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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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The unconventional Loop Eye Pillow from Ostrichpillow is a bit different from most sleep masks. Rather than using an elastic strap, the mask consists of a single 46-inch strand of stretch-knit viscose that wraps around the head. The design features an adjustable Velcro closure to create a comfortable experience for any sleeper regardless of their head size.
The mask is intended to create a full blackout experience, making it a good option for frequent travelers who have a hard time sleeping on planes or in cars. The fabric is soft and smooth, so the mask shouldn’t cause excessive lines or wrinkles. Fill composed of polystyrene microbeads gives the mask an approximate weight of 1.8 ounces, so it shouldn’t feel too heavy or bulky. The mask is also travel-friendly and should fit easily in a suitcase or overnight bag.
The Loop Eye Pillow should never be machine-washed or dry-cleaned, so spot-cleaning is required to remove smudges or blemishes. Ostrichpillow ships to 38 countries across the globe, with free shipping to most for orders of $65 or more. Each sleep mask comes with a 100-night sleep trial and two-year warranty.
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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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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