Select is editorially independent. Our editors selected these deals and items because we think you will enjoy them at these prices. If you purchase something through our links, we may earn a commission. Pricing and availability are accurate as of publish time.
What you do right before bed can have a large impact on your sleep quality and duration. The same can be said for what you wear and sleep on — everything from the type of alarm clock you use to the type of pillow case you rest your head on can influence your sleep-wake cycle.
There are many products you can invest in for a better night’s sleep, but if you are often kept awake (or woken up) by light, you might want to consider a sleep mask. These masks are designed to create an ideal pitch black sleeping environment regardless of where you are or the time of day, which helps your body produce melatonin and fall into a deep slumber. We spoke to experts about the benefits of sleep masks for the sleep-wake cycle, plus used their shopping advice to round up some top-rated options on top of their own recommendations.
Top-rated sleep masks in 2022
Since we don't test sleep masks ourselves, we rely on experts to guide our recommendations. The sleep experts we spoke to said that silk and sateen are good materials to look for since they're good for the skin. They also recommended padded masks, noting that they comfortably protect the eyes. The experts said that it's important to be able to wash your mask, so all of the options we included can either be machine-washed or washed by hand.
Dr. Seema Khosla, medical director at the North Dakota Center for Sleep, recommended this face mask, noting that it has memory foam padding around the eyes for comfort and breathability. The fully adjustable mask also uses an elastic strap, which is less likely to get caught in your hair or disrupt your sleep than a Velcro one, according to experts. The mask, which comes in a pack of three, has a 4.5-star average rating from more than 18,100 reviews on Amazon.
Khosla recommended the Hibermate Sleep Mask for especially light sleepers since it blocks both light and sound with integrated, removable ear muffs. The mask itself is machine-washable and fits to your head with adjustable elastic bands, Hibermate says. According to the brand, the material is hypoallergenic and stays cool during the summer months.
Former Select writer Ambar Pardilla bought the Slip Pure Silk Sleep Mask after several bouts of insomnia and said that after a few nights of using it, she was “snoozing off within minutes of sliding the mask on.” The mask, which is made from machine-washable and non-irritating silk, according to the brand, stays put with an elastic band. Slip says the silk mask won’t disturb your nighttime creams and facial products, nor will it put pressure on the area around your eyes.
Another silk eye mask option, this mask from Brooklinen is breathable, machine-washable and lightweight, according to the brand. It uses an elastic band wrapped in the same mulberry silk fabric and comes in several colors, including Dove Grey and Cerulean. The mask boasts a 4.8-star average rating from more than 400 Brooklinen shoppers.
This eye mask from Lunya is a great option for sleepers looking for a silk option with padding. According to the brand, the machine-washable silk sleep mask has a headband design that wraps around the ears to keep both light and noise out. The mask is available in several colors and boasts a 4.2-star average rating from more than 2,000 reviews on Lunya.
The Mavogel Cotton Sleep Eye Mask is easily adjustable to fit your face, according to the brand. Using the buckles on the elastic strap, you can make the strap anywhere from 19 to 29 inches. Mavogel says the mask itself is made up of five layers to pad the eyes and keep light out, and the design includes a nose panel to block out light that might filter in from the bottom of the mask.
Sleep mask benefits
Sleep masks are designed to keep light out of your eyes at night and into the morning as the sun rises. According to Dr. Christopher Winter, a neurologist and author of “The Sleep Solution,” this is “a proven way to improve sleep quality and amount.” In one Korean study published in Psychiatry Investigation, for instance, exposure to dim light during the sleep cycle was associated with decreased total sleep time and a harder time falling asleep.
Virtually any bedroom can be exposed to either artificial or natural light so long as it has windows, which means sleep masks can be a useful sleep tool for almost anyone, experts said. However, Khosla noted that some people might benefit from a sleep mask more than others due to their circumstances, like shift workers who sleep during the day and individuals whose spouses watch TV while they’re trying to go to bed. “Anyone who is bothered by light in their sleep space [can use one],” she added.
How to shop for a sleep mask
When choosing a sleep mask, Winter noted that “comfort is key.” He said that you want to look for a mask that’s tight enough to fit properly but “does not create discomfort as the night progresses.”
According to Shelby Harris, PsyD, a licensed clinical psychologist who is board-certified in Behavioral Sleep Medicine (BSM), silk and sateen are good materials to look for in a face mask. In our guide to the best bedding for your skin, dermatologists told us that silk in particular is less irritating for sensitive skin.
Experts also noted that padding — especially around the bridge of the nose — ensures a comfortable and secure fit. Masks with a cupped shape around the eyes are good since they “do not put pressure on the eyeballs,” Winter added.
Some sleep masks come with adjustable Velcro straps, which makes it easier to fit the mask comfortably around the head. However, Khosla warned that if you have longer hair, it can get stuck in these Velcro straps. If you are a back sleeper, masks with ties or elastics in the back can also be disagreeable since they “create an uncomfortable lump.”
Since sleep masks sit on your face for several hours a night, it’s preferable to buy one that’s machine-washable. “There’s no way I would wear a sleep mask that wasn’t able to be laundered,” Khosla noted.