Sleep is one of the most fundamental things we humans need for survival, yet too few of us are actually getting the recommended seven to nine hours a night, per the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention.
There's a lot we could say about the health effects of lack of sleep, but in short: It's not doing you any favors.
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But if you have problems falling or staying asleep, there's a whole market of sleep products out there that might help. One of the simplest and most effective? Sleep masks.
"Nighttime light exposure can disrupt our internal circadian rhythm, and sleep masks work by blocking out artificial light," says Sunjya Schweig, MD, expert in complex chronic illnesses and founder and president of the California Center for Functional Medicine. "In addition to blocking out ambient light to provide an opportunity for deeper and longer sleep, some people find that the gentle weight over their eyes helps them relax and fall asleep more easily."
Like most sleep-related products, there's no shortage of options when it comes to sleep masks. Here are some of the best sleep masks of 2023, according to Dr. Schweig and other sleep experts.
The Best Sleep Masks
- Best Overall: MZOO Sleep Eye Mask ($21.99, Amazon)
- Best on a Budget: Mavogel Cotton Sleep Eye Mask ($9.98, Amazon)
- Best Luxury Buy: Tempur-Pedic Sleep Mask ($29, Amazon)
- Best Weighted: Nodpod Gentle Pressure Sleep Mask ($34, Amazon)
- Best Silk: Slip Silk Sleep Mask ($35, Amazon)
- Best Bluetooth: Joseche Wireless Bluetooth Sleeping Mask ($22.97, Walmart)
- Best Contoured: Manta Weighted Sleep Mask ($35, Amazon)
How We Chose
We tapped some sleep experts to ask which masks they would recommend to patients — to help them fall asleep and stay asleep. The sleep masks included were picked based on the following criteria:
- Ability to block out light
For more information on how we choose and cover products, click here.
1. MZOO Sleep Eye Mask
2. Mavogel Cotton Sleep Eye Mask
3. Tempur-Pedic Sleep Mask
4. Nodpod Gentle Pressure Sleep Mask
5. Slip Silk Sleep Mask
6. Joseche Wireless Bluetooth Sleeping Mask
7. Manta Weighted Sleep Mask
What to Look for in a Sleep Mask
Here are a few things you should keep in mind when shopping for a sleep mask:
1. Breathable Fabric
Considering you'll be wearing this sleep mask for several hours at a time, it's important to choose one made from a breathable fabric to avoid sweating where the sleep mask hugs your face.
"Lightweight silk fabrics will breathe and feel nice to the skin," says Allison Siebern, PhD, a sleep health psychologist who's board-certified in behavioral sleep medicine and Proper's Head Sleep Science Advisor. "If the adjustable strap is also made of silk, it will also help protect your hair from getting snagged."
2. Snug Fit
Your sleep mask should fit snugly, so that it doesn't fall off in the middle of the night, but it's also important that it's not too tight. The right fit is important, which is why Siebern believes an adjustable strap is ideal.
"Some masks have elastic straps while others have a slide adjuster and others have Velcro," she says. "You will need to experiment to learn which is best for you, but I'd be careful with the Velcro for fear of snarling your hair."
3. Contoured Eye Cups
Contoured eye cups cover the eye area in such a way that the material does not touch the closed lids. This can be preferable for people who don't like pressure on their eyelids while they sleep.
Others, however, find that a little bit of weight and pressure on the eyes can be relaxing and help them doze off to sleep, notes Dr. Schweig.
A weighted mask can help relieve pressure, but it should not weigh too much. A happy medium is between 0.75 and 1 pound, Avena says.
"It is a good alternative to a weighted blanket if you want to use something weighted for relaxation," she adds.
Your mask is going to get dirty, just like anything else you sleep with all night. For this reason, it's a good idea to make sure that your sleep mask is machine-washable. Look for a material like cotton, which won't get destroyed in the wash, Avena says.
For a product you're using nightly, you want to make sure it can last at least several months, if not years, so it needs to be made of durable, high-quality materials. Avena recommends looking for a silk mask and washing it according to the instructions on the packaging.
- Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC).
- Sleep Deprivation
- Sunjya Schweig, MD, Schweig, expert in complex chronic illnesses and Founder and President of California Center for Functional Medicine
- Nicole M. Avena, PhD, Assistant Professor of Neuroscience at Mount Sinai School of Medicine and Visiting Professor of Health Psychology at Princeton University and author of What to Eat When You Want to Get Pregnant
- Allison Siebern, PhD, CBSM, sleep health psychologist board certified in behavioral sleep medicine by the American Board of Sleep Medicine and Proper's Head Sleep Science Advisor
- Allison Siebern
- Penn Medicine: "4 Ways Weighted Blankets Can Actually Help You"
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