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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.

Product Details

Best Overall

Saatva Silk Eye Mask

Brand Logo
Price: $60
Material: Mulberry silk shell with polyester fiber fill

Who it’s best for:

  • Hot sleepers
  • Those looking for an eye mask that minimizes creases
  • High-end shoppers

Highlights:

  • Shell composed of smooth, luxurious mulberry silk
  • Fiber fill provides padding without too much weight
  • Available in two colors

Sleep Foundation Exclusive Offer!

Use this SleepFoundation.org link for the most current discount on Saatva products

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.

product image of Brooklinen Mulberry Silk Eyemask

Best Value

Brooklinen Mulberry Silk Eyemask

Brand Logo
Price: $29
Material: Mulberry silk

Who it’s best for:

  • People who tend to overheat when using a sleep mask
  • Sleepers with sensitive skin
  • Shoppers on a tight budget

Highlights:

  • 100% mulberry silk with a charmeuse weave
  • Elastic band
  • Wide color and pattern selection
  • 365-night trial period

Sleep Foundation Exclusive Offer!

Use this SleepFoundation.org link for the most current discount on Brooklinen products

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.

product image of the Baloo Sleep Stone Mask

Best Luxury

Baloo Living Sleep Stone Mask

Brand Logo
Price: $64
Material: Satin, 3% spandex

Who it’s best for:

  • People who want a mask that blocks out light and sound
  • Those interested in using a sleep stone
  • Sleepers with sensitive skin

Highlights:

  • Smooth satin construction with spandex
  • Adjustable Velcro backing
  • Lightweight and light-blocking
  • Forehead pocket for storing a sleep stone

Sleep Foundation Exclusive Offer!

Use this SleepFoundation.org link for the most current discount on Baloo Living products

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.

product image of the Tempurpedic TEMPUR-Sleep Mask

Most Comfortable

Tempurpedic TEMPUR-Sleep Mask

Brand Logo
Price: $29
Material: Fabric, TEMPUR material

Who it’s best for:

  • People with sensitive skin
  • Those who like the feel of memory foam
  • Sleepers who need total darkness

Highlights:

  • Cushioned with proprietary TEMPUR memory foam
  • Easily adjustable elastic strap
  • Soft, velvety shell fabric
  • Affordable pricing and free shipping within the contiguous U.S.

Sleep Foundation Exclusive Offer!

Use this SleepFoundation.org link for the most current discount on Tempurpedic products

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.

Product page photo of the Swanwick Silk Sleep Mask

Best Cooling

Swanwick Silk Sleep Mask

Brand Logo
Price: $49
Material: 100% silk

Who it’s best for:

  • Hot sleepers
  • People who need to sleep during the day
  • Value seekers

Highlights:

  • Silk composition offers luxurious softness and exceptional breathability
  • Oversized design ensures plenty of coverage for any wearer
  • Gentle feel helps prevent lines and wrinkles

Sleep Foundation Exclusive Offer!

Use this SleepFoundation.org link for the most current discount on Swanwick products

If you’re a hot sleeper, wearing eye masks made from non-breathable materials can cause discomfort. The Silk Sleep Mask from Swanwick is composed of pure silk, ensuring a cool-to-the-touch feel at all times. Silk is also naturally soft and the fabric glides gently across your skin, so you won’t need to worry about wrinkles or waking up with unsightly lines on your face.

The mask is oversized to completely cover both eyes and prevent light from entering. This makes it particularly well suited to shift workers and other people who need to sleep during the daylight hours. Silk is resistant to dirt and oil buildup, so the mask shouldn’t retain too much odor — but you can wash it for extra freshness. Swanwick recommends washing the mask in lukewarm water with non-alkaline soap, then laying it flat to dry. Black and blue colors are available.

The Silk Sleep Mask is reasonably priced and Swanwick offers affordable flat-rate delivery for customers in the contiguous U.S. Your order includes a 30-night trial period with free return shipping if you aren’t satisfied with the mask.

Best Weighted

Ostrichpillow Light Versatile Pillow

Brand Logo
Price: $45
Material: 95% viscose, 5% elastomer

Who it’s best for:

  • Those who want a sleep mask that doubles as a pillow
  • People who prefer to nap in complete darkness
  • Value seekers

Highlights:

  • Innovative, reversible design offers 360-coverage to help you sleep in any setting
  • Plush, fleecy fabric provides cushioning for the head and neck
  • Available in four two-tone designs
  • 100-night trial period and 2-year warranty

Sleep Foundation Exclusive Offer!

Use this SleepFoundation.org link for the most current discount on Ostrichpillow products

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.

Softest

Ocushield Bamboo Weighted Eye Mask

Brand Logo
Price: $50
Material: Rayon derived from bamboo and polyester

Who it’s best for:

  • People who tend to feel anxious before falling asleep
  • Hot sleepers
  • Value seekers

Highlights:

  • Weighted design provides light compression for a calming effect
  • Reversible design with fleecy and smooth sides
  • Mask can be frozen or heated for additional comfort

Sleep Foundation Exclusive Offer!

Use this SleepFoundation.org link for the most current discount on Ocushield products

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.

Best Features

Sweet Night Eye Tech Mask

Brand Logo
Price: $178
Material: Knit polyester with foam cushioning

Who it’s best for:

  • People who feel discomfort around their eyes at night
  • Shift workers
  • Those who have not found success with conventional sleep masks

Highlights:

  • Built-in massager produces gentle vibrations to alleviate eye strain and soreness
  • Mask blocks 100% of outside light with a foam core for extra cushioning
  • Battery fully recharges in less than an hour

Sleep Foundation Exclusive Offer!

Use this SleepFoundation.org link for the most current discount on Sweet Night products

The Sweet Night Eye Tech Mask offers the practicality of a traditional sleep mask with a cutting-edge twist. While in use, the mask softly vibrates to reduce strain and soreness around both of your eyes. Thousands of vibrations per minute means you only need to wear the mask for a short amount of time to feel its therapeutic effects.

The mask can also be used as a warm or cold compress. Exposure to a cool temperature can alleviate inflammation, while heat helps promote steady circulation and feelings of sleepiness. Full coverage for both eyes means the mask blocks 100% of outside light. The knit cover fabric is also waterproof to safeguard the electrical components.

You’ll need roughly 36 minutes to fully charge the battery, and this is also the expected run time before a recharge is needed. For best results, follow the user manual’s directions regarding battery and voltage compatibility. All the hardware you’ll need to operate the mask is included with your purchase.

Sweet Night offers free ground delivery to most of the contiguous U.S., but you may need to pay an additional fee if your mailing address is in a remote location. Your order includes a 30-night trial period with free return shipping.


How Do Sleep Masks Work?

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:

  • Natural fibers: Fabrics such as cotton and silk are light, breathable, and hypoallergenic. One notable downside of sleep masks made of natural fibers is that they tend to degrade quickly after repeated washes.
  • Synthetic fibers: Synthetic fabrics such as polyester are not as breathable as natural fibers, but they are usually just as soft and lightweight. Like sleep masks made of cotton and silk, those made of polyester typically wear out over time.
  • Foam materials: Foam sleep masks are designed to conform to the wearer’s face. Sleep masks made with polyfoam or memory foam often come with recessed cavities that prevent the eyes from coming in direct contact with the mask to help reduce irritation and discomfort.

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.

How to Choose a Sleep Mask

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.

What to Look For in a Sleep Mask

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

Composition

Sleep masks made of natural fibers differ in feel from 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 you plan to use a sleep mask while 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 the head.

Benefits and Drawbacks of Using a Sleep Mask

Some advantages of sleep masks include:

  • Low cost: Sleep masks are a less expensive way to block and control light compared with other options such as blackout curtains.
  • Lightweight and portable: Even weighted sleep masks typically weigh less than a pound, and most masks are foldable for easier portability.
  • Easy to clean: Sleep masks are usually machine-washable or can be washed by hand, avoiding the need for costly dry-cleaning or other specialty cleaning methods.
  • Customizable fit: Sleep masks typically feature an elastic band with fasteners or hook-and-loop closures 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 models are designed with vents to improve air circulation.

Disadvantages of sleep masks may include:

  • Adjustment period: Sleepers normally require several nights to acclimate themselves to a sleep mask. The adjustment period may be longer for some individuals, and this can result in poor sleep quality 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 more affordable options, but this can vary based on the materials used.
  • May be uncomfortable for 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 many models forgo these parts to provide comfort regardless of sleep position.
  • Visible effects: Some sleep mask models may result in wear lines around the eyes and cheeks, smudged makeup, or tousled hair.

Still have questions?

Our product experts have extensive experience testing just about every sleep product on the market. Send an email to [email protected] or call us at (877) 672-8966 with your questions and we'll help you find exactly what you're looking for.

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