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.
So whether you need a soft eye mask to shut the world out or a contoured mask with room for maneuver, you should find the right mask for the job in the reviews below.
1. Alaska Bear
Best sleep mask with excellent light blocking
If you need a lightweight and comfortable sleep mask that shuts out as much light as possible, the Alaska Bear is my top choice among the non-contoured silk masks.
I find it completely blocks out light, even if the light source is quite bright. And it’s made from breathable natural Mulberry silk, which feels beautifully soft on the skin.
The straps are elastic and adjustable, so you can find the exact fit you need. And the strap adjuster is very small, so you won’t feel it when you’re lying in bed. There’s no velcro, so you won’t get your hair tangled in the straps.
It’s also a great option for traveling. It’s very lightweight and, unlike some of the larger contoured masks, can roll up into a small space.
Overall, the Alaska Bear does its simple job very effectively. If you prefer a contoured design or cooling, you can find those features in the masks below. But if all you want is a comfortable sleep mask which reliably blocks out light, this one won’t disappoint.
Best contoured sleep mask, with superb light blocking
The Mzoo sleep mask impresses at first glance, arriving in a neat little box rather than the plastic wrapping that most tend to. And the mask itself looks stylish – kind of like sleek goggles, but blacked out of course.
It has plenty of space for the eyes and eyelids to rest in, rather than feeling the material pressed up to your eyes as you do with silk masks. And rather than opting for a thin contour, they’ve used memory foam to create a bubble effect that feels comfortable in the night.
I found the light-blocking is excellent – the overall shape fits snugly across the nose and doesn’t let any light in the sides. The strap is wide and has a sliding buckle, which is preferable to velcro.
As with all contoured masks, it might not be ideal for side sleepers. But overall, this is the contoured sleep mask that worked best for me, both in terms of comfort and light blocking.
Contoured sleep mask with a wide design and space for your eyelids
The Yiview combines a large surface area with a good amount of space for your eyes with its contoured design. The eye cavities aren’t quite as deep as the Mzoo, but it covers more of your face, which some people will find helps block out light if smaller masks let light in.
The internal padding contains light memory foam, with a gently 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.
My only criticism 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.
4. Bedtime Bliss
Shallower contoured sleep mask
The Bedtime Bliss is another well-designed contoured sleep mask, though with less space for long eyelashes than the Mzoo and Yiview. But if you don’t have epic fan-sized eyelashes, there’s still enough breathing space between the mask and your eyes.
It blocks out light 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. The straps are adjustable and won’t bother your skin or hair.
On the whole, I think they’ve done a good job of creating a fair one-size-fits-all shape. It also comes with a little fabric bag and a good set of earplugs, so it’s ideal to take on your travels.
I recently tried the new version, which is made from bamboo and cotton. It feels even softer and has a slightly larger overall shape. So you might prefer that one if you plan to use it for longer periods of sleep.
5. Jersey Slumber
Softest sleep mask overall
Many sleep masks are made from 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 is that the silk feels very soft and it rests gently on the eyes.
It’s long and wide enough to do a good job of blocking out the light. The strap omits that potentially hair-tangling velcro, opting instead for an adjustable slider clasp. And it’s 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 light around the nose, you might find the same with this one because the design isn’t as contoured as it perhaps could be.
But otherwise, it’s still a reasonably effective sleep mask that ticks all the right boxes for comfort. And because of its soft and light shape, it’s a good choice if you need to sleep while traveling.
6. 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 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. 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 helps it to stay in position over your eyes, and it therefore 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.
7. Dream Essentials
Cotton sleep mask with a wide design and gentle contours
The Dream Essentials sleep mask has deep eye cavities, created with inbuilt foam that maintains the shape. That allows you to open your eyes freely, even if you have long eyelashes.
I like the material, which differs from the more common choice of silk these days. Instead, the inside is made from natural cotton that feels gentle on your skin, with a plush fabric on the outside.
The strap uses a simple slider, which you can get a tight fit with if you want to keep that last slither of light out. Note 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 cloth sections 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.
Shapable nose section prevents light from entering
The Mavogel takes a unique approach to the age-old problem of light reaching your eyes via the gaps created where a sleep mask sits on your nose.
It has a winged ‘bending cartilage’ over the nose, with flexible carbon steel inside. You can shape that nose section until the light is cut out, and it will stay in place while you sleep. It’s a simple, yet clever, idea that works very effectively.
The mask itself is made from breathable cotton and sponge, which feels like soft T-shirt material. It doesn’t have much of a contour though, so it’s not one for those who need to protect eyelashes.
The strap is long and uses a slider, so it will fit any size head. I discovered that it works well if you sleep on your side or your back. My feeling is that this is one that will suit people whose facial structure always seems to let light in.
9. 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 decent job of blocking out light, and the adjustable strap has a reliable fastener to keep it in place on your face. I think there’s just enough on the strap to suit head sizes at both ends of the spectrum, though you might have that velcro strip on the end if you have a smaller head.
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 with the mask I bought.
Overall, I think the Mzoo, Yiview, Bedtime Bliss and 3D mask are all worthy choices if you want a contoured style sleep mask. The 3D has the largest overall surface area of the four, so it might be a good choice if you’re worried about too much light creeping in.
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 soft on the skin. And being breathable, it’s more pleasant to use in bed than the more synthetic materials.
It also has an elastic adjustable strap with no velcro at all. So long hair is safe from getting caught and matted, and it will fit any head size.
It’s actually larger than it looks in the photo, and so blocks light very well. I found there was no sign of light entering around the edges, which is exactly what you’d hope for. 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.