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The Best Sleep Masks – Top Picks and Buyer’s Guide

Written by Keith Cushner

Quick Overview

The term ‘sleep mask’ refers to any lightweight barrier that is placed over the eyes during sleep, typically using an elastic band that wraps around the head. Sleep masks are useful for shift workers and other people who normally sleep during the day.

Human sleep cycles correspond to the presence of natural light, causing us feel alert during the day and more tired at night; sleep masks create artificial darkness that allows sleepers to feel more relaxed and ready for sleep while the sun is out. Sleep masks are also useful for travel; they can help people fall asleep on planes and other forms of public transportation, and also ease jet lag symptoms.

Most sleep masks sold today are made from fabric materials such as cotton, polyester, nylon, or silk. Some models also have foam padding that offers comfortable cushioning and blocks out more light. Most sleep masks are fairly inexpensive; the average model costs less than $20, and price-points rarely exceed $30.

Read on to learn more about sleep masks in terms of material composition, pricing, and other buying factors. Below you’ll find our picks for the five best sleep masks sold today. Our choices are based on verified customer and owner reviews, as well as intensive product research and analysis.

Best Sleep Masks

Best Sleep Masks – Reviewed

Editor's PickBaloo Living Sleep Stone Mask

Editor's Pick – Baloo Living Sleep Stone Mask

Highlights

  • Smooth satin construction with spandex
  • Adjustable velcro backing
  • Lightweight and light-blocking
  • Forehead pocket for storing a sleep stone
Tuck readers can purchase the Sleep Stone Mask by Baloo Living at the lowest available price
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Editor's PickBaloo Living Sleep Stone Mask

balooliving.com

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The Baloo Living Sleep Stone Mask is a unique sleep mask made with a secret pocket to insert a sleep stone and allow it to rest over the forehead while you sleep. The mask comes with one sleep stone crystal for the pocket, with choices of purple fluorite, blue lace agate, and rose quartz currently available. Up to two stones can be added to an order for a small additional charge.

The Sleep Stone Mask is made from a silky-smooth satin, with a bit of spandex blended in for stretch and adjustability. The mask’s wrap-around design covers the top of the head with a gap for the bridge of the nose, fastening securely via a long velcro strap at the back of the head. The mouth, nose, and jaw are left free, while the mask can hug loosely enough to allow room for earbud style headphones.

The mask provides considerable comfort with its soft, gentle feel and smooth finish. The satin construction is relatively thick yet lightweight, allowing the Sleep Stone Mask to thoroughly block out light and sound without feeling very heavy. Its velcro backing and blend of spandex make it adjustable to fit a variety of different heads. The mask is machine washable for easy care and can be air dried.

The Baloo Living Sleep Stone Mask ships free to the contiguous U.S., with paid shipping available to Alaska and Hawaii. Each mask is also covered by a 30-day return period.

Good for:

  • Blocking out light and sound
  • Those interested in using a sleep stone
  • Any type of sleeper (side, back, stomach, combination)

Best ValueSleep Mask by Bedtime Bliss

Best Value – Sleep Mask by Bedtime Bliss

Highlights

  • Rayon from bamboo with cotton lining
  • Adjustable hook-and-loop straps
  • 1.6 oz.
  • Molded, ergonomic design
Tuck readers can purchase the Sleep Mask by Bedtime Bliss at the lowest available price
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Best ValueSleep Mask by Bedtime Bliss

amazon.com

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The Sleep Mask by Bedtime Bliss is a standout product for several reasons. The mask features a streamlined, molded design that naturally adapts to the user’s facial dimensions, creating a personalized fit for anyone who wears it. It has adjustable hook-and-loop straps, as well.

Temperature neutrality is another key benefit of the Bedtime Bliss Sleep Mask. The mask is made from breathable rayon from bamboo and lined with cool cotton, which can cut down on the excessive warmth often associated with masks made entirely of synthetic fabrics.

The mask is compatible with CPAP machines, making it a good choice for people with sleep apnea too. A pair of soft earplugs and a travel pouch are included with most purchases.

Good for:

  • People who normally feel hot wearing sleep masks
  • Sleepers who use CPAP machines
  • Those who prefer thinner sleep masks that conform closely

Best CoolingAlaska Bear Natural Silk Sleep Mask

Best Cooling – Alaska Bear Natural Silk Sleep Mask

Highlights

  • Mulberry silk
  • Adjustable buckle strap
  • 0.6 oz.
  • Baffled design prevents slippage
Tuck readers can purchase the Alaska Bear Natural Silk Sleep Mask at the lowest available price
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Best CoolingAlaska Bear Natural Silk Sleep Mask

amazon.com

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As we mentioned above, sleep masks made from synthetic fabrics and/or foams can trap heat inside, creating uncomfortable sleeping conditions. Temperature neutrality is a major strength of the Natural Silk Sleep Mask from Alaska Bear, our pick for Best Cooling Sleep Mask.

The entire mask is made from breathable, lightweight mulberry silk that helps sleepers stay cool regardless of their sleep environment. Unlike other silk masks, this one is not prone to slippage; a baffled nose flap helps keep the mask in place while still allowing it to block the maximum amount of light.

It also features an adjustable strap that ranges from 16? to 28?, making it suitable for children and adults. It is compatible with CPAP machines, as well. Despite these helpful features, the Alaska Bear Natural Silk Sleep Mask is inexpensive even compared to other masks; it is widely available for less than $10.

Good for:

  • Hot sleepers
  • Children and adults
  • Those who prefer thinner sleep masks that conform closely

Best Foam-PaddedCompact Technologies Nighttime Sleep Mask

Best Foam-Padded – Compact Technologies Nighttime Sleep Mask

Highlights

  • Polyester with memory foam padding
  • Adjustable hook-and-loop strap
  • 1.6 oz.
  • Soft cushioning, effective light blocking
The Compact Technologies Nighttime Sleep Mask is available to Tuck readers at the lowest price
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Best Foam-PaddedCompact Technologies Nighttime Sleep Mask

amazon.com

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Foam padding can be useful on sleep masks because it provides extra cushioning, as well as a buffer between the eyes and the mask itself; some sleepers complain masks that conform closely tend to dry out their eyes and skin.

Our pick for the Best Foam-Padded Sleep Mask is the Nighttime Sleep Mask from Compact Technologies, which features memory foam padding; this material provides a good balance of comfortable conforming and eye/skin protection.

Light blocking is another advantage of the Nighttime Sleep Mask, which features ‘blinders’ around the eyes that provide near-total darkness. The mask is equipped with a hook-and-loop strap that can be adjusted to lengths that accommodate children or adults. This model is lighter than many of its foam-padded competitors, as well.

Good for:

  • Side and back sleepers
  • Children and adults
  • Those who prefer masks with foam padding around the eyes

Best for TravelLewis N. Clark Comfort Eye Mask

Best for Travel – Lewis N. Clark Comfort Eye Mask

Highlights

  • Ripstop nylon
  • Adjustable buckle strap
  • 1.6 oz.
  • Ultra-durable construction
The Lewis N. Clark Comfort Eye Mask is available to Tuck readers at the lowest price
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Best for TravelLewis N. Clark Comfort Eye Mask

amazon.com

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Most sleep masks are, by definition, travel-friendly; they are lightweight, inexpensive, and easy to use anywhere. Our pick for the best Travel Sleep Mask, the Lewis N. Clark Comfort Eye Mask, is exceptionally suited for travel because it is made from ripstop nylon that will not tear or lose shape easily (unlike many masks made from natural fibers).

The nylon is also breathable, which can be beneficial for sleepers who normally feel too warm wearing other synthetic masks. The Comfort Eye Mask also has flexible piped edges and a curved nose, allowing it to block outside light almost completely.

The strap can be adjusted anywhere from 16? to 28?, making it suitable for children and adults. Additionally, this is one of the cheapest masks we reviewed for this guide; the average price-point is about $9.

Good for:

  • Hot sleepers
  • Children and adults
  • Those who prefer thinner sleep masks that conform closely

Buying Guide – How to Shop for a Sleep Mask

The term ‘sleep mask’ refers to any sleep aid that acts as a blindfold, covering both eyes in order to block out light and improve overall sleep quality. Sleep masks are considered highly effective, and are normally available for $20 or less. They are normally made from natural or synthetic fabrics, such as cotton, silk, or polyester, and some also feature foam components.

This sleep mask guide will explore how sleep masks function, discuss benefits and disadvantages of using them, and provide recommendations for top-rated products.

How Do Sleep Masks Work?

Sleep masks are completely opaque, and designed to fit snugly over both eyes. They are typically made from one or more of the following materials:

  • Natural fibers, such as cotton and silk. These fabrics are light, breathable, and hypoallergenic, as well as machine washable. One notable downside of sleep masks made of natural fibers: they tend to degrade quickly after repeated washing cycles.
  • Synthetic fibers, such as polyester and silk. Synthetic fabrics are not as breathable as natural fibers, but they are usually just as soft and lightweight — and like sleep masks made of cotton and silk, those made of polyester or satin typically wear out over time.
  • Foam materials, such as polyfoam. Foam sleep masks are designed to conform to the wearer’s face; this slight pressure can alleviate pain and pressure in people with certain conditions, such as chronic migraines or sinus problems. Foam sleep masks often come with recessed eye cavities, which prevent the eyes from coming in direct contact with the mask; this can reduce irritation and discomfort.

Sleep masks are usually designed with elastic bands that fit over the head for added comfort, and some feature side vents to improve air circulation. Sleep masks are designed to be worn with earplugs, and some models come with earplugs.

Most sleep masks sold today can block 90% to 99% of outside light. By blocking light, sleep masks aid with sleep in three ways:

Improved melatonin levels: Melatonin is a natural hormone helps control the circadian sleep cycle in humans. Melatonin is produced during periods of darkness; the hormone creates feelings of drowsiness that make it easier to fall and remain asleep. Daylight and artificial light slow the melatonin production process, as does excessive use of ‘blue light-emitting devices’ (such as smartphones, tablets, and televisions) before bedtime.

Sleep masks can effectively regulate melatonin production for people who are trying to sleep during periods of daylight. These include individuals who work at night, as well as those who are attempting to sleep under unusual circumstances (while flying, for instance) or reset their sleep cycle after traveling through different time zones.

Sleep restoration:A sufficient amount of deep REM sleep each night can improve one’s focus and alleviate stress the following day, as well as lower the risk of accidents at work or on the road. An insufficient amount of deep REM sleep can have the opposite effect, leaving people feeling groggy and unable to concentrate. Improved sleep cycles can benefit people who are recovering from an illness or injury, as well.

Sleep masks promote more restorative sleep by regulating melatonin production and helping people remain asleep throughout the night.

Pressure relief:By molding to the face and applying light weight and pressure to the head and nose, some sleep masks may be able to alleviate discomfort in people who experience migraines, tension headaches, or sinus problems. Generally, pain and pressure relief can have a positive effect on both sleep onset and sleep maintenance.

Pros and Cons of Using a Sleep Mask

Some advantages of sleep masks include:

  • Low cost: Most sleep masks on the market today are available for $20 or less, including shipping costs from online retailers. This makes them a much less expensive way to block and control light compared to other options, such as motion-sensing night lights and blackout curtains.
  • Lightweight and portable: Most sleep masks weigh less than one pound, and are designed to be folded up for easier portability. Many come with carrying cases.
  • Easy to clean: Sleep masks are usually machine washable or can be washed by hand, and never need to be dry cleaned or specialty cleaned.
  • Customizable fit: Sleep masks usually feature an elastic band with buckles or fasteners that can be adjusted for a more comfortable fit.
  • Breathable: Some common sleep mask materials, such as silk and cotton, are naturally breathable. Additionally, some sleep mask models are designed with vents to improve air circulation into and out of the mask.

Disadvantages of sleep masks may include:

  • Adjustment period: Sleepers normally require several nights to acclimate themselves to the sleep mask. The adjustment period may be even longer for some individuals, and this can result in poor sleep cycles in the meantime.
  • Not built to last: Sleep masks should be cleaned frequently, and repeated wash cycles can cause the materials to degrade quickly. Generally, masks with higher price-points have longer lifespans than those with lower price-points — but this may come down to material, as well.
  • Uncomfortable side-sleeping: Some sleep masks feature small plastic or metal fasteners on the side of the strap that can cause pain or discomfort for side sleepers, although other models forego these parts in order to provide comfort regardless of sleep position.
  • Difficulty waking: Some sleep masks are so effective at helping people sleep that they interfere with production of cortisol, a hormone linked to increases in light levels. This can, in turn, make it harder to wake up for some people.
  • Visible effects from wearing them, such as wear lines around the eyes and cheeks, smears from dyes in the fabric, smudged makeup, and/or messy hair.

Considerations for Sleep Mask Shoppers

When shopping for a new sleep mask and comparing different brands and models, here are a few factors to keep in mind:

  • Composition: Sleep masks made of natural fibers will feel differently than those made of synthetic fibers, and the same is true of foam-based models.
  • Effectiveness: Although the difference may seem slight, a sleep mask that blocks out 90% of light will be far less effective than one that blocks out 95% to 99% of light.
  • Portability: If the shopper plans to use the sleep mask for traveling, a lightweight model that comes with a carrying case may be the best option.
  • Eye protection: Some sleep mask wearers don’t mind if their eyes come into contact with the mask, but for those who experience irritation and discomfort, a mask with recessed eye cavities will usually be best.
  • Band adjusters: For side-sleepers, a mask with plastic or metal band adjusters may cause discomfort by pressing into the side of their head.
  • Medical history: People with migraines, sinus problems, and other conditions that cause excess pain and discomfort in the head and face may be most satisfied with heavier, foam-based masks that apply slight pressure and alleviates these symptoms.

For information about other nighttime accessories that can improve your sleep quality and duration, please visit the Tuck.com pages below.

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