One of the most critical, utterly non-negotiable requirements for good health is sufficient, quality sleep. And one of the key tools to getting your best rest is to reduce the light you get at night and sleep in the darkest dark.
Modern living, however, doesn’t lend itself well to this. We’ve got inadequate window coverings, street lights, electronics, cohabitants and more that can keep things bright when we need to dial down the light.
That’s why I recommend — and personally use — a dorky, dorky sleep mask. It’s worth the occasional ribbing I get to improve my ability to sleep.
How to choose a sleep mask
When picking a sleep mask, the two most important criteria are comfort and fit. As with any mask, better fit means less leakage of whatever it is you want to keep out — in this case, excess light. And a mask does you no good at all if it’s too uncomfortable to wear.
Another consideration is how well the mask material actually blocks the light. Several of the masks I’ve tested aren’t perfect at this, but work well as long as you’re not sleeping in direct sun. Masks made with lighter-colored material are more likely to fail here, depending on the materials used.
Here’s a recent video about using eye masks and which ones I like best. I haven’t tested all the available options because no corporation is sponsoring this work. (Some of these are affiliate links, meaning I may get a small commission if you purchase after clicking.) So this list is not exhaustive, but based on my own personal experience.
Sleep masks I like:
Except as noted, all are adjustable and come in colors other than black. Prices are correct as of posting.
Lewis N. Clark Comfort Eye Mask: $7.50 each or $11 for two. Not as luxe as the silk options, my No. 1 choice is slightly contoured and fully light blocking.
Quince flat silk eye mask, not adjustable. Even though it’s not contoured or perfectly light blocking, I use this yummy silk mask frequently. $20.
Alaska Bear wide silk headband mask with nosewire: $30, black only. Light and comfortable, with good coverage despite being mostly flat. Imperfect light blocking.
Alaska Bear silk contour sleep mask with molded eye cups: $35, black only. I rarely use this as I find it doesn’t quite fit my face.
Albatross 3D contoured cup eye sleep mask: $10-$17. This is •not• neoprene as I say in the video, but rather Lycra and polyester memory foam. Excellent light blocking. I love the eye cup idea and some people swear by these, but they rarely feel like they fit my face well. This one is also fairly stiff and bulky, less comfortable than my top choices, especially for side and front sleepers.
If you haven’t already done so, grab my free Sound Sleep Cheat Sheet, with tips gleaned from my years of practice helping people get their best rest. Most of the tricks are easy and inexpensive to implement — so you can start sleeping better right away.
For a more personalized approach, I offer virtual consultations for folks in Alaska and Oregon. Book your appointment here.
I hope you find all this useful — and that it helps you stay well. If you appreciate this content and want to help support its creation, you can buy me a chai.