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A sleep mask refers to any barrier that is placed over the eyes to block out light during sleep. Typically, they are made of a soft, lightweight material that wraps around the head.
Human sleep cycles correspond to the presence or absence of natural light, causing us to feel alert during the day and more tired at night. While many people use sleep masks at night, they can also create artificial darkness that allows sleepers to feel more relaxed and ready for sleep while the sun is out.
Sleep masks can be useful for shift workers and other people who normally sleep during the day. They can also help people fall asleep on planes and other forms of public transportation, and can ease jet lag symptoms.
Most sleep masks sold today are made from fabrics such as cotton, polyester, nylon, or silk. Some models also have foam padding that offers comfortable cushioning and blocks out more light.
Our picks for the best sleep masks include a variety of models with varied materials and price-points. We’ll also cover what to look for in a sleep mask and other factors that can contribute to quality sleep.
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The Baloo Sleep Stone Mask is a unique sleep mask made with a secret pocket to insert a sleep stone that rests over the forehead. The mask comes with one sleep stone crystal for the pocket, with choices of purple fluorite, blue lace agate, rose quartz, and amethyst currently available. Up to three stones can be added to an order for an additional charge.
The Sleep Stone Mask is made from 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, including the ears. It has a gap for the bridge of the nose and fastens securely via a Velcro closure 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 block out light and sound without feeling too heavy. The mask is machine-washable for easy care, though it should be air-dried.
The Baloo Sleep Stone Mask ships free to the contiguous U.S., with paid shipping available to Alaska and Hawaii. Each mask is covered by a 30-day return period.
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Mulberry silk is a popular sleep mask material due to its natural softness and breathability. However, it’s also fairly expensive to source and can drive up the price-point by a significant degree. The Brooklinen Mulberry Silk Eyemask is a notable exception. The mask is produced from pure silk with a charmeuse weave that enhances the material’s soft feel, but its sticker price is quite reasonable.
Shoppers can choose from a variety of colors, including several limited-edition options with eye-catching patterns. The mask has a one-size-fits-all design thanks to its elastic strap. The silk’s smooth texture means the mask won’t create lines around your eyes or irritate your skin, nor will it damage your hair.
The mask is machine-washable, but it should be laid flat to dry. Owners can also hand-wash the silk to remove minor stains or blemishes.
Brooklinen allows returns within 365 days of the delivery date. This trial period far surpasses that of most competing sleep mask brands. The company also covers shipping fees for U.S. orders.
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Ostrichpillow has earned a reputation for unconventional sleep accessories that serve multiple purposes. Take the Light Versatile Pillow, which is composed of a stretch-poly material that cushions the head and neck. Don’t be fooled by the name, though – the pillow has a hollow center that allows you to slip it over your face and use it as a full-coverage sleep mask. The fabric is soft and won’t rub too harshly against the skin, and its stretchy feel means a tight yet comfortable hug with no openings for light to intrude.
Soft microbeads fill the interior for comfortable, sleep-inducing compression without making the pillow feel too hefty. A moldable shape also makes the pillow an excellent travel accessory, especially if you have trouble sleeping on planes, trains, buses, and other forms of public transportation. The Light Versatile Pillow is sold in four fetching two-tone designs. Reversible construction allows you to switch between heathered and solid colors, depending on your personal preferences.
Ostrichpillow does not recommend machine washing the Light Versatile Pillow, as this can permanently damage the fabric. Spot clean with mild soap and water if stains or smudges occur, and completely air dry the pillow when you’re finished. The pillow is affordable priced, and each purchase includes a 100-night sleep trial and a 2-year warranty against material and structural defects.
Best for Travel
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Tempur-Pedic’s reputation for luxuriously crafted sleep products extends beyond the company’s mattresses and pillows. The TEMPUR-Sleep Mask is padded with TEMPUR material, the same proprietary memory foam used in other Tempur-Pedic products. The foam has a high-density composition, so it won’t deteriorate as quickly as the foams used in many competing masks. A velvety shell with an exceptionally soft feel encases the foam.
The mask’s elastic strap is outfitted with a Velcro closure to ensure a secure and customizable fit. Its oversize design is intended to completely cover the eyes to simulate total darkness and promote sleep in any environment. The foam should not be exposed to water, so the mask should be spot-cleaned if smudges occur.
Tempur-Pedic provides free ground shipping within the contiguous U.S.
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Saatva’s reputation for high-quality sleep products extends well beyond the company’s product line. Take the Silk Eye Mask, an affordable yet luxurious accessory to help you sleep in less-than-optimal settings. The mask and elastic band are encased in mulberry silk, a naturally breathable material that feels cool to the touch. Mulberry silk is also exceptionally smooth, so the mask is easy on your skin and shouldn’t cause creases around the corners of your eyes.
Since the band is highly flexible, this is a one-size-fits-all mask that can accommodate most people regardless of their facial structure. The interior is cushioned with plush fiber fill for added comfort. Although silk is a highly durable material, machine washing can cause permanent damage, so Saatva recommends hand washing with mild detergent and laying the mask flat to dry. You can also spot clean as needed. Please note that the Silk Eye Mask is fairly lightweight. If you want a little more heft, Saatva offers a weighted silk eye mask containing glass beads.
Two colors are available, slate and sand, both of which accentuate the silk’s lustrous sheen. Saatva offers free shipping with each order, and the company’s sleep trial spans 45 nights in length. If you decide to keep your Silk Eye Mask, you’ll also receive a 1-year warranty against structural defects.
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The Ocushield Bamboo Weighted Eye Mask gives you great bang for your buck. This thoughtfully crafted sleep accessory competes at the same level as many other eye masks on the market today, but you’ll pay a fraction of the typical asking price. A reversible design with two distinct textures also makes the mask suitable for year-round use. One side is soft and fleecy for extra coziness on cold nights, while the reverse is a smooth, bamboo-derived fabric with moisture-wicking properties to keep you cool and dry in hot or humid conditions.
Small glass beads fill the inner pad, creating noticeable weight without causing excessive compression. The mask weighs about 300 grams, which is roughly equivalent to two-thirds of a pound. Many people find that weighted eye masks have a calming effect and can alleviate anxiety that occurs before sleep. This can also help you get some shuteye while riding on planes, trains, and other forms of public transportation. Thanks to an adjustable strap, virtually anyone can wear the mask comfortably.
The inner pad doubles as a hot and cold compress. For enhanced comfort, you can remove the inner pad and heat it in a microwave for 1 to 2 minutes. This is intended to improve your blood flow, open up your glands, and relax your eye muscles. Alternatively, you can freeze the pad for the same length of time to reduce pain. The cover can be washed and dried in any household machine, making the mask easy to keep clean and hygienic.
In addition to a reasonable price-point, the Bamboo Weighted Eye Mask qualifies for low-cost shipping anywhere in the U.S. Each order includes a generous sleep trial allowing you to test out the mask for up to 100 nights before deciding whether to return it or keep it. You can also register for an extended warranty within 14 days of purchase, which covers structural defects in the mask for up to 1 year.
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Weighted sleep masks have become a popular sleep accessory in recent years. Many sleepers attest to the relaxing and sleep-inducing effect of having added weight around the eyes.
The Manta Sleep Weighted Mask is a standout product thanks to its thoughtful design. The mask consists of an elastic strap with soft foam cup inserts to cushion the eyes and prevent irritation. A hook-and-loop closure allows for an adjustable fit for added comfort.
The head strap of the mask weighs roughly 8 ounces, giving it noticeable heft without feeling excessively bulky. The cups fit around the eyes and are designed to provide total darkness, making the mask a good option for people who struggle to fall asleep on planes or in hotel rooms. Owners should spot-clean the mask if smudges or blemishes occur.
The Manta Sleep Weighted Mask has a slightly higher price-point compared with the average unweighted sleep mask, but its durable design makes it a good long-term investment. The mask ships free of charge for all U.S. orders, and purchases include a 60-night sleep trial.
Sleep masks are completely opaque and are designed to fit snugly over both eyes. They are typically made from one or more of the following materials:
Sleep masks are usually made with elastic bands that fit over the head for added comfort, and some feature side vents to improve air circulation. Sleep masks are typically designed to be worn with earplugs, and some models come with a pair of earplugs.
The primary function of a sleep mask is to block light during sleep. By creating a darkened sleep environment, masks can aid with sleep in the following ways:
Improved melatonin levels: Melatonin is a natural hormone that helps control circadian rhythm and the sleep-wake cycle. Melatonin is produced during periods of darkness and creates feelings of drowsiness that make it easier to fall asleep and stay asleep.
Sleep masks can effectively regulate melatonin production for people who sleep during periods of daylight. This includes individuals who work at night, as well as people trying to fall asleep on an airplane or those attempting to reset their sleep cycle after traveling through different time zones.
Sleep restoration: Getting a sufficient amount of deep sleep and rapid eye movement (REM) sleep plays an essential role in a person’s overall health and well-being. Quality sleep can also improve focus and help alleviate stress, as well as lower the risk of accidents at work or on the road. Sleep masks promote more restorative sleep by regulating melatonin production and helping people remain asleep throughout the night.
A sleep mask refers to any sleep aid that covers both eyes in order to block out light and improve overall sleep quality. They are normally made from natural or synthetic fabrics, such as cotton, silk, or polyester, and some also feature foam components.
When shopping for a sleep mask and comparing different brands and models, there are a few factors to keep in mind:
Sleep masks made of natural fibers differ in feel from those made of synthetic fibers, and the same is true of foam-based models.
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.
If you plan to use a sleep mask while traveling, a lightweight model that comes with a carrying case may be the best option.
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.
For side sleepers, a mask with plastic or metal band adjusters may cause discomfort by pressing into the side of the head.
Some advantages of sleep masks include:
Disadvantages of sleep masks may include:
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At SleepFoundation.org, we conduct extensive first-person experience tests on all but a select few products. This hands-on approach allows us to provide accurate, data-driven recommendations for mattresses, pillows, sheets, and other sleep essentials.
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