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Full review and video transcript
Please note that I made a few edits to the transcript so it’s clearer to read. I also added some extra notes to clarify some points I make in the video.
Hi, I’m Ethan Green from nosleeplessnights.com. In this video, I’ll be unboxing and testing out two of the latest Alaska Bear sleep masks.
One of them is a contoured memory foam sleep mask with space for your eyes and eyelashes to move about. The other is a silk sleep mask with a wraparound design that has more material covering your eyes and face.
I’ll start by opening them up and checking out the key points I always look out for with sleep masks, such as the material, the shape, the strap, and the stitching. Then I’m going to use them in different sleep positions to see how effective they are at blocking light and how comfortable they are.
After that, I’ll use them for several days so I can get back to you with a final verdict. So, let’s open them up and take a closer look.
Unboxing the contoured sleep mask
In the photo below, you can see the eye sockets created by the memory foam padded inside. Note that the blue box in the background comes with the silk mask, not this one!
I’m going to start with the contoured sleep mask, which is in the white box, and then we’ll do the wraparound silk sleep mask in the blue box. So we have a queue of Alaska bears!
I’ve cheated a bit and removed the plastic sealing tape already because sometimes when I do these unboxings it takes me forever to unwrap them with my fingers, which doesn’t make the most interesting viewing.
Let’s have a look at the carry bag first. They tend to be pretty cheaply made, these carry bags for sleep masks. I guess because it’s not a very expensive thing in the first place so they don’t want to spend too much on the carry bag. It has drawstrings to keep it closed. I’m not quite sure what the material is, but it’s pretty cheaply made. It will do the job though.
The mask itself is quite soft to the touch. I actually wrote to the Alaska Bear seller on Amazon to ask them what the exact materials were and they told me it was nylon and spandex. So there’s no silk in this sleep mask, but there is memory foam on the inside, which is what creates the depth of the eye cups.
You can see on the reverse side that there’s some padding around the eyes, which will create sockets. And that allows room for movement for your eyes and eyelids. However, they’re not the deepest sockets.
If I compare them to the Manta sleep mask, which was number two in my top 8 sleep masks video and had enormous eye sockets, the Alaska Bear’s aren’t so big. But how spacious they are will also depend on how big and how long your eyelashes are.
Note: I say top 10 sleep masks in the video, but clearly forgot that I only actually discussed 8!
What I do like is that it has padding all the way around, so it’s going to feel quite nice and soft on the face. It has a little triangular space for the nose. There’s no flexible or bendable nose cartilage, though there is in the silk sleep mask coming up next.
As for the strap, it’s stretchy because of the nylon, and is adjustable as well. It has a typical slider buckle that’s very common with sleep masks. It’s quite a big one, so I’m going to be interested to see if I can feel it on the back of my head when I’m wearing it.
In the photo below, you can see the adjustable slider strap and buckle.
As for the size, at the moment I haven’t got it on its maximum length, but I imagine because of the adjustable strap it’s going to fit pretty much every head size.
The label has some important care instructions: hand wash, air dry, do not twist, do not tumble, do not iron, do not bleach, use only mild detergent. That’s quite a lot of ‘do nots’. At least it doesn’t say ‘do not wear’ – that would be problematic!
That’s sleep masks all over though – it’s very rare that you can clean them in a washing machine. It’s pretty much always hand wash. Now let’s have a look at the wraparound silk sleep mask.
Unboxing the wraparound silk sleep mask
Below, you can see there’s a lot of silk to cover the eyes, and silk around the strap at the back too.
This one had plastic wrapping around the box, which I’m not particularly impressed by. I don’t think in this day and age there’s a need for plastic wrapping around the outside of boxes. Maybe they just wanted to keep it nice and clean. The box is quite pretty and sturdy though.
On the inside of the box, there’s a quote by Jim Butcher: “sleep is God. Go worship.”
There’s actually a much nicer carry bag than the other one, so I’m going to take back what I said about sleep mask carry bags always being cheaply made. I mean, it might be cheaply made as well, but it’s certainly less cheaply made than the other one! So if the carry bag is what you’re interested in, the silk wraparound is going to be much better. And again, it has a drawstring to keep it closed.
Let’s have a look at the actual sleep mask. I can immediately feel that it has the soft, silky feel that I personally really like with sleep masks. The original Alaska Bear sleep mask had a similar silky material that I liked a lot. It just feels lovely on the skin.
It has a wraparound design, so there’s a lot of material to cover your eyes. It doesn’t have a triangular space to go over the nose. It’s just this one headband that’s going to go all the way around your head.
It feels very, very soft. It’s going to be nice to wear, with quite a lot of padding on the inside as well so it will also hopefully be good at blocking out light.
Let’s have a look at the strap because this is something that I also believe is going to be quite interesting. You can see that it has silk all the way around the strap as well. It does have a nylon strap on the inside and you can peel the silk back. I’m not sure which side from – obviously it’s going to be the side that I try second… There you go – you can peel it back and see the nylon strap, which is a very similar strap to the previous sleep mask.
It has a slider buckle as well, so you can adjust it to fit your head size, and then pop the silk cover back. That’s going to make it more comfortable to wear in the night time. And you can stretch it out to fit different head sizes.
In the photo below, I’ve pulled back the silk cover to reveal the slider strap. I love this design detail and it worked well to reduce how much you feel the buckle when you wear it.
So this one at first glance looks really super comfortable. I’m slightly nervous to try it and see how well it’s going to block out light. Actually, there’s a key design feature I nearly missed! It does have a built-in bending nose cartilage. These are great because you can bend them over your particular nose shape, which helps block out light around the nose area.
However, this one doesn’t feel particularly sturdy, so I’m not quite sure how well it’s going to hold its shape in the night. I will have to test that out and then I’ll tell you. Just looking at the stitching, this one is stitched as well, which is good. The other one, in comparison, doesn’t have stitching to hold it together. I think it’s either heat sealed or laser sealed. I’m not quite sure as I wasn’t there in the factory when they did it! Personally, I prefer it when it’s stitched.
At first glance then, if I had to put my money on which one’s going to be better, I’d say the silk model is going to be more comfortable and potentially better at blocking out light, but I might be wrong – it’s very hard to tell.
So, let’s go through to the bedroom and I’m going to wear them in different sleep positions and tell you exactly how well they work.
Note: I didn’t discuss it in the video, but the care instructions are the same for both masks, so don’t put it in a washing machine or tumble dryer. The label also says it’s made with 19 Momme silk.
Testing them while napping and sleeping
After filming the previous section, I spent a couple of days testing the sleep masks in bed and this is what I found.
The contoured mask was comfortable to use on my side, back, or front and I liked how there was plenty of space for my eyelids and eyelashes. However, it didn’t block out 100% of the light for me. It was fine to use if the bedroom was relatively dark already, but if the room was very bright I could sense the light coming in around the nose with my eyes closed.
Below, I’m wearing the contoured sleep mask.
The silk wraparound sleep mask did a much better job of blocking out light though. With all the material and the adjustable nose piece, I could easily block out 100% of the light when on my back, my side, or my front. I did have to adjust it when I changed positions though, which happens with most sleep masks in my experience.
The material did feel quite warm, probably because of all the padding. So if you’re sensitive to warmth around your face, you might not like that.
Below, I’m using the silk mask. Note how there is much more material than in standard silk sleep masks.
My final verdict of the Alaska Bear sleep masks is that I really like the silk wraparound design. I found that it’s very comfortable and it blocked out 100% of the light, which is exactly what I want a sleep mask to do. I like the fact that it has the adjustable nose piece and the silk cover around the back covering up the strap. I thought that was a really good design touch.
The contoured design just didn’t work so well for me. Perhaps it’s because of my Roman nose, and if you have a smaller head or softer features, it might work better for you – especially if you’re looking for one with a contoured design that allows space for your eyelashes to move. But for me, it just didn’t do the job.
For over 20 pounds in the UK or 20 dollars in the US, they are quite expensive for sleep masks. So I also recommend trying out the original flat silk sleep mask from Alaska Bear, which came out top in my previous review of 8 sleep masks.
Extra info about buying them
The prices I discussed in the video were how much I paid, but they do change sometimes. I’ve seen the contoured mask for under 20 on Amazon in the UK and US recently.
You may also be able to buy them on eBay. And I’ve seen other Alaska Bear sleep masks sold on Walmart, just not these versions currently.