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Shopping Guide for Best Sleep Masks

Getting a good night’s sleep isn’t just about having the most comfortable mattress. For many people, total darkness is an absolute necessity. The slightest bit of light can make it impossible to drift off for these folks. If you find yourself sensitive to light when you’re trying to fall asleep, a sleep mask is an ideal solution. A sleep mask can effectively block out all light, be it from a street lamp outside or the TV your partner is watching. But while choosing a sleep mask may seem like a simple task, there are actually quite a few factors to consider. You need to select the right type, material, padding, and other features in order to maximize comfort and fall asleep easily.

At BestReviews, we don’t accept products from manufacturers, which means you can trust our recommendations to be completely unbiased. We closely examined the sleep mask market in order to find the best products available and help you make an informed shopping decision.If you’re ready to buy a sleep mask, take a look at the matrix above for our top recommendations. For general tips on selecting a sleep mask, continue reading our shopping guide.

The body’s internal clock can be easily affected by light. Wearing a sleep mask at night can help regulate your body’s internal clock.

Sleep Mask Benefits

Perhaps you’re still wondering whether a sleep mask would be a good fit for yourself or someone you love. Here are a few of the reasons why people love their sleep masks.

  • A sleep mask effectively blocks out all unwanted light to provide pure darkness. When your brain recognizes total darkness, it triggers the body to produce melatonin, a hormone that helps you fall asleep naturally.

  • If you have a partner who has a habit of staying up reading or watching TV in bed, a sleep mask allows you to get the darkness you need without affecting their routine.

  • For individuals who work the night shift, it can be very difficult to fall asleep during daylight hours. A sleep mask can help trick your brain into thinking it’s dark out and time for sleep.

  • A sleep mask comes in handy when you’re sleeping away from home and don’t know how dark the space will be. This is true whether you’re at a friend’s house, a hospital, a hotel, or elsewhere. If you’re traveling by plane or train and want to take a nap, a sleep mask allows your body to relax in darkness despite your bustling environment.

  • A sleep mask can protect the delicate skin around your eyes, preventing imprints from bedding that could cause wrinkles. It can also help protect your eyes at night if they tend to get red or itchy from allergies.

DID YOU KNOW?

Poor sleep quality has been linked to a variety of health issues, including heart disease, high blood pressure, stroke, and diabetes.

Types of Sleep Masks

There are classic sleep masks, travel sleep masks, puffy eye sleep masks, and side-sleeping sleep masks. Which type is best for you?

  • A classic sleep mask is a piece of shaped fabric that looks a lot like a pair of eyeglasses.

    Some classic sleep masks are padded for extra comfort; others consist simply of a layer or two of fabric that covers the eyes. There is a band to hold the fabric mask against your face; some bands are stretchy and others are adjustable.
     

  • Travel sleep masks are similar to classic sleep masks but are designed to be worn in an upright position. This is ideal if you’re sleeping in a car or on a train or plane.

    Travel sleep masks usually come with a carrying pouch and may also include ear plugs to make sleeping on the road even easier.

EXPERT TIP

If you have a partner who has a habit of staying up to read, watch TV, or use a tablet, a sleep mask allows you to get the darkness you need without affecting their routine.


Staff  | BestReviews
  • A sleep mask designed for the treatment of puffy eyes is great for people who tend to wake up with pesky allergy or eye strain symptoms.

    Many of these masks have gel inserts that help cool and soothe irritated areas. If you choose, you can chill the insert in the refrigerator for an hour or so before bed to help reduce the swelling around your eyes. If you prefer a warmer therapy, you can soak the gel insert in warm water before bed.
     

  • A side-sleeping sleep mask works well for people who prefer to sleep on their side. The fact is, a classic mask may be difficult to keep in place all night if you tend to roll onto your side.

    Masks designed for side-sleeping are typically flexible so they won’t pinch your face. They may be contoured to the shape of your face to prevent shifting during the night.

CAUTION

A lack of sleep can make you forgetful and irritable. It can also worsen the symptoms of depression and/or anxiety.

Sleep Mask Materials

The most common sleep mask materials are silk, satin, cotton, and polyester.

Materials

Silk

Silk is a natural material with a soft, smooth feel. It’s lightweight and blocks light very well. However, silk can get dirty easily, and it tends to wear down when washed often.

Materials

Satin

Like silk, satin has a smooth, soft feel. For sleep masks, satin is often paired with another material such as cotton, silk, or foam.  Satin sleep masks are comfortable to wear and won’t tug at your hair. They’re also washable, though you should consult the care instructions to avoid inadvertent damage.

DID YOU KNOW?

Travel sleep masks are similar to classic sleep masks but are designed to be worn in an upright position. This is ideal if you’re sleeping in a car or on a train or plane.

Materials

Cotton

Cotton is a very popular sleep mask material. It is extremely breathable and comfortable to wear, and it blocks light well.

Cotton masks are ideal for individuals with allergies and sensitive skin. You can easily wash a cotton sleep mask, though it may fade with repeated washings.

Materials

Polyester

Polyester is a very durable material and is a comfortable option for a sleep mask. It blocks light effectively and can be washed easily by hand.

It isn’t particularly breathable, however, so if you’re a hot sleeper, you may wish to consider a sleep mask made of a different material.

Cotton is very breathable and absorbs sweat easily. A cotton sleep mask is ideal for warm weather or if you tend to get warm while you sleep.

Staff
BestReviews

Questions to Ask Before Buying a Sleep Mask

To make the most of your investment, it pays to find out the answers to these questions before buying a particular sleep mask.

Considerations

Would a sleep mask with padding serve you well?

Many sleep masks feature some type of padding to help cushion the face. Some masks use foam while others have a gel insert. Sleep masks with a gel insert can be chilled to help soothe headache pain or puffy eyes.

Considerations

Would you prefer a strap made of elastic or Velcro?

It’s important to choose a sleep mask with a strap that fits well. If an elastic strap is too tight or too loose, it won’t be comfortable. A Velcro strap may be more adjustable and easier to fit. If you have a larger head, a sleep mask with a Velcro strap could be a better option for you.

DID YOU KNOW?

Some sleep masks have Velcro straps that allow you to adjust the size and fit of the mask.

Considerations

What type of sleep mask design is best for you?

The simplest and most inexpensive sleep mask design is flat and rests directly against your eyes. This design isn’t as effective at blocking light as other styles, and if your eyes are sensitive, you may experience some skin or eye irritation.

Other sleep masks feature contoured or molded eye spacing with recesses so the material doesn’t rest directly against your eyes. The spacing allows the mask to block light more effectively. This design tends to cost more than the simple flat design, but it could be worth it.

Considerations

Would you be interested in a sleep mask with an aromatherapy component?

Aromatherapy is often recommended for individuals who have trouble sleeping. In particular, the scent of lavender is thought to help calm you and encourage sleep. Some sleep masks are infused with lavender for this reason.

If you’re not a fan of the scent or have an allergy, however, you should skip these types of masks.

EXPERT TIP

Pairing a sleep mask with ear plugs can lead to an even more peaceful night’s sleep.


Staff  | BestReviews

How Much Should I Spend on a Sleep Mask?

Sleep masks vary in price based on the material, design, and features, but you can typically expect to spend between $5 and $50 for one.

  • For a simple sleep mask that blocks out most light, a price between $8 and $15 is reasonable.

  • For a padded sleep mask that blocks out most light, expect to pay between $15 and $30.

  • For a padded sleep mask that blocks out nearly all light, expect to pay between $30 and $50.

If you work at night and must sleep during the day, look for a sleep mask that blocks out 100% of the light for the deepest sleep.

Staff
BestReviews

Tips

  • Store your sleep mask carefully – particularly if it has a molded design. Don’t fold it, and keep it stashed safely in a drawer when you’re not using it.

  • In warmer weather when you get sweaty, it’s important to wash your sleep mask regularly. Some are machine washable, but others must be washed by hand. Check the manufacturer’s care instructions for best results.

  • Make sure that the mask fits snugly around your head to avoid slippage during the night.

If you need to sleep in an extremely bright location, choose a sleep mask that blocks out 99% to 100% of all light.

FAQ

Q. Can a sleep mask really help you sleep better?

A. A sleep mask can be particularly helpful for people who have trouble falling asleep in the first place. Blocking out light helps stimulate melatonin production in the body, which can help you drift off. A mask can also help you sleep longer and more deeply because it blocks out any light that may develop as you sleep.

Q. What sleep mask fabric is best for preventing fine lines and wrinkles?

A. If you’re concerned primarily about preventing the signs of aging around your eyes, opt for a silk or satin mask. These fabrics are extremely soft and smooth, so they protect the delicate skin in the eye area.

Q. What features should you look for in a headache relief sleep mask?

A. Sleep masks that allow for cold therapy are usually the most helpful for dealing with headaches. Look for a style with a gel insert that you can place in the freezer or refrigerator to chill for an hour or so before bed.

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