So I wanted to give a good overview of the different kinds of sleeping masks that are out there and the differences between them. This should be a decent point to start doing some research about sleeping masks. They are ordered in a general order of quality, in my eyes at least. Enjoy!
‘Creative’ Sleep Eye Masks
Under this category I’ll put anything that’s a creative solution to block away light, and not necessarily a sleeping mask. For example, pulling down a beanie on your eyes, tying a shirt of some sort or pulling your covers over your head.
- How much light is being blocked really depends on what fabric or material you’re using. However, most fabrics don’t block out light for the simple reason they weren’t designed for such a task. Either way, a dark fabric is better if you choose this option – which I wouldn’t recommend!
- Low comfort level when using these kinds of light blocking solutions – mostly due to the lack of relevant fitting design.
So yeah, obviously these are free but they don’t have any of the benefits of a decent sleep eye mask to them.
Simple Synthetic Sleeping Masks
These are the ones most people think about when they hear “sleeping mask” – like the sleep masks you get in airplanes. They include a thin strap or two in the back, and their material is usually synthetic – nylon or something similar to that.
These masks are very cheap, and for most people, that’s the extent of their experience sleeping with a sleeping mask – quite a shame really.
- Light blockage would be quite poor. Try holding them up in front of a source of light and you will easily see that. Manufacturers definitely cut corners with these some of the times.
- The strap in the back is very rarely easily adjustable to the size of your head. Although the design is supposed to be “one size fits all”, in reality you’ll either get one which is too tight (for people like me with a big head that’s very annoying and block circulation. Highly uncomfortable – and there’s nothing you could do!) or too loose (in which case you’d have to tie a knot which would likely disturb your sleep). Not to mention that many times the strap actually loosens as you keep using it or if you put it through the wash.
These masks are a cheap option (and you get what you pay for) at $1-$4.
“Concave” Sleeping Masks
This is a category of sleep masks that just came out, and I must admit I haven’t tried them as of yet when writing this post. Many people seem to comment that the material feels like the fabric that make most bras.
Either way, the manufacturer describes them as being made of foam, and they have concave eye pockets to them (concave means the pockets give the eye sockets “extra room” without putting any direct pressure on the eyelid). The design is very good at blocking light – and you can even open your eyes and blink and you’ll still see nothing but darkness. Cool!
It’s also a good option for women wearing make up, and for anyone just wanting to relax their eyes in darkness without actually going to sleep.
I’d rank them high on the comfort factor – the material is pleasant and lightweight and comfortable to wear. It’s obvious some design went into those, ensuring they feel good on your face.
All and all, these seem to be a good purchase. I haven’t tried them myself, as I said – but I’ve heard good things.
You could get the sweet eye dreams sleep mask, and get it with a set of earplugs for $10 (date of writing this post).
Breathing Sleeping Masks
These masks are made from breathable materials like satin or fleece. It’d be true to say that products made from a higher quality fabric fall under this category. The good ones would have Velcro straps which ensure they adjust well to the shape of your face.
- They block light much better than other categories mentioned before. The material is of a higher grade and was purposely chosen for its light blocking capacities. Also, a better fit means less light actually ‘leaks in’.
- These masks are much more comfortable than plain ones – as they were designed with the wearer’s comfort in mind.
A good example for these is the Lewis N Clark comfort eye mask. It’s a good sleeping mask and quite affordable at $7.
Luxury Sleep Eye Mask
These masks are comfortable as well as blocking most of the light from entering your eyes. They are extremely comfortable because of their softness, and in some models extra measures were added – like sound muffling properties. The light blocking is good, not just because of the quality of material but also its thickness.
Masks in this category are a favorite for me, and a lot of other serious ‘sleep maskers’. They feel great, they block light and they aren’t tight even one bit. Sound muffling is a nice added bonus when it’s there. I recommend the “Escape” Luxury sleep mask in this category… Ah bliss. It may be slightly more expensive, but definitely worth it.
So that’s my little overview of sleep masks. I hope you learnt something, and let me know if I forgot a category or if a new exciting one is in the market and I’ll add it.