Sleep plays such an important role in our health and well-being that when it’s disrupted, it can negatively affect everything from brain function to our immune system.
Disruptions to our sleep run the gamut from sleep disorders (sleep apnea, for example) to environmental noise, most of which can’t be easily controlled. A common factor that can be controlled, however, is light.
Light interferes with our ability to fall and stay asleep — whether daylight, nightlights or the glow from your partner’s screen! — since light affects our circadian rhythm, the biological clock that tells us when it’s time to wake up and go to sleep. So if you work night shifts, get too much light seeping into your room, or share a bed with someone who’s constantly scrolling through Instagram at midnight, you may want to consider a sleep mask.
When shopping for a sleep mask, the most important thing to keep in mind is fit. Look for masks that will block out most, if not all, light; adjustable masks are a good place to start. Second, consider fabrics. Natural fibres like silk and cotton tend to be more breathable, absorbent and gentle on the skin than their synthetic counterparts. And lastly, think of the type of sleeper you are. If you typically hit the hay stomach first, a weighted mask probably won’t work for you. Side sleeper? You’re going to need a mask that won’t slide off when switching positions.
Here, we’ve rounded up some sleep masks made to help improve the quality of your sleep.
This sleep mask is a bestseller and for good reason: it’s comfortable and provides a total blackout experience. Unlike traditional sleep masks, this one is fitted with hollowed-out foam cups to avoid adding unwanted pressure on the eyes. You can also swap out the mask’s original cups (they’re attached to the mask with Velcro) for cooling cups or ones made of supple silk.
Sleep Mask, $29.99 US, Manta Sleep
Side and stomach sleepers swear by Tempur-Pedic’s sleep mask. It’s made of adaptive material which forms to the contours of your face and head, and stays securely in place when you shift in bed. Its elastic headband and Velcro closure also make for a customized fit.
Tempur-Pedic Sleep Mask, $43.34, Amazon
Like silk pillowcases, silk eye masks are great if you’re looking for an option that’s gentle on the skin and hair. Blissy’s sleep mask — including the band — is made of 100 per cent high-quality mulberry silk. You’ll offset some of the friction you may encounter when tossing and turning, which helps prevent bed-head, split ends and tugging and creases in your skin.
Sleep Mask – Matcha, $51, Blissy
If silk isn’t in the budget, consider satin-weave fabrics made of cheaper fibres; they are smooth like silk and therefore also less damaging to the hair and skin. This satin eye mask by Kitsch is also reinforced with padding for a pillowy feel.
Kitsch Satin Eye Mask in Blush, $22, ASOS
Breathable sheets and clothing are a must if you experience night sweats, but that should also apply to your sleep mask. This mask by Oui is crafted with a 60/40 blend of cotton and French terry, both known for their breathable and absorbent properties, so you can stay cool and comfortable.
Oui Terry Eye Mask, Heather Grey, $19.50, Indigo
Getting an adequate amount of shut-eye when travelling can seem an impossible feat, but those who have tried Away’s travel sleep mask would say otherwise. This mask has built-in contours to comfortably accommodate your eyes and nose, and is made with thermoregulating material that cools you down when you’re hot and warms you up when you’re cold. It’s also coated with an antimicrobial finish and folds neatly away when not in use.
The Sleep Mask, $55, Away
This sleep mask by Nodpod is essentially a weighted blanket for your eyes. Inspired by deep touch pressure (aka the relaxed feeling you experience when being hugged or cuddled), it has four weighted pods in its lining that apply a gentle pressure across the eye and beyond to help quell anxiety.
Nodpod Sleep Mask, $42, Nordstrom
Looking for a weighted mask with a luxe feel? This option by Canadian company BlanQuil is filled with weighted glass beads that apply a gentle, even pressure to lids, and is lined with a silky sateen fabric that feels soft.
BlanQuil Dream Shades, $24.99, SleepCountry
D’Loraine Miranda is a Toronto-based editor and writer. Follow her on Instagram @dlorainem.