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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.
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:
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.
Some advantages of sleep masks include:
Disadvantages of sleep masks may include:
When shopping for a new sleep mask and comparing different brands and models, here are a few factors to keep in mind:
The two tables below lists the top-rated sleep masks. All satisfaction ratings are generated from authentic customer reviews and experiences.
|Brand||Alaska Bear||Bedtime Bliss||Dream Essentials|
|Model||Natural Silk Sleep Mask & Blindfold||Contoured & Comfortable Sleep Mask||Dreamer Sleep Mask||Escape Luxury Sleep Mask||Sweet Dreams Sleep Mask|
|Materials||Silk||Polyester and foam||Cotton||Cotton with foam padding and satin bridge||Polyester with hook-and-loop strap|
|Sizes||One size||One size||One size||One size||One size|
|Weight||0.6 oz.||3.4 oz.||1.4 oz.||1.2 oz.||0.9 oz.|
|Care||Hand wash||Machine washable||Hand wash cool, dry flat||Hand wash cool, dry flat||Hand wash cool, dry flat|
|None||Earplugs and earplug case
|Customer Satisfaction Rating||94% (9,823 customer reviews)||86% (10,878 customer reviews)||80% (95 customer reviews)||83% (934 customer reviews)||83% (2,742 customer reviews)|
|Brand||Lewis N Clark||NapForm||Nidra Goods||Sleep Master|
|Model||Comfort Eye Mask||Eye Mask with BioSense Memory Foam||Deep Rest Mask||Dreams Mask||Sleep Master Sleep Mask|
|Materials||Ripstop nylon||Memory foam with fabric cover||Polyester and foam||Polyester and foam||Synthetic fiber exterior with cotton shell|
|Sizes||One size||One size||Large||Small||One size|
|Weight||1.4 oz.||0.8 oz.||0.6 oz.||0.6 oz.||2.4 oz.|
|Care||Hand wash in mild soap and water||Spot clean||Hand wash in mild soap and water||Hand wash in mild soap and water||Hand wash|
|Customer Satisfaction Rating||87% (1,832 customer reviews)||84% (148 customer reviews)||82% (3,988 customer reviews)||80% (179 customer reviews)||81% (2,677 customer reviews)|
For more information on strategies for sleeping better and healthier, please visit the following Tuck guide pages: