How the Dreamhelmet Sleep Mask Became a Notice Board to Solve an Air Travelers Dilemma

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The Dreamhelmet sound-blocking sleep mask pillow is so effective that some air passengers sleep through meals and snacks. Stick-on ‘HiSigns’ have now been invented to solve the problem.

Air travelers can now have their sleep – and eat their cake too.

Buckling up in your airplane seat after running to make your flight, you would like to unwind and maybe get some sleep – but you’re also hungry and don’t want to miss the meals, food and drinks. What to do?! This conflict is described in a review of the Dreamhelmet, by KC Summers, a travel writer for the Washington Post Newspaper:

"The Dreamhelmet (not available in stores) does a creditable job blocking light and sound – kind of a sensory deprivation tank for your whole head. It comes with complimentary earplugs for even more soundproofing. (There are two secret pockets strategically located near your ears so you can insert an alarm watch if you’re worried about really conking out.)"

"While perhaps not ideal for claustrophobes, the Dreamhelmet is oddly comfortable – I felt as if I were in utero from the neck up. The felt lining was soft against my skin … very soft."

"Annoyingly, my seatmate was nudging me. "We’re landing in 10 minutes."

"I fumbled with my chin strap, blinking like a mole in the morning light. "Jeez. Aren’t they even serving breakfast?"

"We already had it. Your thing worked!"

Results: The Dreamhelmet, goofy as it looks, is worth its weight in psychotropic drugs. I arrived in London relaxed and rested, having had four hours’ uninterrupted sleep – a first for me on a transatlantic flight. And once there, I was able to hit the ground running because I had no jet lag to contend with – another first…."

Winging your way overnight to the Land of Shakespeare; to sleep – perchance to dream - while the flight attendant offering a meal, snack, or free drink passes you by? A problem no longer! Air travelers can now have their sleep – and eat their cake too.

In August, 2013, purchasers of the Dreamhelmet (and the new Nap Star Transformer) began receiving free stick-ons notes for their their sleep-mask pillows – including a literal "Do Not Disturb" sign. Dreamcloud Productions has dubbed these notices ‘HiSigns’. The other two signs tell the flight attendants to wake you for meals or snacks. The labels are color-coded with internationally understood red and green graphics, depending on whether the message is to wake or let sleep.

Now air travelers can sleep whenever they want, knowing they won’t miss out on something good. Alternately, they can also go to sleep, unconcerned about being prodded awake to deal with pretzels and sodas – when all they really want is some shuteye. The current stickers send three explicit messages: ‘WILL WAKE FOR FOOD’, ‘PLEASE WAKE ME FOR ALL REFRESHMENTS’, and ‘PLEASE DO NOT DISTURB’.

In 1998, travel writer Jim de Cordova invented the first adjustable sleep mask attached to sound blocking, patterned after what he saw in a lucid dream (a pillow wrapped around his head attached to a sleep mask). He patented the invention and called it the Dreamhelmet. It has since become a popular multi-use sleep aid for both home and travel use. Dreamcloud Productions is the company he formed to produce and market his sleep aids.

The Dreamhelmet became an overnight media hit, besides being featured in the Sunday Travel Section of The Washington Post, it has gotten more independent media reviews than any other sleep aid. It has appeared several times on national television, including The Howie Mandel Show, TruTV, and Good Morning America. It is sold only via the Internet, in eight different fabrics.

De Cordova has kept improving the Dreamhelmet; one of the two ‘HiPockets’ was expanded to hide passports, cell phones, and alarm watches (for a private wake-up call). The Dreamhelmet can be used with the sleep mask tucked away - just wearing the pillow like earmuffs - to read or watch TV. More light and sound blocking material has been added, and new fabrics explored. His latest sleep mask creation is a slimmed-down version called the Nap Star ‘Transformer’.

The Dreamhelmet and the new Nap Star share the most important sleep mask pillow features. Both replace the usual straps and fasteners around the head with a cotton-lined pillow that contains sound-blocking foam. These pillows can be used independently as actual small pillows for sleeping or back support. The sleep aids are made without chemicals, dyes, glues, or plastics (except Velcro); 100% cotton fabric touches the face. Both have a chin strap, which keeps the mask in place (uncomfortable straps and fasteners, and masks slipping off the eyes are common complaints with most ordinary sleep masks). The Dreamhelmet and the Nap Star are the only sleep masks that offer this patented pillow/chin strap comfort solution.

The Dreamhelmet ($29.95) and Nap Star ($19.95) are made in the USA. They are sold on Amazon and eBay and can also be found on their own websites at: and

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