Sleep can be an elusive creature. We all have rituals and requirements that help us finally drift off. One of the things that is most important is darkness. Your body clock relies on darkness to make you sleepy and without darkness most of us can't sleep. But what happens if there are streetlights, your partner needs a nightlight, or it just isn't dark enough in your room for you to drift off. The idea of a sleep mask isn't new, and while thanks to some new movies people are now seeing them as another toy for the bedroom they're still designed to comfortably let you drift off. There's several different basic designs of sleep mask including the simple shape down to the contoured and ones with built in headphones! There's so many options out there that it can be tough to figure out which one you want.
The Best Eye Mask for Sleeping
Alaska Bear Natural Silk Sleep Mask
This is your basic sleep mask, a simple black shape mask with an elastic band to hold it in place. It's cheap, basic and won't get tangled in your hair since it's not got velcro. This is made of natural mulberry silk on both sides so it's reversible and breathable. The silk is hypoallergenic and allows skin to breathe so you don't feel hot and it won't irritate sensitive skin. The strap adjusts from 15.8 to 27.6” and will not get in the way of ear plugs or CPAP masks. The silk is thick enough that you won't see through it even in daylight and large enough that it covers your entire eye area without covering the nose.
- Hypoallergenic Silk
- Storage Pouch
This has a two strap design that helps it stay in place better, it's large enough to cover the entire eye area and is flexible so it moves with you while you're sleeping. It's made of natural materials like silk and cotton. There is also a version with a nose piece that will cover the nose as well to help block even more light. It's also washable which is sanitary.
These are basic, and the quality isn't great. The dye has a tendency to run and this can leave a stain on your pillows or on your face. The surface is soft and smooth but it's not very breathable. The mask is also quite large for someone with a small face and may over more than is comfortable. The adjuster clips will also either tighten it to the point where your eye lashes feel squashed or leave too much room. There's not enough padding below the eye area to really block the light depending on the shape of your nose. The shape of this is also not compatible with a CPAP machine.
Bedtime Bliss BTB01 Contoured Mask
These come with earplugs and a carry bag to protect them when traveling as well as an ebook with sleep tips. The eye mask has a bubbled contour shape which is light and gives a puffed out area around the eyes to stop the lashes getting squished. This is ideal for a woman who wants to sleep with fake lashes in since it will stop them getting crushed and allows you to open your eyes while still having the mask on. The black foam material holds its shape well and cups around the eye area to stop light getting in around the nose. The back is adjustable via velcro straps and it won't put pressure on your eyes like a traditional flat mask.
- Contoured foam
- Storage Pouch/Ear plugs
The design of these helps to prevent pressure on the eyes so you won't wake up with blurry vision. It's thinner and lighter than the traditional cloth mask and the contouring helps make it fit your face better so that no light gets in. It's compact and the bag fits both the earplugs and the mask so it's convenient to travel with. The foam pops right back into place if it gets smushed.
This isn't great for stomach sleepers since the foam will pop inwards and push on your eye. It's also not washable and it's got a very small strap which may not be big enough to be comfortable for all adults. The velcro is also a problem if you have longer hair as it will snag. It's not very sturdy and will also begin to disintegrate after a few months.
Aveline Silk Sleep Mask
A slightly larger version of the Alaska Bear, this has a much taller profile and wraps around the head. It's made of a silk-satin blend and is thick enough to block out light completely. It's hypoallergenic and washable with no latex. It's ruched in the middle at the nose to fit around a CPAP machine. The band wraps around the ears and is padded to add muffling but there's also ear plugs included.
- Covers ears
This blocks light well including around the nose area. It's very tall so even if it slides up or down while you're sleeping it will still cover your eyes. The color doesn't run d it feels nice and soft.
It's very thick and foamy which can get hot at night. The foam has a slight gassing-off as well which can be obnoxious until it clears. Not everyone is going to be comfortable with it covering the ears as well. The velcro will also get caught in longer hair and can feel like it's restricting your head.
Simple Health Sleeping Eye Mask
Similar in shape and size to the Alaska Bear mask this also comes with a gel insert that can be warmed or cooled. The cooling helps to reduce swelling in the eye area and can leave you with less puffy areas. The kit also comes with a storage bag and ear plugs. It's made of a triple weave silk material which is thin and light and has two adjustable elastic straps in the back to keep it in place. The nose area is also adjustable which can help block even more light.
- Gel Insert
- Bag and Ear Plugs
- Adjustable Nose
As one of the cheapest masks you're getting a lot here. The gel pack is an added bonus and it's like having two masks in one since you can also use it without it. The elastic doesn't catch in hair and it's soft enough not to irritate the eyes and still allows your skin to breathe. It's light and not foamy so you can forget it's there.
The “adjustable” nose doesn't stay put and it's quite small in size so you may get light leaks. The straps are flimsy and apt to break and the color will run if the mask gets wet or damp. The gel pad doesn't retain heat or cold for more than a few minutes and is very small so it may not fit over both eyes.
AGPtEK Ultra Soft Sleep Headphones Eye Mask
A great idea for someone who wears headphones to sleep as well since this has them built in to the eye mask. It's made of a breathable foam with mesh covering which helps air circulate better through it while still blocking out all the light. The speakers have HD sound and can be adjusted so that the audio goes into your ear. The speakers are low profile so it works for side sleepers too. The cable is 5 feet long and has a volume remote so you don't have to sleep with your phone next to you. The back is velcro adjustable and it's also washable since the headphones can be removed.
- 59” braided cord
- HD Headphones
- Carry case
These block light really well and having the headphones built in makes life much simpler if you've been trying to wear both and getting them tangles. The adjustable straps work for most sized heads but won't go very small. The speakers have a nice rich sound and since they're adjustable they will also fit anybody. The cord is braided which helps prevent it getting tied up and stops it getting damaged.
The sound from the headphones isn't very loud and the mask has a tendency to slide about as you sleep because there's no way to hook it over the ears. This also means you have to adjust it to be very tight which is uncomfortable. The velcro can get stuck in longer hair. The construction feels cheap and they're not well made. This doesn't adjust very much so if your head isn't “normal” sized it won't fit. It doesn't block light well as it doesn't contour to the face and just sits there with whatever is the highest point.
The best eye mask for sleeping is one that blocks the light out and doesn't interfere with you while you're sleeping. If you need extras like headphones then the AGPtEK is a convenient set up, though if you're listening to binaural sounds you may be disappointed in the quality. The Aveline is the best at blocking out light but it's thick which some people may find sweaty and uncomfortable.