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For me, getting to sleep at night is a process, and requires a number of very specific situational adjustments to have any shot at actually happening. This includes crisp sheets, melatonin, audiobooks, chamomile tea, and a very precise room temperature. One of the best things I ever did for myself when it comes to getting to sleep was start wearing an eye mask to bed every night.
In my experience, the best sleep masks are masks you forget you’re wearing. This means soft, comfortable fabric and an adjustable band that doesn’t tangle in your hair but keeps the mask in place without putting pressure on your eyes or temples.
What to Consider When Buying a Sleep Mask
There are several different schools of thought when it comes to sleep masks, from the optimal material to the size of the strap. But above all, the mask must be comfortable, so think first about what that means to you. Here are some factors to consider.
Shape: In addition to the size and pattern of the eye coverings, which should be large enough to cover your eyes while leaving enough room for your nose, think about whether you’d like a flat or contoured mask. Flat masks in soft fabric like silk can be comfortable, but some find they tend to put too much pressure on the brow. In that case, you may want to consider a contoured mask, which is padded with memory foam cushions that elevates the mask from your eye sockets, allowing you space to blink.
Material: Silk is often touted as the best fabric for masks, as its smooth surface doesn’t pull at the delicate skin around the eyes, won’t interfere with any moisturizers or nighttime products, and doesn’t pull at the eyelashes. Other popular materials are microfiber or cozy cotton.
Band: The single most important determining factor in how a mask fits on your face is the band. In general, wider bands are less likely to dig into your head or temples and keep the mask secure on your face without sliding. The band should of course be adjustable to fit a variety of head sizes, but take care that the adjustable strap isn’t the type to get too easily caught in your hair.
1. MZOO Sleep Eye Mask
This is the mask we recommend for sleepers who prefer not to put pressure on their eyes. The mask has memory foam contours designed to provide soft cushion that effectively blocks out light while allowing your eyes space to blink naturally without pressing them down. It is also adjustable to fit all head circumferences with a buckle strap intended not to catch in the hair.
2. FRESHME Cotton Sleep Mask
We love the design of this cotton mask, because it is adjustable to different head circumferences with a wide strap that keeps the mask in place without sliding down your face or bunching in the middle. It also covers more of your face, which can be helpful to block out the light and to keep you snug and cozy. This mask is also made with a single smooth strap (I.e. without the buckle that often gets caught in hair or your pillow case). The company says every mask is handmade.
3. Alaska Bear Natural Silk Sleep Mask
Silk is a popular choice of material for sleep masks because the soft, smooth fabric is easy on skin, won’t rub away any moisturizer or other product, and doesn’t pull on eyelashes or the delicate skin under the eyes. Alaska Bear is a general favorite when it comes to silk sleep masks because of the high-quality (washable!) silk and thoughtful pattern, which allows the mask to rest comfortably on your head without digging into the temples or obstructing headphone or earplug access.
4. Mavogel Cotton Sleep Eye Mask
If you’re not a fan of the feel of silk, we like this cotton mask, which features a unique wing design intended to relieve pressure from the eyes. This mask is also larger in size, with a greater range of strap adjustments so that it fits a wider range of head sizes. It’s surprisingly effective at sealing out light too, while the material is cozy but breathable — no sweaty nights here.