In the US, getting enough sleep is not an easy task. For millions of Americans, we struggle not only to get to sleep but to stay asleep.
As a result, we are more tired than we've ever been, with coffee and energy drinks fast becoming billion dollar businesses.
One chief problem we have is that there is too much light in our environment. Unless you live outside the city, the odds are that you have some light creeping in your bedroom.
Even our technology can conspire against us with soft, blue indicator lights on everything.
So what can we do to get better sleep? While there are multiple solutions, one of the quickest and most effective is sleep masks. If you've never used an eye mask before, you may be missing out.
In this article, we cover the benefits and the best sleep masks in 2019.
TOP RATED SLEEPING EYE MASKS
The 3 Best Sleep Masks Reviews 2019
Our first stop is the Bedtime Bliss Sleep Mask. As far as brands go, Bedtime Bliss is towards the higher end of the spectrum, which means that they make a lot of top-quality products and sleep-related materials.
What is great about this mask is that it conforms well to your face. The shape of the mask itself stands out with its ability to hug the edges around your eyes, and it does a remarkable job of keeping light out of the spaces around the nose. While some people may not fit exactly right, this mask is much better than most other models.
The other top feature of this product is the adjustable Velcro strap. The key to having your mask work all night is to have a relatively tight seal. If it comes loose, then it will shift, and you'll get light seeping in. Because it's Velcro, the mask stays put incredibly well, even if you toss and turn or sleep on your stomach.
Finally, this sleep mask comes with a set of soft rubber earplugs and a silk carry pouch for your travels. A small downside of this mask is that you can't throw it in the wash to clean it. Instead, you'll have to wash it by hand and let it air dry. We don't suggest scrubbing or cleaning it too hard, as this can affect the overall shape. Gently wash it with a little detergent and water, and it should be good as new.
- Soft and comfortable
- One size fits most
- Stays on all night
- Ear plugs included
- Comes with accessories
- Easy to use
- Light may seep in through the sides
- Small openings at the nose, regardless of position
Our next stop is the 3D Sleep Mask by Pretty Care. The first thing you'll notice about this mask is that it comes in a set of two. That way, you have a backup, or you can loan it out to a friend or family member if you're feeling generous. What we like about this mask is that it is thinner than most while still blocking out like remarkably well.
Another defining feature of this mask is that it has a large cavity around the eyes. For many, it is an important aspect of a sleep mask, as they can still open their eyes if need be. If you're one of those people, then you will thoroughly enjoy this product.
What we also like about the Pretty Care mask is that it is easily adjustable. This model also comes with a Velcro strap, which helps keep it secure all night long, even if you sleep on your stomach. The edges of the mask hug your skin well, and the shape conforms to your face beautifully. Again, some people may have a few spaces around the nose, but for the most part, it works wonderfully.
Finally, this mask also comes with some extra goodies. You get a set of soft rubber earplugs to block out annoying background noise, and you get a nice carry pouch for whenever you travel. The pouch can even hold both of them if necessary.
Cleaning this mask is much easier because you can toss it into the washing machine. The only thing to remember is that you have to put it in a dryer bag first; otherwise, it will come out stiff and uncomfortable. Also, the fabric itself is anti-bacterial, so you shouldn't have to wash it that often.
- Large cavity around your eyes
- Wide coverage to block light
- Stays put all night
- Anti-bacterial material
- Comes with accessories
- Easy to clean
- Mask may leave a slight residue after washing
- May arrive with an odor that will fade after a couple of days
Finally, we have the Alaska Bear Natural Silk Sleep Mask. What sets this from the rest is that it is made from 100% soft momme natural mulberry silk. If you've never felt this material before, it is like heaven. Therefore, if you want a sleep mask that feels like a dream, this is the one for you.
As far as features go, this is a relatively basic model. It has an elastic headband, which works fine, but it can stretch out eventually. The shape of the mask is amazing. As it feels so soft, it will conform to your face remarkably well.
Cleaning the Alaska Bear Mask is something of a process, as you cannot just scrub it with a washcloth or anything else. Because it's made of pure silk, you have to treat it delicately and wash gently. That being said, it's well worth it for the pure feeling of joy you get when you put it on.
Overall, this is a fantastic mask, mostly because of the material.
- Super soft and comfortable
- Feels amazing on your skin
- Easy to use
- Easy to adjust headband
- Breathable fabric
- Masks can slip and readjust during your sleep
- Edges may fray over time
Who Needs a Sleeping Mask?
While we can all benefit from having a better night's sleep, the fact is that some people need sleeping masks more than others.
For example, if you work at night and sleep during the day, then you'll need to have something to block out sunlight so you can fall asleep faster. Overall, these three groups can benefit the most from using sleep masks.
- Light sleepers
- Night shift workers
Nonetheless, if you are struggling to get a good night's sleep, you too may benefit from using a sleep mask.
Human Sleep Patterns
So what makes a sleep mask so beneficial to your health? Why bother with it at all?
Well, it all has to do with melatonin and our circadian rhythms. While there is a lot of science behind it, the basics are this: as humans, we have evolved to fall asleep at night and wake up during the day.
This natural cycle is called a circadian rhythm, and we are designed to follow this cycle in twenty-four hour periods.
To help regulate this, we have a gland in our brain called the pineal gland. This organ produces melatonin, which helps our body's know when to fall asleep and when to wake up. The more melatonin in our system, the more tired we are, and vice versa.
So what helps the pineal gland to know when to produce melatonin? Sunlight. When light hits our face, the gland stops melatonin production and starts creating it when it's dark.
Essentially, if you try to go to sleep during the day, your brain will try to fight it because it thinks that you're supposed to be awake. Similarly, if you try to stay awake at night, your brain will be confused even more because it is dark out.
Overall, modern society has done a great job of wrecking this natural system.
That's where the sleep mask comes in.
Benefits of a Sleep Mask
Because our melatonin levels are regulated by how light or dark our environment is, it would make sense to create a black void around ourselves when we want to sleep. The sleep eye mask blocks out all light (natural and artificial) so you can get more melatonin and fall asleep faster.
And the benefits of using a sleep mask?
- Faster time to fall asleep
- Better REM sleep
- Deeper sleep
- Natural sleep
- More rested when you wake up
In short, you won't be so groggy and dependent on stimulants to stay awake all the time.
How to Choose the Best Sleep Mask
So are all sleep masks the same? What differences are there between them? While finding a sleep mask may seem like a straightforward process, there are some important factors that you have to consider before you make a decision. Here are the top considerations you should think about first.
Because it will be on your face for long periods, you want a sleep mask that will feel soft on your skin. If it's too rough, it could keep you up at night and thereby negate its purpose. Ideally, you will get a mask that is made of soft cotton or silk, as this will feel much more comfortable against your face at night.
What you also have to remember is that you'll be shifting around as you sleep, which could press the mask against your skin. As a result, several eye covers may get hot after a while and leave you feeling uncomfortable when you wake up.
When it comes to sleep masks, many high-end models come with accessories to make it more valuable.
For example, a lot of masks will come with rubber ear plugs so that you can drown out any background noise. Much like light can influence your sleep patterns, noise can keep you awake as well. Other accessories usually include a carrying bag so that you can take it with you on your travels.
Ultimately, the mask is the most important thing, but having these additional pieces can be a nice touch.
In addition to the softness of the material, what you also have to keep in mind is how well it conforms to your face. The reason that you want it to hug your skin is that it will let in much less light that way.
In some cases, cheaper sleeping masks may not conform to the bridge of your nose, which can let light in through small cracks. When that happens, the light can be more annoying than if you had nothing on.
Another thing that you can get is a sleep mask that creates a cavity around your eyes.
Ultimately this will be a personal issue, as some people like to be able to open their eyes with the mask on. Having a cavity also means that it's not rubbing up against your eyes as you sleep, which can make it much more comfortable.
Lastly, an important aspect of a sleep mask is how well it adjusts. Because most masks are one size fits most, you want to be able to tighten it around your head so that it doesn't slip off or shift while you sleep.
In many cases, velcro is used, but sometimes it can be an elastic strap or a couple of strings that you tie together.
We recommend getting something more sturdy like velcro, but we also know that that can be a bit rough and uncomfortable for some. A string is second best because you don't have to worry about it stretching over time like you would with elastic.
Now that we fully understand the nature of our sleep cycles and know what to look for in a mask, we should take a look at some of the best sleep masks on the market.
Each of these models is highly rated for comfort and reliability, meaning that you should be able to get a great night's sleep with any one of them.
So if you're in the market for a better night's sleep, be sure to check out one of these wondrous sleep masks.
We promise that once you get used to wearing it, you will have some of the best sleep ever. We also recommend using the earplugs, although some people may not like having them in their ears all night.
Overall, these masks can be life-changing.