- Sleep Aids
- Sleep Health
- How Sleep Works
- Sleep Resources
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.
Our Editor’s Pick is the Sleep Mask by Bedtime Bliss, which 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.
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.
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.
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.
The MZOO Sleep Mask – our Most Innovative pick – is constructed with soft memory foam padding around the eyes and nose; this provides comfortable cushioning, as well as near-total darkness.
However, the contoured foam cups provide extra room, making them a good option for sleepers who experience dry eyes/skin with flatter masks. Very few sleep masks offer this level of comfort, light blockage, and eye/skin protection.
The buckle strap can be adjusted anywhere from 16? to 28?, making it suitable for sleepers of all ages. Its price-point is also fairly low, typically below $15, and (unlike most other masks) comes with a product trial spanning 60 nights. Most purchases also include a set of earplugs and a travel pouch.
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:
For information about other nighttime accessories that can improve your sleep quality and duration, please visit the Tuck.com pages below.