There’s nothing like a good sleep mask to help you get your beauty rest, and they’re available in all different shapes, sizes, and functionalities. In this post, we reveal our favorite sleep masks for different kinds of people and circumstances like side sleepers, travel, sleep apnea and more.
Selecting The Best Sleep Masks
Seep masks are generally designed to promote better sleep by blocking out unwanted light, but there are plenty of masks on the market that serve multiple purposes. Unfortunately, for consumers, they aren’t always “one size fits all” and some masks will feel more comfortable and accommodating to you than others. Use this helpful guide to direct you to the sleep mask that best fits you and your circumstances.
- Best For Side Sleepers — Alaska Bear
- Sleep Apnea — MZOO Mask
- Best Mask For Travel — Sleep Master
- Dry Eyes Sleep Mask — Kimkoo
- Best For Men — Bedtime Bliss
While we know a lot about sleep and sleep accessories, we aren’t medical professionals so you should consult your primary health care physician to answer your specific questions regarding sleep masks and your specific condition, like sleep apnea or dry eyes, for example. We do, however, think this is a great starting point for you and your search, so let’s get into the juicy details you came for.
About Our Selection Process
We aren’t paid by any companies to put in a good word when we chose our favorite sleep masks. Instead, we sifted through hundreds of individual reviews and narrowed it down to a select few so we could test them out ourselves amongst our different sleep enthusiasts here at The Slumber Yard. In light of this, you can trust that all of our content is 100% honest, authentic, and reflects the personal opinions of our versatile team.
It can especially be uncomfortable if you’re laying up against the strap adjuster, which tends to be located on the side of the mask. We think Alaska Bear’s Natural Sleep Mask, however, eliminates these problems.
Back sleepers (usually) don’t have any issues when it comes to sleeping with a sleep mask, but it’s a different story for people who sleep on their side. Certain masks may be too heavy or dense, causing side sleepers to wake up after a few hours feeling a lot of pressure up against their temples.
The mask is constructed with natural mulberry silk on both sides, making it ultra smooth, thin, lightweight, and most importantly– comfortable for side sleeping. We also think it feels cool and luxurious against the face, and it did a good job at blocking out unwanted lights. So we honestly weren’t surprised to see that 75% of their 11,769 reviews are 5 star ratings.
It also comes with an adjustable strap that rests toward the back of your head, which prevents you from laying your head on a tiny piece of plastic all night.
One think you’ll really love about this mask is that it’s the most affordable mask on this list. It’ll only cost you about $10. We’re not saying the other masks are particularly expensive, but hey — every saved dollar counts. Like all the masks on this list, you can purchase this one on Amazon and Prime members can choose 2-day shipping at checkout.
Folks with sleep apnea, a common sleep disorder that affects 22 million Americans, know how much of a struggle it can be to get a full night’s sleep without any disruptions, and you especially don’t want your sleep mask to contribute to those disruptions.
After looking through reviews from folks with sleep apnea, 18 people who sleep with CPAP machines gave this mask 5 stars, and one person with sleep apnea gave it 1 star but seemed to do so as a mistake, as they only give praise to the mask and mention how much it improved their sleep. So as it seems, the general consensus says this sleep mask rocked.
It fits comfortably around the head and face for those who sleep with a CPAP machine, and has a firmly sealed fit so it helps stop CPAP air leaks from drying out your eyes and causing irritation. We aren’t sure if its construction has something to do with that, but unlike other masks, it’s manufactured using heat-bonded technology rather than glue.
It also has contoured eye cups so your eyes and eyelashes don’t ever touch the inner shell of the mask when you’re wearing it. As an added plus, they include a set of ear plugs so you can block out bothersome noises as well as unwanted light.
On Amazon, the MZOO sleep mask is going for about $16, which is a low price to pay for high-quality. Like all the masks we mention today, it’s also available on Amazon and Amazon Prime. Just make sure to wash this mask with clean water before use, per the instructions from MZOO.
If you’re a frequent air traveler, you’re probably over the novelty of flying and would rather catch up on your sleep than look out the window to see the view from the sky — been there, done that. Of course, sleeping on a plane can be difficult when you have rows of overhead lights above you and a screaming baby three seats back. This is where the Sleep Master mask comes in handy.
This mask covers a ton of surface area on your face, making it close to impossible for light to penetrate through. It also completely covers your ears, keeping the earplugs that come included with the mask snug and secure in your ears so they don’t go falling out.
Instead of having elastic straps, this sleep mask is designed with velcro straps so whether you’re sleeping with the back of your head against the headrest or with the side of your face against the window (or the stranger you accidentally fell asleep on), you won’t be leaning against a hard plastic strap adjuster. Other materials used to construct this mask include a cotton interior, and a synthetic material on the outside.
Out of the five sleep masks mentioned on this list, Sleep Master is the only one made in the United States, making it a good option for those who’d rather support American made manufacturers.
It currently goes for about $26 on Amazon, so it has earned its spot as the most expensive sleep mask on this list.
This is one of the more unique sleep masks we’ve run into, but it’s definitely effective for people with dry eyes and has even been recommended by ophthalmologists, according to the description on the Amazon page.
The kimkoo hot compress eye mask is plush, purple, and feels nice and fuzzy against your face. The one downside of this mask, we think, is its bulkiness. But if you sleep on your back and want to relieve your dry eyes, it’s probably something you’ll be able to look passed.
How does it work exactly? The inside is filled with flaxseed filling that naturally absorbs moisture, and releases upon heat activation. That means no water is necessary, which we thought was really neat.
All you need to do is pop it in the microwave for 30-50 seconds, close your eyes, and put on the sleep mask for about 6-8 minutes. During this time, the mask helps improve your eye’s natural process that prevents tear evaporation, resulting in refreshed and healthier eyes.
For a specialty mask with an innovative design, we found kimkoo to be pretty affordable. This mask is currently selling for $15.50 on Amazon and, again, is available for purchase through Amazon Prime.
We took a quick poll around the office to determine how many guys on The Slumber Yard team owned a sleep mask, and the unanimous answer was zero. Their reason was because they couldn’t imagine getting a full night’s rest while felt something strapped onto their face. So as a solution, we searched for a top-rated sleep mask that would almost feel like nothing is there. Low and behold, we found Bedtime Bliss.
The sleep mask from Bedtime Bliss is made with 100% polyester on the outer shell, and 100% polyurethane foam (jargon for neutral-foam) on the inside, making it particularly lightweight. We actually think it’s a little reminiscent of microfiber.
It does a pretty good job at blocking out light, but some of the guys did have a little light peek through the nose area. With that being said, it was only a tiny amount and they noted how they didn’t think it was enough to disrupt sleep.
One feature they loved about the Bedtime Bliss mask is its contoured eyes, allowing their eyes and eyelashes to bat and blink without touching the inside of the mask. This was a major contributor to the “barely there” feeling the boys were looking for. It also comes with a pair of earplugs if you want to block out unwanted noise like honking horns or your partner’s loud snores.
The price for the Bedtime Bliss mask lands on the lower end of the spectrum compared to the other masks on this list, retailing for right under $13. Similar to the other four we mentioned, this sleep mask is available on Amazon and through Amazon Prime.
Caring For Your Sleep Mask
Not all masks are made the same, so they’ll each have slightly different wash and care instructions. You’ll either want to check out the description on Amazon or the site’s website, or check the care tag when the mask is delivered to you. And no matter how tempting it is, don’t throw your mask in the washing machine without knowing if it’s machine washable or not. We warned you!
The Kimkoo mask, for example, has a removable cover that you can take off and wash by hand with mild soap. Next, you wipe water off immediately after washing, and leave it out to air dry. The Alaska Bear sleep mask also can’t go in the washing machine. Instead, wash with cold water and a mild shampoo or soap. Once it’s clean, gently squeeze the water out and leave it out to air dry.
Tips When Shopping On Amazon
Since all of the masks we discussed in this post are available on Amazon, along with many of the other products we talk about on our site, we want to give Amazon shoppers a few pointers.
1.) Read the entire description before you click the “add to cart” button. There is a ton of information that’s easy to skip over in the description, but you want to know exactly what you’re getting before you fork out any cash. Also, make sure to check for any details about trial periods, since some brands offer more than Amazon’s standard 30-day return policy.
2.) Make sure you trust the seller you’re buying from. Don’t judge their trustworthiness based on pictures because those are incredibly easy to steal. Instead, trust the real people who wrote reviews about the product you’re buying. If there are none, be extra careful because that could be a red flag.
3.) Amazon has some of the most affordable prices on the market, but be wary of extra extra low prices. Remember, you get what you pay for, and if it’s too good to be true, it probably is. If you come across a face mask for $3, it would probably be in your best interest to splurge on the extra $5, or else you might end up like those people online who post their “this is what I ordered” and “this is what actually came” horror stories.
4.) Unless your product is an amazon exclusive, which most of them aren’t, check out the product on the brand’s actual page. We also encourage you to take a peek at other reviews about the product besides the ones listed on Amazon. Amazon reviews aren’t usually the most thorough, so you can get a real good idea about what you’re buying through alternate websites. Like this review on our Slumber Yard website, for example. Since you’re here, it looks like you’re already doing your due diligence and we commend you.
How Light Affects Sleep
There are numerous contributors to poor sleep or even insomnia, and different sources of light are on the biggest perpetrators. Your body’s circadian rhythm a.k.a your body’s natural alarm clock is heavily influenced by light and darkness, which is one main reason why many people naturally wake up when the sun comes out. This is where sleep masks come in, as they create the illusion that it’s still dark outside so your internal alarm clock doesn’t go ringing at the first sign of sunrise.
Even the smallest light sources can have an impact on your sleep, like the blue light that emanates from your phone or even the little light that flashes on your DVD player. Those lights, especially before bed, can throw off your body’s circadian rhythm and even prevent the production of melatonin, the hormone in your body that helps manage your sleep-wake cycle. That’s why professionals suggest you turn off all lights and unplug your electronics, so they don’t interfere with sleep at least an hour and a half before bedtime.
Best Temperature For Sleep
Another big sleep disrupter is temperature, and you probably know this all too well once you think back on all the times you’ve woken up in the middle of the night all sweaty or, on the contrary, too cold. The ideal temperature for sleep is around 60-70 degrees depending on factors like the type of pajamas you wear, your sheets, the climate of the region you live in, and body weight. For example, if you’re used to sleeping in a big flannel onesie you could set the temp on the lower side, but if you sleep naked, something on the higher end should be perfectly fine.
Some mattresses on the market sleep hotter than your standard bed like a mattress made with memory foam, which has a reputation of retaining heat. If you’re a hot sleeper, you may want to steer clear of a memory foam mattress unless it has some type of cooling technology, like the covers on a few TempurPedic mattress models. The mattresses with the best airflow are latex foam mattresses, spring mattresses, and gel and gel-like mattresses like the ones offered by Purple.
We talked a little bit about side sleepers in this post, and the kind of sleep masks that would be most accommodating. Side sleepers should also take their sleeping position into account when they’re looking at mattresses too — in fact, all sleeper types should. Otherwise, you might end up with a stiff back or pins and needles in your arm.
Side sleepers should sleep on a soft mattress that can cradle their pressure points on the sides of their body.
Back and stomach sleepers, on the other hand, should consider a firmer mattress that’ll keep their spine in proper alignment and prevent it from sagging into the bed.
Combo sleepers, meaning somebody who switches positions throughout the night, should either cater to their most dominant side or go for something right in the middle between pressure relieving, but also supportive.