We all know the benefits of getting a good night’s sleep. The U.S. Department of Health and Human Services lists improvement in overall health, mood and relationships as a few of them. In order to get a good night’s rest, you’ll want to be sleeping the right amount of hours (about seven to be precise) and sleep in the right environment: darkness.
Neurologist and author of “The Rested Child” and “The Sleep Solution” Dr. W. Christopher Winter explains to WWD that a darker environment causes your body to produce more melatonin, which helps facilitate deeper sleep. But sometimes, we are not able to naturally block out light and other sleep distractions — and that’s where sleep masks come in.
How they work is pretty simple: Sleep masks create that dark environment needed to get the most optimal sleep. Board-Certified dermatologist and assistant clinical professor of dermatology at Mount Sinai School of Medicine Dr. Jeannette Graf explains that sleep masks are designed to increase our restorative sleep phases. “They help to elevate melatonin levels by blocking any artificial light entering your space, which can disrupt our biological clock within us,” Dr. Graf tells WWD.
Sleep masks also come with many health benefits. “Wearing a sleep mask will help you get the best night’s sleep possible,” she says. “You’ll have more REM sleep, reduced risk of obesity and disease, better immunity, and increased brain and mental health.”
Dr. Winter says sleep masks are great options for those who can’t control light in their sleeping environment or those who struggle with sleep in general. Dr. Graf agrees, but notes that anyone who wants to try a sleep mask can and should. “There’s a variety of sizes, shapes and materials available to best suit your needs,” she says. “Test a few to find out what works best for you.”
In general, Dr. Winter recommends looking for a mask that doesn’t apply too much pressure on your eyeballs. If you’re looking to reduce puffiness and swelling in the eye area, Dr. Graf says you’ll want to look for a weighted sleep mask that includes heat-absorbing and cooling materials. But most important of all, she says, a face mask should be able to block out light. “Sleep masks work only if they are 100% light blocking and when total darkness is guaranteed,” she says.
Once you find one, aftercare is also pretty simple. Unless cleaning directions are specified, Dr. Graf recommends washing your sleep mask once a week with warm water and soap so it doesn’t accumulate bacteria. Once washed, allow the mask to air dry and it’ll be good to go.
With all that in mind, we’ve rounded up the best sleep masks to buy. (And with the holidays coming up, they also make for the perfect gift for beauty lovers — alongside a spa gift basket and luxury candles — for helping her wind down at the end of a long day.) From the best silk options to ones that suit your favorite sleeping position, you’re bound to find something here you like.
Slip Contour Sleep Mask
Best Sleep Mask For Lash Extensions
Known for its super-soft mulberry silk eye masks and pillowcases, Slip is a brand most everyone can trust with their sleep needs — and the label’s latest innovation is no exception to this rule. Featuring a contoured interior design to prevent lashes from getting squished by the fabric, this new Slip sleep mask is perfect for those wanting to keep their lash extensions intact. It’s made with fan-favorite mulberry silk and comes in chic black to match whatever sleepwear you have.
Manta Sleep Mask
Best Sleep Mask For Travel
Can you really block out the world anywhere you sleep? This mask may actually deliver on its promise to do just that. Whether you’re sleeping in your own bed or on a plane, this mask should fully block out light so you can catch restful z’s. It’s made with breathable cotton and has adjustable eye cups to fit any face shape. It also comes with earplugs so you can mitigate any auditory distractions while sleeping.
Gravity Weighted Sleeping Mask
Best Weighted Mask
This is literally a weighted blanket for your eyes. Mirroring the pressure stimulation offered by the brand’s cult-classic blanket, Gravity’s weighted sleep mask distributes up to one pound of weighted pressure across the eyes to help reduce feelings of stress and tension and ensure a good night’s rest. (The eye mask is even filled with the same fine-grade glass beads found in the signature blanket). Not only that, but the mask feels so cozy against your skin, as it’s made with micro-plush imitation cashmere.
JYMY Silk Cooling Gel Sleep Eye Mask
Best Cooling Mask
There’s nothing quite like a cooling sensation to put you at ease. This sleep mask does just that with its removable cooling insert to help relieve migraines, tension, headaches and puffy eyes. It’s also weighted and rests comfortably on your eyes to provide the right amount of pressure to block out light and keep you asleep for as long as you need. For when you don’t want the cooling effect, simply take out the insert and enjoy the sleep mask alone with its silk fabric on one side that’s super soft.
Brooklinen Mulberry Silk Eyemask
Best Silk Sleep Mask
In our opinion, Brooklinen’s sleep masks are just as great as the brand’s renowned bedding. Made with 100% mulberry silk, this mask won’t leave lines on your face or damage your hair or skin while you sleep. It’s super soft, breathable and cool to the touch for a really nice feel. As an added bonus, it comes in seven pretty colors to choose from.
Mavogel Cotton Sleep Eye Mask
Best Mask For Back Sleepers
Complete with with five layers of breathable fabric — including super soft cotton and elastic sponge — this style has been dubbed by reviewers as “magic in a mask.” Not only is it designed to be ultra-comfortable but also block light from all angles, making it’s perfect for anyone who likes to sleep on their back. “I’ve tried so many masks over the years, but this is the only mask that blocks out all the light,” reads one five-star review. “Once you have formed the nose piece, you need to lift it upwards slightly — not away from your face, but upwards to the bridge of your nose — and that’s it, no light.”
TXFHLXW Cotton Sleep Mask
Best Sleep Mask For Side Sleepers
Made entirely of cotton, this breathable and lightweight mask wraps completely around your head for a snug fit that’s perfect for when you sleep on your side. It has a wide band that evenly distributes pressure to ensure deep sleep and offers a comfortable, stay-put fit even if you happen to toss and turn.
Tempur-Pedic Tempur-Sleep Mask
Best Mask For Blocking Light Out
Hundreds of reviewers say “absolutely no light” is let in while they wear this mask, with one shopper even mentioning they’ve been using this mask for 10 years. If that isn’t the best endorsement, we don’t what is. This Tempur-Pedic sleep mask uses the same material found in the brand’s beloved beds to contour to the shape of your face and completely block light out. It has a velcro strap, so you can adjust accordingly to get a super snug fit.
Sound Oasis Glo To Sleep Advanced Sleep Therapy Mask
Best Mask For Over-thinkers
This isn’t just a sleep mask; it’s an experience. It uses light therapy to ease a racing mind and get you to sleep faster. When you put the mask on, your eyes will focus on a pulsating light on the inside that will instantly calm you down. Once the light starts to dim, it will guide you to fully fall asleep. You can pick between red and blue light, adjust the brightness and set a timer for either 10, 20 or 30 minutes for the light. It’s a super cool way to fall asleep.
Alaska Bear Natural Silk Sleep Mask
Best Budget Sleep Mask
A good mask can easily be wallet-friendly, too. Made entirely of smooth mulberry silk, this Alaska Bear mask won’t create any lines on your face and is hypoallergenic to work for even the most sensitive skin types. While it is thin, it does provide full coverage to cover your eyes completely and block out light. Plus, it’s easily adjustable. At $9.99, this is a steal.
Morgan Lane Sleepy Lids Cashmere Set
Best Splurge Mask
For a real luxurious feel, splurge and go all cashmere. This 100% genuine cashmere mask has soft padding on the inside to create light pressure and keep light out, as well as an elastic band to fit over your head. In addition to offering great comfort, it definitely earns style points with its cute, embroidered eyelash design.
REMedy Lite Pink Sleep Mask
Turn to this if you want maximum light blockage without feeling the weight on your eyes. Dr. Graf’s personal pick is made with organic cotton, making it lightweight and breathable. It also has internal memory foam padding on the eye area for an ultra-comfortable fit and an adjustable strap to accomodate all head shapes. “I can’t speak more highly of the REMedy Sleep Mask by BluBlox,” Dr. Graf says. “It uses a sophisticated design methodology to regulate hormones [and] is a 100% light-blocking eye mask for improved REM and deep sleep.”