Whether your inability to get to sleep is caused by restless thoughts, loud surroundings, or just plain insomnia, it can be incredibly frustrating to lie awake despite your exhaustion. You may have tried switching up your pillows, trying out the best blackout curtains, or even sleep supplements. If you’re still having difficulty sleeping, or if you’re waking up throughout the night, a sleep mask may be your answer.
Benefits of Sleep Masks
OK, you’ve got your favorite new mattress, your neck is feeling good thanks to your new latex pillow (or down pillow if you’re a back or stomach sleeper), and your room is dark night and day with a new set of blackout curtains. If you still can’t sleep, your trusty sleep mask can help combat insomnia. Here are just a few of the benefits that sleeping with a mask offers:
- They help you sleep. The most obvious benefit of sleep masks is that they’ll help you get to sleep and stay asleep.
- They block out any light from inside the room. Blackout curtains block out light from outside the room, but lamps and cell phones are still distracting. If your significant other is a night owl, a sleep mask can save your relationship. Let the night owl stay up reading or watching TV. You won’t be able to tell.
- They’re easy to travel with. Sleep masks are small so you can stuff them into your carry-on with ease. Whether you’re traveling by bus, plane or train, sleep masks are a perfect accessory when you leave your blackout curtain-clad home. Plus, sleep masks are a polite signal to your neighbors: I’m not interested in talking.
- Sleep masks are affordable. While many sleep accessories are considered luxury items with a high price tag, you don’t have to spend a lot to get a great product.
- They’re comfortable, too. Whether by shape, size, or material, there’s a wide range of sleep masks on the market now for every type of sleeper. If your mask is uncomfortable, you just haven’t found the right mask.
A 2017 clinical trial that studied the effect of sleep masks and earplugs on ICU (intensive care) patients’ sleep quality suggests earplugs and eye masks reduce the length of awakenings throughout the night. These devices also increase the length of time spent in a state of deep sleep, so the patients woke up feeling more refreshed. In a 2015 study, nurses found that their cardiac patients slept significantly better when they wore sleep masks.
If sleep masks work for hospital patients, it’s likely they’ll work for you, too. Here are some of our favorite sleep masks to improve your sleep quality and keep you from waking up throughout the night.
6 Great Sleep Masks to Help You Rest Easier
This sleep mask is great for its price and also its materials. It’s made with silk, which is hypoallergenic and glides across the skin, so this is a great mask if you have sensitive skin or just prefer something softer. The adjustable band doesn’t use Velcro, so it won’t pull your hair or, if you’re a frequent traveler, the fabric on headrests. This sleep mask is larger than others, covering most of the forehead through the bottoms of the cheekbones, but it is thinner, making it a great choice for side and stomach sleepers.
A common complaint among sleep mask wearers is that their masks let in light when they’re loose, but hurt the eyes when they’re tight. MZOO’s answer is a sleep mask with a cup design. Almost like swim goggles, this eye mask puts the pressure on your forehead and cheekbones rather than the eye sockets themselves. That means you can blink freely without worrying about getting fabric in your eyes and, with a suction cup-like shape, the mask won’t slip and let in light when you move around. The mask is made with memory foam, so it will form comfortably to your face. It also includes earplugs. It’s highly rated with a 4.8-star average on Amazon and if you decide you don’t like it within 60 days, MZOO offers a full refund.
As one of the most popular sleep masks on Amazon, Bedtime Bliss’ mask is relatively small and unobtrusive, while still allowing you to open your eyes underneath. The contoured nose bridge and thicker padding make it comfortable yet breathable and lightweight. However, this pillow loses some points as the Velcro strap can get caught on hair, sheets, and headrests. Also, it’s made with polyester and polyurethane foam, so it’s not as durable as other sleep masks on this list. If you don’t love this mask, Bedtime Bliss offers a full refund.
Rather than having stretchy straps like others on this list, Dream Sleeper’s mask wraps completely around the head. That means it not only blocks out light, but it can dull sound, too. It’s also made with satin treated to feel like silk, so it’s soft, smooth, and great for side and stomach sleepers alike, though specifically designed with side sleepers in mind. This mask isn’t as tight as other masks, nor is it contoured, so it won’t form to the face. This mask fastens with Velcro as well, but with a wider strap than other sleep masks, it’s less likely to snag on hair or other objects. Finally, if you lose your mask or if it’s damaged, Dream Sleeper will replace it free of charge – just pay shipping and handling.
The Manta sleep mask may be the most expensive one on this list, but the unique design offers a higher level of customization than others. Like MZOO, this mask is shaped like swim goggles, focusing the pressure on your forehead and cheekbones instead of the eyes themselves. However, the star feature of this mask is its adjustable eye covers attached by Velcro. If you find other masks to be either too wide or too narrow on your eyes, this may be the answer. Though this mask does fasten with Velcro in the back, the design uses a micro Velcro which is less likely to snag on hair. The Manta comes with a 60-day money back guarantee and provides a six-month quality guarantee.
If you’re often dissatisfied with the level of sound blocking other sleep masks offer, you want a pillow and mask combination, and you want to look like a space alien, this is the not-mask for you. What this pillow lacks in portability it makes up for in comfort, as it encapsulates your head, neck, and face while leaving an opening for your mouth and nose. It has holes in either side of the head as well so you can slip your hands in for extra comfort. Plus, the people sitting next to you on a flight will never bother you again, and the Ostrich Pillow covers so much of your face you’ll be unrecognizable in the pictures they inevitably post on Twitter. Remember, if it’s stupid but works, it ain’t stupid.