鈥檓 still not sure how well it works. Here鈥檚 to carrying on!

A woman sleeps with a winking pink mask

Days 3-5:

Though I鈥檓 definitely falling asleep a little bit better (I still think a lot of this comes from keeping away from my phone and computer and committing to sleep), I鈥檓 still not sleeping through the night. After reading more testimonials, I try to modify the brightness a little bit each night. To be honest, it doesn鈥檛 make much of a difference.

While I鈥檝e definitely come to enjoy the gentle pulses and red sunset that dims, I still haven鈥檛 been able to experience the mimic sunrise because I鈥檝e woken up so many times before the day actually starts. I鈥檓 not sure if this is because I鈥檓 nervous the sunrise simulation *won鈥檛* actually wake me up like it鈥檚 supposed to (so I wake myself up first) or if it鈥檚 for other reasons like body aches from working out, hunger, noise, etc.

Day 6:

I鈥檓 traveling across the country for work today and figure the mask will be perfect to block out light and hopefully catch some extra zzz鈥檚 on my early-morning flight. Prepping ahead of time, I program it to match my preferences and am stoked to find that I pass out super-fast on the airplane and sleep for hours 鈥 something I can never do. Just as exciting, I wake up with the natural blue light sunrise for the first time ever! It was so gentle and much more pleasant than a jarring alarm sound, and it worked perfectly to bring me back to life. So cool.

A woman sleeps with a striped mask

Day 7:

Busy on the first day of my whirlwind work trip, I totally forget to charge my mask, which means I鈥檒l have to do without it on the last night of my experiment. My hotel has pretty good blackout curtains, so light isn鈥檛 an issue, but without the mask I feel way more tempted to reach for my phone when I don鈥檛 nod off immediately. Luckily, the day has worn me out, so it doesn鈥檛 take too much longer to start snoozing. I wake up a few times in the night as usual, but that鈥檚 nothing the mask has helped me with so far anyway.

Interestingly, illumy鈥檚 website says that some people who love the mask wear it during very specific times, like during travel or brighter times of year 鈥 not necessarily every day. Given my experience, I think that makes total sense! I love the mask for falling asleep and on flights, but don鈥檛 know that I need or will continue to use it every single night. I鈥檓 hopeful that I鈥檒l establish even better routines and natural rhythms with its help, eventually reaching a place where I can relax just by closing my eyes.

Would you try a smart sleep mask? Tell us what you think about the idea or share similar experiences on Twitter @BritandCo.

(Photos via illumy and Getty)