Research consistently finds that people obtain better-quality sleep when they sleep in darkness. But it’s not always possible to achieve a totally darkened sleep space without some help — and that’s where sleep masks come in. No matter whether you work night shift and sleep during the day, you need to sleep on a plane, or you’re tired of streetlights making their way into your bedroom, a sleep mask can help you block out light and sleep better.
Sleep masks come in a variety of materials and designs, so be prepared to sort through a lot of options. To narrow down your choices, consider whether you like a contoured or flat design; whether you prefer memory foam, silk, or another material; what style of strap adjuster best suits you; and your primary purpose for using the mask. Then check out this list of stellar options to get started on your search.
Best Sleep Masks 2021
- Editor’s Pick – Sleep Master Sleep Mask
- Best for Headaches – Total Eclipse Sleep Mask
- Best Travel Sleep Mask – Dream Essentials Travel Sleep Mask
- Best Silk – Alaska Bear Natural Silk Sleep Mask
- Best for Kids – Bedtime Bliss Sleep Mask
- Best Light Blocker – MZOO Blackout Eye Mask
- Best Bargain – JEFlex Natural Silk Sleep Mask
Sleep Master Sleep Mask
- The mask is made from soft, comfortable memory foam.
- The eye area is contoured to allow free eye movement and minimize pressure.
- Extended coverage and fitted edges help block out light at the nose and cheekbones.
- The long, wide, adjustable elastic strap should accommodate virtually all adult heads.
- When it first arrives, the mask might have a chemical odor. You might need to let it off-gas before using it.
- This mask is a bit more substantial than some others on the market, so it may take some getting used to.
Best for Headaches
Total Eclipse Sleep Mask
- The mask features an ergonomic design that’s contoured around the eye sockets to minimize the chances that you’ll feel pressure on your eyes.
- The adjustable elastic means this mask should fit most adults. The soft strap is fairly snag-free.
- The contoured design helps block out light to facilitate sleep in brighter spaces.
- For what you’re getting, this is a pretty budget-friendly eye mask.
One possible downside? Some users have reported that the material doesn’t hold up super well to long-term use.
Best Sleep Mask for Travel
Dream Essentials Escape Luxury Sleep Mask
I know it seems like I’m playing favorites here, but hear me out: the Escape Luxury mask comes with a travel bag (and earplugs in their own case that can slip into the bag with the mask), is soft enough that if you’re leaning against the window or you’ve turned the side of the face toward your seat, the mask won’t shift significantly into your nose, and it offers sufficient darkness that when the route for your flight or train trip means sun is streaming in beside you, you won’t be disturbed. There’s no Velcro to get stuck on the upholstery behind you (or to pick up travel dirt), and the mask is also cheap enough that you won’t be too upset if you lose it on your trip.
Runner-up: Alaska Bear Sleep Mask. Nothing about the Alaska Bear Sleep Mask is fancy or exciting, and that’s part of what makes it great for travel. The $10 blindfold-style mask comes with a mesh carrying bag and is soft and comfortable—you’ll hardly notice you’re wearing it. The Alaska Bear mask won’t provide total darkness like the Escape Luxury mask, but it’s noticeable enough to tell your seatmate you’re not in the mood for a chat.
Large eye pockets and a soft, cushiony exterior make this Dream Essentials eye mask a real winner.
Alaska Bear Natural Silk Sleep Mask
- The 100% natural mulberry silk fabric is breathable and gentle on skin.
- The mask is available in tons of colors, so you can pick to suit your tastes.
- The plastic adjuster rests at the back of your head, so it won’t get in the way of side sleeping.
- The mask is designed to fit even when you’re using ear plugs or a CPAP mask.
- The mask lies flat against the eyes and isn’t contoured, so you could feel some pressure on your eyes and/or feel your eyelashes pressed against the fabric.
- Unless you keep the straps very snug, the mask might shift around a bit while you’re sleeping.
The 100% mulberry silk Alaska Bear Natural Silk Sleep Mask comes in tons of colors. It’s designed to fit even if you’re using ear plugs or a CPAP mask.
Best for Kids
Bedtime Bliss Mask
- Very budget-friendly product, so if your kids are just starting to try a sleep mask you won’t be out too much money if they decide they aren’t a fan.
- Actually is very comfortable to sleep in no matter what sleeping position.
- Great for travel since it can fold up and take up only a few inches.
- Not the most durable. At this price point, this mask is good for every now and then use, but if you use it every night expect some wear and tear.
MZOO Sleep Mask
- The mask is made from memory foam, so it should feel soft and comfortable.
- The contoured design relieves pressure on the eyes.
- The adjustable (sliding) buckle strap lets you customize the fit to your head.
- The mask is made via heat bonding (instead of with glue), so it might be more durable than similar products that are made with glue.
- While not crazy expensive, this is pricier than a lot of the other options on this list.
- Some users have reported that the mask still lets in some light.
The MZOO Sleep Mask’s contoured design helps relieve pressure on the eyes, while the adjustable strap lets you customize fit. The mask is made via heat bonding for extra durability.
How We Picked
Here at Sleepopolis, we’ve tested a lot of sleep masks. So we’re pretty familiar with the options that are out there. Here you’ll find a few tried-and-true sleep masks that we’ve personally tested in the past (such as the Alaska Bear) along with some contenders that are newer to us.
What each of these options has in common is that they passed muster when it comes to the following criteria.
Sleep masks are supposed to help you sleep better. It does more harm than good to use a sleep mask that’s so scratchy or uncomfortable that it interferes with your sleep. So we focused on masks that are soft to the touch and relatively breathable.
Different people will have different preferences when it comes to sleep mask design, so we included a variety of options. For instance, some people wouldn’t dream of using anything but a contoured mask, while others prefer the simplicity of flat options.
Design can also refer to the strap portion of a mask as well as features that help block out light. For instance, the strap could use a buckle, a slider, or velcro to secure itself, and these options can each affect comfort in their own ways. Again, go with your personal preference.
We focused on sleep masks made from materials that are meant to enhance comfort, such as slow-responding memory foam and soft, breathable silk. We nixed any mask made from materials that might be scratchy or otherwise uncomfortable.
One of the primary reasons that a person might seek out a sleep mask is to block light, so we made sure to include several masks that really excel at light blockage. These masks might feature extended coverage, unique nose bridge designs, or adjustable straps that help you form the mask to your face. If you need a sleep mask to block out light, you should be able to find a solid option on this list.
Sleepopolis Buying Tips
Still trying to settle on the best sleep mask for your needs? Consider the following:
- Do you prefer a contoured or flat design? Some eye masks lie flat across your face, while others feature contoured cups that make space around your eyes instead of lying flush against your eyelids. Determining whether you want a contoured or flat mask is an efficient way to rule out some options.
- Do you have long hair? Long hair can easily get stuck in velcro enclosures, which can be painful. If you have anything other than close-cropped hair, you might want to look for a mask that doesn’t use velcro.
- What’s your preferred material? Most decent masks feature either memory foam or silk as their primary material. Silk is very gentle on the skin, and there’s some evidence that it might have certain skin health benefits. Memory foam is very soft and will contour a bit to your face. Your preference will help you zero in on the best choices for you.
Finding the right sleep mask should help you obtain better-quality sleep, so it’s worth some time and effort. By considering your functional needs and your preferences when it comes to materials and contouring, you should be able to find the best sleep mask for you.