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- Whether you’re traveling, sleeping during the daytime, have a headache or roommates who keep lights on long after your bedtime, a sleep mask can help you rest easy.
- Based on our testing and research, Slip Pure Silk Sleep Mask is our top pick with its comfortable fit and super soft silk material.
Research shows that people who keep their rooms dark get better sleep, and may even be happier people overall. That’s great news … if you have complete control over the dim switch in your environment.
If you’re traveling, don’t have blackout curtains, or have a partner or roommate who stays up late with a phone, how do you create a dark environment that’s suitable for sleeping? Enter your savior: a high-quality sleep mask that allows you to banish light pollution and enjoy your deepest sleep.
I explored dozens of the most popular sleep masks on the market today and tried several out for myself to find the best ones. I looked at popular concerns like durability, feel, light-blocking, special features, and cost to come up with the best sleep masks for different use cases. Based on my research and testing, these are my favorites.
Here are the best sleep masks:
- Best overall: Slip Pure Silk Sleep Mask
- Best for travel: Nidra Deep Rest Eye Mask
- Best weighted sleep mask: IMAK Compression Eye Mask
- Best for depuffing: Morihata Binchotan Eye Mask
- Best on a budget: Alaska Bear Natural Silk Sleep Mask
Prices and links are current as of 4/17/2020. We added our pick for the best sleep mask on a budget. We’re currently testing cooling sleep masks for a future update.
The best overall
The Slip Pure Silk Sleep Mask uses high-quality silk that is super soft and blocks out all unwanted light.
Here are my two favorite things about the Slip Silk Mask. First, I love the way the long fiber mulberry silk feels on the sensitive skin around my eyes. It really does feel so much nicer than cotton or polyester. Silk’s density is measured in “momme” — think of it like thread count — and Slip guarantees a weight of 22 momme, making it very high quality.
Second, I’m super impressed with how well the strap keeps the mask on throughout the night, even with tossing and turning.
I tested this mask on a trip to Los Angeles, where my Airbnb had east-facing bay windows, but no functioning curtains. And guess what? It worked perfectly. The morning light didn’t wake me up at all … but it did wake up my three-year-old who then jumped on my head. I wonder if they’ll start making kids’ sizes?
Can you get a silk sleep mask at a cheaper price? Sure. But the trademarked Slipsilk is very high-quality with non-toxic dyes. The inner filling on this mask is also silk, as is the elastic strap. The strap held the mask in place all night, and it still hasn’t stretched out, unlike some of the other masks I tested.
I also wore the Slipsilk mask on the airplane over my eye makeup, and it didn’t smudge. Silk this nice is definitely great on your sensitive skin, but one drawback is that it can be hard to clean — especially if you get a dollop of waterproof concealer on there. But if you don’t wear makeup, this won’t be an issue. Still, the high-end silk looks and feels great, all-in-all, making the Slip Pure Silk Sleep Mask my favorite of the group.
Pros: Luxurious silk feels great on your skin, long-lasting, looks elegant for travel, generally won’t smudge eye makeup
Cons: Not the cheapest on our list, can be hard to clean
The best for travel
The Nidra Deep Rest Eye Mask has a very functional light-blocking design that never touches your eyes, and it’s affordable.
I like to call this one the eye mask equivalent of noise-canceling headphones on a flight. When you’re traveling, you need all your gear to be small and light for easy packing. The Nidra Deep Rest Eye Mask fits that bill.
It’s also remarkably inexpensive for its quality, so you won’t be too annoyed with yourself when you accidentally leave it on the plane or mixed up in your hotel bed sheets. And since you really can’t control your environment very much when you’re traveling, a sleep mask that gives you the illusion of a dark private room is the holy grail.
The Nidra mask’s design includes two raised, hollow pockets that create a raised seal around your eyes. Not only does this design totally block out light pollution, but it also means you can blink or even open your eyes under the mask if you just want to chill out with the feeling of privacy, rather than full-on snooze.
Plus, any eye makeup you’re wearing won’t get smudged, so you can step off your red-eye flight looking fresh. It’s also nice to think that even though your mask might touch icky high-traffic areas, you won’t have to worry about those germs transferring to your vulnerable eye area.
Fit is important with this mask, because of its contouring design. Alterable Velcro on the straps helps with the adjustability, though it’s possible not everyone will achieve the right fit since everyone’s face shape is different.
If you’re a particularly sweaty sleeper, you may find that the black dye rubs off on your sheets due to moisture if the mask slips off during the night. Still, the benefits are so promising and the price is low, making this sleep mask a great choice for travel.
Pros: Several travel-ready features, affordable price
Cons: You must be able to get the right fit for true light-blocking, dye might bleed onto sheets (uncommon)
The best weighted sleep mask
The soothing compression and temperature therapy of the IMAK Compression Eye Mask are wonderful allies against headache pain.
Besides blocking out the sunrise, sleep masks can do wonders for headache and chronic pain sufferers. For instance, I’m an old pro at living with headaches, and spend a really absurd amount of time lying down in pain with severe sensitivity to light, sound, and smells. In other words, I know a thing or two about headache helpers that work along with or without medication to bring relief.
The IMAK Compression Eye Mask has been my bedside companion for hundreds of days and nights. I’ve worn it so much that I stretched out the band and had to cut and re-sew it. I think this is more a sign of how much I use it, as opposed to the actual quality of the mask, which is good.
There are several great things about the IMAK, including the face-conforming shape, the subtle weight and compression from the interior beads, and the complete and total darkness it provides. You can also heat or cool it to score a temperature therapy effect. I’ve heard that tension-headaches are sometimes soothed by heat, which the mask pretty holds well after a quick nuking in the microwave.
A migraine sufferer, on the other hand, needs cold therapy to constrict those throbbing blood vessels along the forehead, eyes, and bridge of the nose. The IMAK advertises that it can be put in the freezer to use for cold therapy, and this is true, but that blissfully icy effect only lasts for a short time. I almost always need to have an icepack as well when I use it for headaches.
The way the heavy beads contour themselves around your eyes, nose bridge, and temples, you get gentle compression therapy and a total light lockout. The heaviness of the mask also helps it stay on better if you’re a back sleeper.
Pros: Amazing compression and blackout capabilities soothe pain and help you sleep for a terrific price
Cons: Some slipping is to be expected if you roll around a lot while sleeping
The best for depuffing
The Morihata Binchotan Eye Mask will make you feel like you’re getting a beauty treatment while you sleep.
Not only does this mask help you sleep by blocking out light, but it could also help you look more rested. Inside the satin and cotton construction, the mask is infused with micro-fine activated charcoal powder, which according to Morihata, can “help lessen the appearance of puffiness and bags” around the eyes.
I tried this mask at home, and I did feel like the gentle compression mixed with binchotan charcoal did help reduce morning puffiness.
In addition to feeling good that I was getting a beauty treatment while I slept, I also loved the extra strip of fabric that circles around your eyes and nose, and it really keeps the light out. I often wake up before my alarm, but when sleeping in true darkness with this mask, I was having dreams in REM sleep right up until my toddler pulled it off my face.
The suggested care instructions for the mask are pretty labor-intensive, which is the only real con to this luxury mask at a moderate price. The satin needs to be hand soaked in warm water when you want to clean it, and to continue benefitting from the charcoal, the entire mask should be replenished “at least every three months (sooner if you tend to perspire overnight).”
Am I going to realistically replace my mask every three months? Doubtful. Will I keep using it anyway? Definitely.
Pros: Great for tired, puffy eyes, with a luxurious feel
Cons: Difficult to take care of, should be replaced every three months
The best on a budget
The Alaska Bear Natural Silk Sleep Mask is made from high-quality mulberry silk, and it’s a fraction of the price of other silk sleep masks on the market.
If you want the cooling, soft luxury of a silk sleep mask, but the price of our best overall pick is giving you pause, the Alaska Bear Silk Sleep Mask should be right up your alley. It’s still made from pure mulberry silk, though this mask is made of 19 momme silk as opposed to Slip’s 22 momme silk. It’s still great quality, though it’s ever so slightly less luxurious than Slip. But still, for less than a quarter of the price, it’s an easy compromise to make.
Insider Reviews Travel Editor Emily Hochberg uses an Alaska Bear Silk Sleep Mask — and not only when she travels, but every night. She writes:
“I’m an extremely finicky sleeper. I need dark and silence, which doesn’t come easy in New York. I’ve tried a few sleep masks but always come back to Alaska Bear.
The silk is so soft and comfortable, making it comparable to more expensive options, but for a fraction of the price. I’ve tried both the single strap mask and the newer double-strap offering. I wore the single-strap one down to its last thread, so it got stretched out over time and fell off my face at night, and let some light in. I decided to try the double-strap to see if it would stay on more securely.
The double-strap version definitely feels more secure, but it takes getting used to as it covers more of your face and feels bulky. But, it never falls off and keeps light out. I’ll happily buy either again.”
Pros: Affordable, high-quality silk, comes in single-strap and double-strap version
Cons: Strap will stretch over time, double-strap version is bulkier
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