Light: can’t live without it, can’t sleep with it. So in those less than pitch black situations, a sleep mask can give you control over the balance between the light and dark.
I’ve tested many eye masks in the years since starting this website and regularly try new ones. I use them when flying (on a plane, not in my superhero outfit), and if I need to sleep in the daytime.
I also ask my partner to test them – she has long hair and prefers not to have to untangle it from the straps in the morning. So little details like the quality of the strap design matter to her.
|Imak Eye Pillow||Amazon|
|3D Sleep Mask||Amazon|
Soft fabric or contoured?
Although sleep masks come in all shapes and sizes, there are essentially two main styles – soft fabric and contoured.
Those with a simple fabric design usually block out light better. You can shape them around your nose well, which is where those slivers of light can creep in like ninjas. For example, the Alaska Bear (top in the photo) completely blocks light when shaped to your eyes and nose.
Contoured masks are great if you prefer space to move your eyes, or if you need to avoid smudging your careful makeup. The Bedtime Bliss (below in the photo), has a gentle contour with just enough space for eye movement.
However, the amount of light contoured masks block does depend on the shape of your face. So there’s an element of luck involved, as you can’t easily predict if the design and your facial structure are the perfect match.
Another key point is your sleeping position. If you’re a stomach or side sleeper, contoured masks might not stay in place so well. But if you sleep on your back, any style should be fine.
1. Alaska Bear
Best overall for light blocking, comfort and travel
If you need a lightweight and comfortable sleep mask that shuts out as much light as possible, the Alaska Bear is my top choice.
I found that it completely blocks out light, even if the light source is quite bright. It’s made from a soft and breathable natural Mulberry silk, which feels gentle on the skin, allowing you to wear it all night long.
The straps are elastic and adjustable, so you can easily find the exact fit you need. The strap adjuster is small and thin, so you won’t feel it on your skin when you’re lying in bed. And there’s no velcro, so you won’t get your hair tangled in the straps.
It’s also a great option if you need to sleep when traveling. It’s very lightweight and can roll up into a small space. So unlike some of the larger contoured masks, it’s a convenient choice.
Overall, the Alaska Bear does a simple job very effectively. If you’re looking for a contoured design, cooling or specially padded straps, you can find those features in the masks below.
But if all you need is a comfortable sleep mask which feels beautifully soft on the skin, and reliably blocks out light at any time of the day, the Alaska Bear is a great option.Buy from Amazon
2. Bedtime Bliss
Most effective contoured sleep mask
The Bedtime bliss is probably the better of the contoured sleep masks I’ve tried. It creates plenty of space between the mask and your eyes, so your eyelids and eyelashes have room to move freely.
The straps are adjustable and won’t irritate your skin or hair. This is always a key point I look out for, so I was happy to find the mask is comfortable to wear, and you soon forget it’s there.
It blocks out light very well considering the fact that it’s a contoured type. As with many sleep masks, you may find it lets in tiny slithers of light, depending on the shape of your facial features.
But on the whole, I think they’ve done a good job of creating as good a one-size-fits-all shape as possible. It also comes with a carry case and a good set of earplugs, so it’s an ideal mask to take on your travels.
Overall, if you prefer contoured sleep masks which provide room for your eyes, the Bedtime Bliss is the one I’d recommend.Buy from Amazon
3. Jersey Slumber Silk Sleep Mask
Wide design that blocks light well, with thin slider strap
The vast majority of sleep masks seem to be made from 100% silk and have a similar design. So it’s not always obvious what the difference is between them.
What I like about the Jersey Slumber sleep mask is that it’s thoughtfully designed to be very comfortable to use all night long if you need to.
Firstly, the silk feels very soft against the skin, providing a gentle, comforting feeling for the eyes. And it’s long and wide enough to do a good job of blocking out light.
The main plus though is the strap, which avoids any potentially hair-tangling velcro. Instead, they’ve opted for an adjustable slider strap, and made it so thin and unobtrusive that you can sleep on your side with no problem.
If you’ve found silk masks in the past let in a little light around the nose, you might find that with this one too because the design isn’t as contoured as some others.
But otherwise, this is a lovely eye mask that ticks all the right boxes for comfort. And because of its soft and light shape, it’s another good choice if you need to sleep on a plane.Buy from Amazon
4. Imak Eye Pillow
Can be cooled to relieve headaches, migraines and tension
The Imak eye pillow goes beyond simple light blocking, providing acupressure and cooling to the whole area around your eyes.
The exterior is made from a comfortable lycra material. It’s also considerably heavier than most other sleep masks, which you may find brings a feeling of comfort in itself.
It has ergo beads built into the mask, which provides pain relief and relaxation due to the massaging pressure of the beads on your face.
You can leave it in the fridge or freezer for a short while to get a cooling effect, again helping with pain relief and relaxation. I found it stays cool for 20 to 30 minutes on average, which seemed to be about the right amount of time to help soothe my eyes.
The weight means it stays on your eyes and blocks out light effectively. And it has a contoured space for the eyes so you can move your eyelids and eyelashes.
With the combination of acupressure and cooling, the Imak eye pillow is more than a simple sleep mask. If you suffer from headaches, migraines or puffy eyes, this is one to try.Buy from Amazon
5. Dream Essentials
Ideal if you need more space for your eyes and eyelashes
The Dream Essentials sleep mask has the deepest eye cavities I’ve found, created with inbuilt foam that maintains the shape. That allows you to open your eyes freely, even if you have long eyelashes.
I also liked the material, which strays from the more common choice of silk these days. Instead, the inside is a natural cotton that feels gentle on your skin. And the outside is a plush fabric, not that the outside matters so much.
They also get the strap design right with this mask, opting for a simple slider which you can get a tight fit with if you want to keep that last slither of light out.
Do be aware that they also make a mask with velcro – the Infinity mask – which isn’t such a great choice if you have long hair.
Interestingly, it has two small pieces of cloth attached to the nose contour. The idea is that you can position them to block out any remaining light if the mask shape isn’t immediately the perfect shape for your face.
My only criticism is that the foam padding around the eyes can apply more pressure around the eyes that a simpler mask design. I didn’t find it an issue personally, but I can imagine some people might do.
Overall though, the Dream Essentials might be the ideal choice if your eyes/eyelashes need more breathing space than most other sleep masks tend to offer.Buy from Amazon
6. 3D Sleep Mask by PrettyCare
A wide memory foam contoured sleep mask
The Pretty Care 3D eye mask is made from memory foam, yet it’s surprisingly thin and lightweight. What I liked is that it feels soft, yet maintains a contoured shape with ample space for your eyelids and eyelashes.
It does a great job of blocking out light, and the adjustable strap has a reliable velcro fastener to keep it in place. I think there’s enough on the strap to suit head sizes at both ends of the spectrum.
You also get 2 masks in the pack, along with 2 sets of earplugs. I’ve seen some complaints online that the mask comes apart at the edges faster than others, but I didn’t find that at all.
Overall, I think both the Bedtime Bliss and 3D mask are good options if you want to try a contoured style sleep mask.
Personally, I think the Bedtime Bliss has slightly more space for the eyes, but it’s a marginal difference so it will probably come down to personal preference.Buy from Amazon
Low price contoured mask with good eye space
The Yiview sleep mask has one of the deepest spaces to accommodate eyelids. So if you’re worried about your long eyelashes being crushed, this might be one of the better options for you.
The internal padding is a very light memory foam, with a contoured shape to fit over your nose. That helps reduce the amount of light that so often creeps in between the nose and eyes.
It has an adjustable elastic strap, with a velcro fastener. It’s well stitched together, so you shouldn’t find your hair gets stuck in the velcro.
And once you decide how loose or tight you want it, you can easily pop it on and off without even undoing the velcro end.
The only real undoing is that the external material is synthetic, so it doesn’t feel quite as luxurious as some of the others I’ve tried.
But it does the principle job of keeping you in darkness very well. And with the 3 for 1 offer, it works out as one of the lowest price sleep masks around.Buy from Amazon
8. Everest Essentials Sleep Mask
Comfortable silk sleep mask
The Everest Essentials sleep mask is similar to the Alaska Bear and Jersey Slumber in many ways. It’s also made from a beautifully soft silk fabric which feels comfortable against your face.
The straps are easy to adjust and are suitable for a wide range of head sizes. There’s no velcro either, so it’s less likely you’ll wake up with your hair stuck in the straps.
The eye mask is of a good size and shape, and I find it did a good job of blocking out light. It’s quite malleable, so if you’ve had problems shaping eye masks to your face before, you might find you can block the light better with this one.
It comes with a pair of foam earplugs and a little travel case. And it has attractive packaging, making it a good gift idea for someone.
Overall, if you’re looking for a silky soft eye mask it’s one to consider, especially if you’ve had difficulty getting the right fit with previous masks.Buy from Amazon
9. Purefly Sleep Mask
Lightweight mulberry silk mask
The Purefly sleep mask has a lot in common with the Alaska Bear and the Everest Essentials. To the point that when checking them over to write this section, it took a moment to work out which one was which!
It’s made from lightweight and breathable Mulberry silk, which feels smooth on the skin. It’s very soft and comfortable, and the breathable aspect makes it much more pleasant to sleep with than the more synthetic materials.
Like the other two, it also has an elastic adjustable strap, with no velcro in sight. So long hair is safe from getting caught and matted, and it will fit any head size.
It’s actually quite large, larger than it looks in the photo, and so blocks light very well. I found there was no sign of light, which is exactly what you need.
All in all, there’s not really much to separate this from the other silk masks. It would be nice if it came with a carry case, but I can’t fault the mask itself.Buy from Amazon