We’re living in a world full of distractions, and staying true to Murphy’s law, they seem to be at their highest levels when we’re trying to get some sleep. Television screens bathe us in white light while we lie in bed. Headlights filter through even the tiniest of cracks in the blinds.
Layover naps in the airport are laughable, and who besides babies and ninety-year-old men can take an afternoon nap with all that light flooding in?
Migraines persist and sluggish mornings prevail and the only darkness we can ever find seems to be the circles around our eyes. All we’re asking for is a little sleep!
Well, dear reader, there is a solution to your cranky plea, and believe it or not, it’s as simple as a piece of fabric slipped over your eyes. A good sleep mask can transport you to the darkest place imaginable (in a good way), no matter where you are or what time of day it is. Read on to learn about the best sleep masks available on the market today. Next stop: dreamland.
Quick Answer: The Best Sleep Masks
- Best Overall: MZOO Sleep Eye Mask
- Best Value: Alaska Bear Natural Silk Sleep Mask
- Best for Travel: Lewis N. Clark Travel Comfort Eye Mask
- Best Ultralight: Sea to Summit Traveling Light Eye Shade
- Best Cotton: Mavogel Cotton Sleep Eye Mask
- Best Silk: Jersey Slumber Silk Sleep Mask
- Best Heated: Drop of Diviniti Sleep Mask
- Best Warm Weather: Nidra Premium Sleep Mask
- Best Set: LKY Digital Blackout Sleep Mask
- Most Versatile: Manta Sleep Mask
Sleep Is Good for You. Fact or Fiction?
“There is no such thing as a dumb question,” said my second grade teacher. “Unless you’re asking me if humans need sleep,” she probably muttered under her breath.
The only thing more important than sleep is oxygen, maybe gravity. Adults need at least seven solid hours of sleep to keep the brain functioning properly. Think cognitive and behavioral functions. Attention. Problem-solving. Reaction time. Mood. All of these are greatly affected by how much good sleep a person gets.
And it’s not just the brain that is affected by sleep. Poor sleep habits have been linked to a higher risk for certain diseases and medical conditions. Obesity, type 2 diabetes, high blood pressure, heart disease, stroke, mental health problems, depression, and early death can all be a result of restless or interrupted nights, so to answer this incredibly dumb question: Sleep is good for you. Really good.
Many people head straight to the pharmacy when they have a sleeping problem, others to the bottle. Side effects from these remedies can be as harmful as skipping sleep altogether. A simple internet search will guide the more health-conscious types down the path to meditation, yoga poses, breathing exercises, summer rain soundtracks, Tibetan prayers, non-dairy shakes, and fluffy animal counting. But, really, for most people, something as simple as a quiet, dark room is all they need. That’s where the sleep masks come in. Non-addictive, liver-friendly, effortless, secular, and inexpensive, sleep masks are the answer to your restless nights.
Types of Masks
The mask concept isn’t terribly complicated, but there are different designs, styles, shapes, and materials to choose from. So which is the best eye mask for sleeping? Read further and decide for yourself.
The simplest design made from the simplest of fabrics. A classic design has an elastic band that fits over your head and a single piece of fabric that sits flat over your eyes. Usually made from cotton and synthetic materials, this is the kind of mask you get from the flight attendant while sitting in coach. It gets the job done, but you can do better.
An intermediate design is usually made from multiple layers of higher-quality cotton and other breathable fabrics. It has a spot for your nose made from moldable foam, and an adjustable band means it sits comfortably around your head with little chance of a disappearing act during the night.
Made from silk rather than cotton, this upper echelon of masks is the softest, smoothest, and most skin-friendly in the field. A more ergonomic nose foam allows for uninterrupted breathing, and a concave design over the eyes means that even your wildest REM sleep won’t be bogged down by compressive sleep mask material. The concave design also means you can wear the mask during your lunch break nap and not have to worry about smearing any makeup. Adjustable straps and thoughtfully placed buckles keep the mask in place and your hair from becoming a tangled disaster. Fun colors are usually an option, too.
Ultralight. Ultraminimalist. Travel sleep masks pack down to the smallest, least-intrusive size possible, so you can carry it in your pocket or purse. They are usually made from microfiber that’s difficult to stain and easy to clean. You can now sleep anywhere in the world.
Sleep deprivation isn’t the only reason to wear a mask. For some people, migraines are the bane of their existence, and the only remedy is a bottle of Excedrin and a deal with the devil. For others, sinus pressure is a constant annoyance from which there is little escape. Infrared-heated, graphene-lined face masks swoop in to the rescue. Multiple temperatures and a self-timer soothe you to sleep or allow temporary relief until the worst of the discomfort passes. Combine with eye drops before bed, and gently steam all the pain away.
Best Sleep Mask Reviews
Now that you have an idea of the different types of masks and what kind of mask might be best for you, here is a list of the best sleeping masks you can find today.
Best Sleep Mask Overall
For the best sleeping mask overall, the MZOO Sleep Eye Mask is a clear winner. Super-soft and feather-light, with a patented light-blocking, ergonomic design made from memory foam, the MZOO Sleep Eye Mask naturally fits to the bridge of your nose and blocks out every speck of light, giving you the night of rest you dream about. If traditional sleep masks encumber your eyes and disrupt your sweetest slumber, then the unique, hollowed design is for you. This wider and deeper space makes the MZOO Sleep Eye Mask perfect for waking activities as well, so you can find your deepest Zen as you practice yoga or meditation. A soft, adjustable buckle strap fits all head sizes, doesn’t catch in your hair, and allows for a comfortable sleep in any position you choose. Comes in four colors to choose from.
Best Value Sleep Mask
For the best value sleeping mask, look no further than the Alaska Bear Natural Silk Sleep Mask. Made from organic mulberry silk and filled with the softest of cottons, you’ll think you’ve been transported to the fanciest of spas every time you slip this sleek, smooth, total-blackout mask over your sleepy eyes. The silky, friction-free texture protects the delicate skin around your eyes from the wrinkle-causing imprints of creased pillows and bedsheets, and the organic silk and non-toxic dyes make the Alaska Bear Natural Silk Sleep Mask an anti-aging, hypoallergenic bargain. The adjustable head strap with buckle in the back makes it suitable for men and women, side-sleepers included.
Best Travel Sleep Mask
You’ll be sleeping easy no matter where your next journey takes you when you bring along the Lewis N. Clark Travel Comfort Eye Mask. Whether trying to catch some shut-eye on an early morning flight over the scorching Mojave Desert or snoozing in a canoe on the Columbia River, relax in total darkness with the Lewis N. Clark Travel Comfort Eye Mask, which blocks any and all light from disturbing your slumber. A soft ridge at the bottom of the mask provides extra protection from the light that sneaks in when you tilt your head back, and the elastic straps make it a one-size-fits-all, traveler’s best friend. Made from breathable, eye-soothing rip-stop nylon that’s easy to clean after that dusty bus ride through the Atacama Desert.
Best Ultralight Sleep Mask
Are you an ultraminimalist backpacker who loves conquering mountains but has trouble sleeping under those annoyingly bright stars? Or maybe you’re on a budget airline and you can only bring one bag and it has to fit under the seat in front of you. Tiny pockets in those skinny jeans perhaps? If any of these describe you and your “every ounce counts” mentality, then the Sea to Summit Traveling Light Eye Shades are for you. Made from an easily washable and reusable microfiber and contoured with delicate perfection to gently protect and block your dainty eyes from the harsh light of Torres del Paine or the Tokyo skyline, the Sea to Summit Traveling Light Eye Shade packs down small so that you can take it on any adventure. Added bonus: ear plugs to block out the maddening hoot of owls.
Best Cotton Sleep Mask
For cotton sleep masks, the Mavogel Cotton Sleep Eye Mask is by far your best choice. With five layers of soft, super-breathable fabric that seems to float above your eyes and a triangle wing design that keeps the mask from floating off your face, you’ll undoubtedly be dreaming about floating on the fluffiest of clouds in no time after you strap this cotton wonder mask on. A patented, flexible carbon steel “bending cartilage” ergonomic design ensures the mask fits softly and snugly on the bridge of your nose, keeping any light from stirring you from dreamland. This 100% handmade product means smooth seams so that you can sleep in any position with minimum rubbing, and the improved, flexible strap means it can fit any head.
Best Silk Sleep Mask
Sleek and smooth and lightweight, silk is the material of choice for sleep masks, and for the best of the bunch, the Jersey Slumber Silk Sleep Mask takes the top spot. With 100% top-grade silk and a featherlight feel, this sleep mask is designed to minimize face/eye/eyelash compression, so it feels like you’re wearing nothing while blocking out every ray of sleep-interrupting light. And with a soft and comfortable adjustable strap, the Jersey Slumber Silk Sleep Mask ensures you won’t lose it around your neck or in your hair while you sleep or practice the most gravity-defying yoga poses. Comes in five fun color designs.
Best Heated Eye Mask
If you suffer from migraines and are looking for a soothing remedy that doesn’t come in pill form, try the Drop of Divini Heated Sleep Mask. Made from 100% mulberry silk for a breathable, smooth feel and armed with a graphene infrared interior heat film for an evenly distributed heat blanket for your eyes, you’ll never want to see the light of day again after strapping these puppies on. A six-foot USB port cable plugs into the wall or portable battery so that you can wear these dreamy eye sweaters on the go, and with four temperature and timer settings, you can melt away all of the day’s stress and maybe tomorrow’s, too. Use in conjunction with eye drops to treat red, itchy eyes, and prevent sticky, uncomfortable morning eyelash syndrome. Sinus problems can also be soothed with this all-in-one, miracle mask. Comes in stealth black or pretty pink.
Best Warm Weather Sleep Mask
Made from a lightweight, breathable polyester that stays cool even in the hottest conditions, the Nidra Sleep Mask is an obvious choice for summertime afternoon naps or for those who just can’t escape the heat. With almost a decade of market dominance and the bragging rights of being featured in numerous trustworthy publications, the Nidra Sleep Mask and its patented contoured shape that won’t bother sleeping eyes have become the industry standard. A velcro strap adjusts to any and all heads, and a comfortable nose piece ensures everyone will be happy to sleep with this tried-and-true, 100% stimuli-blocking workhorse. They actually guarantee that you’ll love it.
Best Sleep Mask Set
If you’re the kind of person who would lose your head if it weren’t attached to your neck, then consider going for the LKY Digital Blackout Sleep Mask three pack. Made from the softest and most breathable fabric and foam, and with a 99% light-proofing performance, you’ll never have a bad night of sleep again. A minimalist design that perfectly covers only your eyes and not your nose means the mask will fit easily in your handbag or back pocket, and with deep contours so there’s absolutely no pressure on the eyes, you won’t have to worry about losing any makeup during an afternoon nap or even a drop of expensive skin care lotion at night. A comfortable, adjustable headband won’t snag in your hair or on the back of your chair during lecture class, and each set comes with three colors so you can dress for any occasion.
Most Versatile Sleep Mask
10. Manta Sleep Mask
The most adjustable, versatile sleep mask award, hands down, goes to the Manta Sleep Mask. With a completely different design than any of the aforementioned masks, the Manta Sleep Mask can be customized to fit any size head, any spacing of eyes, and any eye depth, making this a mask for literally anyone. The tapered, soft foam molds perfectly around your eyes, and the deep cups eliminate any possibility of unwanted eye pressure. Made from the softest, most breathable material means you’ll be falling into the most comfortable sleep no matter what position you favor, and a triple-reinforced elastic stretch band ensures a flexible, comfortable fit no matter where you are. Sit back and relax, or lie down and drift off, while the gentle, snag-free fasteners will keep you wrapped in darkness until you’re fully rested and refreshed. Machine-washable. Bonus: ear plugs and a nifty carrying case.
There you have it. You are now an expert on all things sleep masks. Choose which is right for you and your lifestyle and take the plunge into the world of uninterrupted, REM-heavy, body and mind-healing, mouth-agape, envy of everyone on the plane, time-traveling, dreamy sleep. Pair with ear plugs and you’ll wake up to a much brighter morning and a much brighter life. Turns out that all you needed was just a little more dark.