The 8 Best Sleep Masks

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photo of a man's head wearing a sleep mask in bed

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 during 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.

In this article, I’ll first explain the different styles of sleep masks, then summarise the eight masks I’ve found most effective. After that, you’ll find comparison tables, my video review and a transcript if you’d like to read about them in more detail.

Which style of sleep mask to choose?

In the photo below, you can see examples of the different styles of sleep masks I tested before writing this article: flat, contoured, weighted, and wrap-around.

10 different sleep masks on a table

Flat sleep masks: If you sometimes sleep on your side or front, a flat sleep mask might be the most practical and comfortable option. Usually made from silk, cotton, or polyester, they tend to be very lightweight and sit flat across your eyes.

The lack of bulky contours or foam makes them comfortable to use on your back, side or front, while still blocking out light effectively.

Contoured sleep masks: If you’re worried about smudging makeup or squishing long eyelashes, a mask with contours might suit you. Some have gentle contours to allow a bit of movement, while others have very deep eye sockets.

This style is ideal if you sleep on your back and don’t like feeling material pressing on your eyes. With careful adjusting, you can use some of them on your side or front, but you’ll feel the extra padding.

Weighted and cooling: Weighted eye masks have lots of plastic or glass beads sewn into them and can be cooled in the freezer before using them. They work well if you’re having a nap or relaxing on your back, but can be problematic on your side or front because they are so bulky.

Wrap-around: Wrap-around sleep masks have the most fabric and look like a scarf for your face! I tested three of these, but none of them made it into this article. I found them too bulky, too warm, and prone to letting in way too much light when you change positions.

Overview of the sleep masks

Alaska Bear

alaska bear

Price: $

The Alaska Bear is my top choice if you’d like a flat sleep mask that feels soft on the skin and is breathable. It blocks light very effectively and is comfortable to use when sleeping on your front, side, or back because the silk exterior and cotton filler are so thin. The strap is elastic with a small adjustable slider buckle. It doesn’t have contours for eyelids and eyelashes though.

See on Amazon


Manta

manta sleep mask

Price: $$

If you need space for your eyelashes or eyelids to move, the Manta has the deepest eye sockets of all the masks. You can also reposition the eye cups to match your facial features. The material feels very soft, and the adjustable strap is made from reinforced elastic and micro hooks that don’t snag hair. It blocks out all light on your back. You do feel the foam on the side of your face when lying on your side or front though.

See on Amazon


Mavogel

mavogel cotton sleep mask

Price: $

The Mavogel is a cotton sleep mask that feels very soft and is breathable in all weather. It has a bendable nose cartilage to help block out light around the nose area. It has an elastic strap with a small slider buckle. It blocks out light very well on your back and side, but needs some careful adjusting when on your front.

See on Amazon


Medi Grade

medi grade mask

Price: $

The Medi Grade isn’t officially medical grade, despite its name. It has shallow contours created by soft memory foam, so there’s some space for eyelids and eyelashes to move. The material is synthetic, but it still feels soft and comfortable. The strap is elastic and velcro, and it blocks out light extremely well. It’s best when used on your back as you’ll notice the foam on your face when lying on your side or front.

See on Amazon


Barmy

barmy

Price: $$

The Barmy is a weighted eye mask that weighs 0.8 lbs. It can be cooled in the freezer, with the idea that it helps with relaxation and headache relief (not medically tested though). The light blocking on your back is fantastic because the beads mold to your facial features. On your side and front, it’s just too bulky though, so it’s arguably best used for short naps and relaxation. The strap is strong, with an elastic and micro hook design.

See on Amazon


Imak

imak eye pillow

Price: $$

The Imak is also a weighted sleep mask, but is smaller in surface area and weight (0.8 lbs) than the Barmy. The exterior material is a cool cotton that feels soft on the skin. The light blocking is excellent on your back and side, and is comfortable in those sleep positions. It’s not ideal on your front though because of the bulkiness of all the beads. Another issue is the flimsy elastic strap which you can’t tighten.

See on Amazon


Jersey Slumber

jersey slumber

Price: $

The Jersey Slumber looks almost identical to the Alaska Bear, and several other silk sleep masks I’ve tried which all seem to have the same design. However, it’s not as soft or well cut as the Alaska Bear. More importantly, it doesn’t block out light as well on your back, but is still very good on your side or back. It’s comfortable in all sleep positions though because of the lightweight material, thin elastic strap, and small slider buckle.

See on Amazon


Bedtime Bliss

bedtime bliss

Price: $

The Bedtime Bliss is a simple, contoured sleep mask that has ample space for your eyelids and eyelashes to flutter around. The material is synthetic polyester, with an elastic strap and thick velcro to adjust it, creating a lump you feel on the back of your head. Unless it matches your face shape perfectly, the light blocking is less effective than the other sleep masks in all sleep positions because of the inflexible design.

See on Amazon

Comparison tables

In the table below, I’ve given each mask a score out of 10 for key performance areas: how well they block light and how comfortable they are to use in different sleep positions.

Please note that these are my scores, and you may find each mask more or less effective or comfortable.

Sleep maskLight blocking
on your back
Light blocking
on your side
or front
Comfort
on back
Comfort on
side or front
Alaska Bear991010
Manta107107
Mavogel98109
Medi Grade101097
Barmy10493
Imak9695
Jersey Slumber79910
Bedtime Bliss6688

In the next table, you can compare the masks on some of the key points I look out for when testing them: how bulky they feel, the strap style, the materials used to make the mask, and if the packaging can be recycled or is excessive.

Sleep maskLight
or
bulky?
Strap
style
Main
materials
used
Packaging
Alaska BearLight-Elastic
-Slider buckle
SilkOkay
MantaBulky-Elastic
-Micro hooks
-Modal
-Foam
Good
MavogelLight-Elastic
-Slider buckle
cottonExcessive
Medi GradeMedium-Elastic
-velcro
SyntheticExcessive
BarmyBulky-Elastic
-Micro hooks
-Viscose
-Polyester
Okay
ImakBulkyThin elasticCottonOkay
Jersey SlumberLight-Elastic
-Slider buckle
SilkOkay
Bedtime BlissLight-Elastic
-velcro
SyntheticGood

Video review

In the video below, I discuss all eight masks in the summary section and comparison tables. I filmed it during the summer of 2022.

Video transcript / the masks in detail

Please note that I’ve edited the video transcript so it’s easier to read and scan for specific information you might be most interested in.

Alaska Bear

The best silk sleep mask, with a flat design that’s ideal for all sleeping positions

Alaska Bear

The Alaska Bear is currently my personal favorite for one key reason: it has the best balance between light blocking and being comfortable to use in any sleeping position.

It doesn’t have contours, so if you need space for long eyelashes it might not be the one for you. But if you’re not worried about that and you’re a side or front sleeper like me, this is a very effective little sleep mask.

Materials and design

When I bought it, it came in a basic plastic wrapper with a little mesh bag that you can fold the mask tightly into. The mask is made from very soft mulberry silk on both sides, with some light cotton padding on the inside. It feels breathable to use, which is good in hot weather. I tried several other masks that looked just like this one, but none felt as soft.

The stitching is neat and feels robust, but like most sleep masks it’s hand wash only to keep it in good condition.

alaska bear with packaging and carry case

Strap style and size

The strap is made from simple nylon elastic, with a thin plastic adjuster. Many sleep masks have this type of adjuster and I don’t find they irritate my skin or snag hair. The adjustable strap means it will fit head sizes of 15.8 to 27.6 inch circumference.

alaska bear reverse angle and strap

How well it blocks light

When I lie on my back, most of the light is blocked out, though some tiny slithers appear around the nose unless I tighten the strap. Personally, I prefer to keep it a bit looser because the light blocking is more than good enough when I close my eyes.

The main benefit is that I can lie on my side or front and still have excellent light blocking. And importantly, I can change positions without the mask sliding out of place as much as I find with many contoured sleep masks.

Verdict

Overall, the balance of price, comfort, and light blocking, as well as the flexibility to use it in any sleeping position, makes the Alaska Bear a great choice. Just be aware that it doesn’t have contours, so it lies flat against your eyelashes and eyelids.

Price

The Alaska Bear sleep mask is inexpensive. You can usually find it for under £10 in the UK or under $10 dollars in the US. In my opinion, a sleep mask that costs under £10 or $10 and does the job well is good value. Some designer brands cost much more than that and arguably all you get is more style, not more light blocking or comfort.


Manta

The best contoured sleep mask, with very deep eye sockets that can be repositioned

manta sleep mask

The Manta is one of the largest sleep masks, and kind of looks like it belongs more with a superhero outfit than pajamas. However, it’s also a very effective sleep mask. It’s comfortable to use because of the soft material, it has very deep eye sockets, and provides superb light blocking.

Materials and design

It comes in a sturdy box that can be recycled, with a mesh carry bag, and conveniently it can be machine washed.

What makes the Manta unique is that the eye cups can be repositioned to match your facial structure. The cups are made from soft foam with modal fabric on the outside that feels very soft on the skin. At 0.71 inches deep, they’re the biggest eye cavities I’ve seen in a sleep mask.

manta mask, box and case

Strap style and size

The strap is very sturdy with reinforced elastic that’s much stronger than the thinner nylon straps of many masks, and a micro hook fastening system on the back that doesn’t snag hair like basic velcro does. The company says it will suit head circumferences between 15 and 20 inches.

manta removable eye cups

How well it blocks light

I really like the Manta if I’m just having a nap on my back because it blocks out 100% of even the brightest light. I don’t need to faff around to find the perfect position either. I just lie down, put it on and the light’s gone. It feels very comfortable to wear and the foam cups put minimal pressure on my face.

If I lie on my side, I do find some light creeps in around the nose though, which is very common with sleep masks. A more important issue when you’re on your side is that the foam feels a bit lumpy on the side of your face. It’s not uncomfortable, but it is noticeable. And when you lie on your front it’s even more noticeable.

Verdict

The manta sleep mask could be an excellent choice for people who sleep on their back and need the most space possible for their eyelids or eyelashes. Some people will be okay with it on their side too, but side or front sleepers are taking a bit of a risk with this one and a simpler mask with less engineering might be better.

Price

The Manta is one of the more expensive sleep masks I’ve tried, costing between £30 and £35 pounds in the UK, and also between $30 and $35 in the US or Canada. That’s still less than some designer brands cost, but it is more than the average basic sleep mask that’s sold on sites like Amazon.


Mavogel

The best cotton sleep mask, with a bendable nose cartilage to help block out light

mavogel sleep mask

If you’d like a soft sleep mask that’s made of cotton rather than silk, the Mavogel could be one to try. A key feature is that it has a bending cartilage around the nose area, which is good for blocking out the slithers of light that tend to creep in.

Materials and design

The Mavogel came in a neatly presented cardboard box. However, the mask itself was inside a fabric bag, with a plastic wrapper and an extra carry case. So including the Amazon box, that’s five layers, which isn’t the most eco-friendly.

mavogel box and cases

The exterior of the mask is cotton and feels soft, with cotton filler and a thin sponge layer around the outside. That stops it from pressing into your eyes as much as some of the thinner masks do.

It’s more breathable than the thicker foam masks, but not as breathable as the thin silk ones, like the Alaska Bear. Inside the nose piece, there’s a thin bendable piece of metal that feels about the width of a paperclip, but it’s more flexible. It means you can bend it over your nose to help block out even more light and it works quite well.

mavogel nose cartilage

Strap style and size

The strap is elastic, with a standard plastic buckle, and it will fit head sizes from 19 to 29 inches. The stitching is reasonably good so I imagine it will last a good length of time, as long as the elastic isn’t stretched to its max a lot.

How well it blocks light

When I’m on my back, I can get nearly 100% light blocking with the Mavogel if I get the nose cartilage in the right place, and that’s good enough for me when I have my eyes closed too.

When I lie on my side or front, the light blocking can be good too. But I often need to readjust it when I change positions if I’m still awake otherwise I do notice the light around the nose bouncing off the light grey material.

Verdict

If you have sinus problems or a sensitive nose you might want to avoid this one because of the way the cartilage lies against your skin. Otherwise, I think the Mavogel is a good sleep mask if you prefer flatter designs over contoured ones and would rather have cotton than silk on the exterior.

Price

I bought it for under £7 in the UK, which I thought was a bargain at the time. You can usually find it for between $10 and $20 in the US and Canada, depending on seasonal sales.


Medi Grade

Gentle contours and excellent light blocking

medi grade sleep mask

The Medi Grade has a contoured design, with memory foam that creates space for the eyelids and eyelashes to move around. But what I like most about it is that the nose piece is really well designed, and it meant that I could get 100% light blocking on my front, my side, or my back, which is quite unusual for a sleep mask.

However, despite how amazing the light blocking is, I do have a bit of a love-hate relationship with this one.

Materials and design

My main criticism of the Medi Grade is that it came with loads of bits and pieces that I just didn’t use. The recyclable cardboard box and useful carry case are fine. But the not very good earplugs, the two plastic earplug carry boxes, the carabiner, and a bag with five hair clips felt superfluous, especially for me with my lack of long hair.

medi grade mask, packaging, and all pieces included

As for the mask, I really like the design and the shape though. It molds well to my face, and the material that sits over the nose is comfortable and very effective. I couldn’t find any information in the packaging or online about the exact materials used. It has a soft but slightly synthetic feel and is less breathable than the silk masks, and it’s hand wash only.

Strap style and size

The strap is a combination of elastic and velcro and seems robust, but if you have a large head there will be quite a lot of exposed velcro to potentially get hair caught in. They don’t say what head sizes it will fit, but I’d say it’s best for medium to larger sizes compared to the other sleep masks.

How well it blocks light

The light blocking with the Medi Grade sleep mask was total in all sleep positions for me. When I’m on my back it’s very comfortable to use, although I do need to tie it fairly tightly to get complete light blocking. It’s slightly less comfortable on your side or front because the memory foam and strap create bulk on the side of your face.

Verdict

Overall, if you’d like some shallow contours for your eyes and very effective light blocking, the Medi Grade sleep mask is one to try. It might not be right though if you don’t like velcro, bulkier material when you’re on your side, or are environmentally conscious.

Price

I bought it for under £10 in the UK. It costs around $20 in Canada, but I haven’t seen it sold in the US.


Barmy

The best weighted sleep mask, can be cooled for relaxation

barmy weighted sleep mask

The Barmy is the first of two weighted sleep masks I’ll be discussing. It weighs 0.8 pounds and you can put it in the freezer for a couple of hours before using it to get a cooling effect.

The combination of cooling and weighted pressure around the eyes is supposed to help with relaxation and headache relief, as well as light blocking. However, I don’t really suffer from headaches so I can’t comment on that point. But what I can say is that the light blocking with this one is fantastic.

Materials and design

It came in a plastic Ziplock bag to keep it clean when you cool it in the freezer. I found that the cooling effect lasts for around 20 to 30 minutes on average before your body heat and room temperature warm it up again.

barmy and carry case

The exterior material is viscose derived from bamboo on the side that goes over your eyes, and polyester around the front and the strap. It feels very soft against the skin, but it’s not so breathable because of the microfleece material and all the glass beads on the inside.

You can unzip it to remove the inner weighted section and conveniently machine wash the outside part. I like how the beads are sewn into pockets around the edges so they put pressure around your eyes but not directly onto them.

barmy internal section containing the weighted beads

Strap style and size

The strap is part elastic and part micro hooks, and it’s designed to fit head sizes from 21 to 24 inch circumference.

How well it blocks light

When I lie on my back, the light blocking is amazing with the Barmy. It easily blocks out 100% of the light, with minimal adjusting. However, I found it virtually unusable on my side or front because it’s just too lumpy.

Verdict

Like many of the bulkier sleep masks, I think the Barmy is really good for short naps on your back. I found the combination of 100% light blocking and cooling to be excellent, but I wouldn’t recommend it for longer periods of sleep. I also don’t think it’s good in the seated position because the weight obstructs nasal breathing.

Price

The Barmy costs around $30 dollars in the US and Canada, and even more if you get it shipped to the UK.


Imak eye pillow

A weighted sleep mask with a cool cotton exterior

imak eye pillow

The Imak eye pillow is similar to the Barmy in that it’s a weighted sleep mask and can also be cooled in the freezer before you use it. It weighs 0.5 pounds compared to the 0.8 of the Barmy, and the overall surface area is also smaller than the Barmy, so it’s more compact.

Materials and design

It came in a recyclable cardboard box, and the manufacturer says the plastic ergo beads that create the weight can also be recycled.

It comes with a basic plastic bag to keep it clean when cooling it in the freezer. I found the cooling effect lasts for around 20 minutes on average, which is nice for a nap, but that’s about it.

imak eye pillow with box and carry bag

I couldn’t find a listing of the exact material, which seems to be a common theme with these sleep masks. I believe the exterior material is cotton and it feels very soft on the skin.

There are some indentations for the eyes and there’s a bit more space for eyelids to move around than the Barmy. The stitching on the inside of the pockets is a bit untidy though, which is a shame, but I like how they’ve kept the beads around the edges to provide the pressure around the eyes and not directly onto them.

Strap style and size

The strap is my biggest concern with the Imak eye mask. It’s made from very thin elastic, with no adjuster. On the plus side, it should stretch to fit any head size. Having said that, if you have a larger head the constant stretching is going to stress the elastic eventually.

How well it blocks light

On my back, I found that the light blocking is excellent. With a bit of adjusting to find the right position, I can get 100% light blocking, which is great.

On my side, I could also adjust it to get 100% light blocking, which surprised me. It’s comfortable on your side too because you can carefully position it to not have any lumps under your face. On my front though, it’s completely unusable because you really feel those lumps.

Verdict

On balance, if the strap were better I’d choose the Imak over the Barmy because I prefer the material, the eye cavities are deeper, and it costs less, but that flimsy strap is a real concern.

If you only plan on using it from time to time when having a nap, or for headache relief, perhaps you might like it. But as a nightly sleep mask, I’m not convinced it’s the best choice.

Having said all that, this is my partner’s favorite sleep mask to use when an early summer sunrise wakes her up because she loves the feel of the material and the weight. That just goes to show how different masks will appeal to different people.

Price

The Imak costs around $15 in the US and over £20 in the UK, so it’s less expensive than the Barmy.


Jersey Slumber

A simple, flat sleep mask

jersey slumber

The jersey slumber sleep mask looks very similar to the Alaska Bear. It has the same flat design, it’s made from silk (apparently…) and it also has a slider buckle. However, the overall quality of the design just didn’t strike me as being as good as the Alaska Bear.

Materials and design

It came in a single use plastic bag, with no carry case. The manufacturer says the material is 100% mulberry silk. Although it does feel soft, it’s not as smooth or breathable as the Alaska Bear so I’m not entirely convinced about the quality of the silk. They say you can machine wash it cold though, which is convenient.

The stitching around the edges seems robust, so it should last a good length of time. Oddly, the mask seems to have been cut larger on one side and it’s visibly uneven, which again makes me question the overall quality.

Strap style and size

It has a similar strap design to the Alaska Bear, combining elastic and the slider buckle. The maximum circumference is smaller though, and although they don’t list the head sizes it will fit, I calculated that it should fit head sizes in the 16 to 24 inch range.

How well it blocks light

When lying on my back, it was one of the least effective sleep masks at blocking light. Quite a lot of light came in around the nose, which may be because of my face shape, but the lack of an adjustable nose piece means I just couldn’t get a better fit.

On my side, I could get better light blocking, and with my eyes closed the light didn’t disturb me at all. Unexpectedly, it was actually really good when lying on my front. I was able to get 100% light blocking with some adjusting. Importantly, it was very comfortable to wear in all sleeping positions.

Verdict

The Jersey Slumber might be a good option for front sleepers who’d like a flat sleep mask that doesn’t feel lumpy. But I think I’d still go with the Alaska Bear because of the overall quality. However, it’s worth considering if you’d like to try more than one to see which one fits your facial features best.

Price

It costs under $10 in the US and Canada. The price is higher in the UK though, often listed for between £15 and £20.


Bedtime Bliss

The lowest cost contoured sleep mask

bedtime bliss

The Bedtime Bliss is a contoured sleep mask that looks and feels quite basic compared to the ones I’ve already discussed. The eye pockets aren’t as deep as the Manta, but they are more spacious than the Medi Grade.

This isn’t one I’ve had the most success with myself though, and I think the lack of flexibility around the nose area means it’s one that either will or won’t suit your face shape.

Materials and design

It came in a recyclable box with a tiny carry bag you can roll it tightly into. Unfortunately, it also looks and feels quite cheaply made compared to the previous sleep masks.

bedtime bliss with box and carry bag

It looks like the edges have been sealed with heat rather than stitched. The strap also has minimal stitching to hold it in place, so I’m not sure it’s as robust as it could be.

They don’t list the materials used, but it feels synthetic and isn’t as soft as the previous sleep masks in this article. It’s hand wash only and I wouldn’t recommend chancing it in a washing machine.

Strap style and size

The strap is elastic, and has quite thick velcro to fasten it that creates a lump you feel on the back of your head. They don’t list the head sizes it’s made for, but I’d say it will fit most head sizes, except perhaps the very largest.

How well it blocks light

On my back, which is the position I find sleep masks most effective usually, I’d say it only blocked out 80% of the light. Even with my eyes closed, I could still feel the light coming through.

On my side and front, it was a similar story, but at least it was relatively comfortable to use on my side or front because the material is quite thin on the side of the face.

Verdict

This might be one to consider if your plan is to try a wide range of contoured sleep masks to find the right one for your face shape. But if you’re trying to get it right the first time, I think there are higher quality and more effective sleep masks that are equally low cost.

Price

The Bedtime Bliss isn’t expensive, usually costing under £10 in the UK, and $10 in the US and Canada.


Where else to buy sleep masks

I bought all of the masks myself from Amazon, so I know what you get when you order from there. If you prefer, there are other stores you can get sleep masks from. Some of the ones I’ve discussed can be found on eBay, though the last time I checked they were cheaper on Amazon.

In the US, you could check Walmart and Target, both of which sell plenty of low-cost styles. In the UK, try John Lewes to compare different styles.

Some fashion brands make their own sleep masks, so you could try the website of your favorite brand websites.

You could also have a look on Etsy if you prefer to buy from smaller companies or individuals. It’s also a place to check for sleep masks made from more eco-friendly or recycled materials.

And if you’re a dab hand with a needle and thread, try searching YouTube for phrases such as ‘DIY sleep mask’ or ‘make your own sleep mask’ and you’ll find tons of tutorials.

And if all else fails, my partner has been known to borrow a black T-shirt from time to time, roll that up and not worry about her hair getting caught in the straps or velcro.