In this (imaginary) adapted screenplay from the soon-to-be classic Sleepless in Bed, the protagonist tosses and turns as the light outside begins creeping inside. In the middle of her frustration, she realizes the answer has been beside her the entire time. Joyfully, she slips on a cozy sleep eye mask, and drifts off into colorful, peaceful dreams.
This too could be you: You can be the protagonist in your own dreams. Don’t let the light—whether it be street lights in the middle of the night or the early sunset—bully you out of your beauty sleep. Fight it with an eye mask. Not only is it inexpensive (or can be luxe, depending on your preference) and comfortable, but it's also easy for traveling.
The humble sleep mask was invented way back in 1931 by a married couple from California as a way of mitigating sleeplessness caused by "modern lighting systems." That idea was backed up as recently as 2010 by the UCLA Sleep Disorder Center, whose research again demonstrated that “direct exposure to such abnormal light sources inhibits the body's secretion of melatonin,” which is the chemical that signals our bodies to shut down for the night.
And for newbies to the sleep mask game, you might think of having a foreign object strapped to your face all night long as possibly annoying or uncomfortable—but with fabric choices like silk, satin, and high-quality cotton, it’s never a hindrance or annoyance. You’ll probably even wonder how you ever slept without one all these years. If one of your 2018 goals is to sleep more or better, this easy purchase is a total game-changer.
Here’s a roundup of our very favorite sleep masks, here to help you snooze away.
Eye Mask, Alaska Bear, $9.99
You can’t argue with $9.99, and it’s still made with cozy mulberry silk, and has a comfortable strap that’s never tight around the face. It’s also available in eight other colors, including a Starry Night themed one.
Faux-Fur Eye Mask, Fabulous Furs, $17
Faux fur, real comfort. This ultra glam, ultra cozy (maybe a bit extra?) eye mask is so unique, and pretty accessible with a $17 price tag.
Binchotan Charcoal Eye Mask, Morihata, $26
This one is special because beyond helping you sleep by blocking out light, it also has a micro-fine charcoal powder infused into the organic cotton that lines the back of the mask. This helps relieve eye fatigue and pressure around the eyes, promotes blood circulation, and soothes tension and headaches. Slip on this mask and let the activated charcoal get to work while you go to sleep.
Silk Sleep Mask, Slip, $45
One of the most beloved eye masks around, this Slip version is the height of comfort, thanks to the luxurious, long-strand mulberry silk.
Washable Silk Sleep Mask, Lunya, $48
We’ve already mused on the brilliance of their PJs, but have you tried Lunya’s eye mask? It's made with the same washable silk as the cozy pajamas, but with the hidden secret weapon of green tea leaves to reduce under-eye puffiness. The green tea leaves are inside the mask, so you’ll never notice they’re there, but your face will thank you in the am. Also, that thick strap on the back? Designed for optimum comfort, and to prevent hair creases.
Rizzo Satin Eye Mask and Pouch Set, Love Stories, $65
Could this be any cuter? Made from smooth satin and a comfortable elastic strap (no tightness, no hair kinks), is this what sweet dreams are made of?
Originally published January 2017. Updated with new information March 2018.
Keep snoozing away:
Turns Out Your PJs Can Make You Healthier
Your Ultimate Guide to the Best Sleep Ever
I Quit TV for a Week, Here's What Happened
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