I Tried TikTok’s Cozy “Sweatshirt Hack” and I’ve Never Slept So Well

published May 4, 2024
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I sleep with my dogs, so it often feels like the bottom half of my body is in a different climate from the top half. My bulldog keeps my feet and legs warm and toasty, while my French bulldog regularly pulls my blanket off, meaning I sometimes have to sleep in a sweatshirt. But it’s because of the way I sleep sandwiched between two dogs that I recently stumbled upon a hack that has enhanced my rest tenfold.

Quick Overview

What Is the TikTok “Sweatshirt Hack”?

This hack uses your sweatshirt to cocoon your head and block out ambient light instead of using a sleep mask or blackout curtains. Simply wrap the sweatshirt around your face and use the sleeves to securely tie the fabric into place.

In trying to remove my sweatshirt in the middle of the night without waking up my dogs, I freed just my arms and wrapped the sleeves around my head and eyes. I slept so soundly until my alarm went off. Then, swiping through TikTok soon after, I realized I’d accidentally stumbled upon my own version of TikTok’s cozy “sweatshirt hack.”

Whether you sleep alone or share your bed with people or pets, needing to block out light or sound may be a priority for you. But perhaps you haven’t found the right eye mask or don’t feel like spending a lot on blackout curtains. Here’s how a simple (and free) trick can help if you’re having trouble falling asleep.

What Is the Sweatshirt Sleep Hack?

In a viral video, TikTok creator Callie Galey describes how the sweatshirt sleep hack works. Start by folding the sweatshirt in half with the sleeves hanging down. Then wrap the widest part of the sweatshirt around your forehead and eyes, making sure to leave your nose and mouth uncovered. Next, lie back on a pillow with the sweatshirt covering your eyes. Lastly, wrap the sleeves around your chin and tuck the cuffs behind your neck to keep the sweatshirt in place. And in just a few seconds, you have a makeshift sleep mask that cradles your head perfectly and blocks out any ambient light.

“I have been getting the best sleep of my life ever,” Galey says in the video. “It’s so comfortable. I don’t know how to explain it, but it works wonders.” 

One user responded to Galey’s video by saying, “Honestly, I’ve been wearing an eye mask for over 15 years and it’s the only way I can fall asleep.” Another commented, “I have to sleep with my head covered.”

If you’re curious whether this hack can help combat sleepless nights, you can try it with a sweatshirt you already own. I would recommend choosing a soft and cozy sweatshirt, as you don’t want it scratching your skin or snagging your hair. A thick fabric can give you the feel of a weighted eye mask and won’t slip off your head as easily. 

Why the Sweatshirt Sleep Hack Works (and When It Doesn’t)

After trying the sweatshirt sleep hack, I found that it works best when I need to take a midday nap. The weight of the fabric allows me to tune out the sound of traffic and birds chirping. With my eyes covered, I’m less tempted to look at the notifications on my phone.

Another benefit is the light-blocking effect. As someone who has always struggled with taking time to rest or nap, something small like getting up to close the curtains or turn out the lights is enough to jolt me awake. Having a sweatshirt within arm’s reach allows me to fall asleep when I’m ready.

As for using the sweatshirt sleep hack overnight, I found myself agreeing with some of the skeptical comments on Galey’s video. For example, one person brought up their sensory issues, saying, “I would start dreaming that someone was choking me and wake up in a panic.” 

A second user commented, “Ugh but I love sleeping on my side and my stomach,” to which Galey responded that she sleeps on her side. Personally, I think the sweatshirt wrap works better for back sleepers like me, as it tends to slip and allow light in if you turn over to one side. Plus, it might be a bit suffocating if you sleep on your stomach.

If you have a history of headaches or migraines, like me, having your head covered could feel uncomfortable. The sweatshirt sleep hack has similarities to a migraine relief cap, although a sweatshirt doesn’t come with gel cooling packs or offer the right amount of compression to relieve pain and tension.

That said, if you find the sweatshirt sleep hack soothing, it’s probably because it mimics the feeling of being swaddled. Research shows that swaddling tends to promote calm, helping infants stay asleep. The sweatshirt sleep hack might have a similar effect on you, as long as it doesn’t get in the way of your ability to breathe freely and regulate your body temperature.

Next time you’re feeling the need for a midday nap or want to hurkle-durkle a little longer but the morning light is getting in the way, reach for your nearest sweatshirt and see if you can’t get some soothing shut-eye.