Being able to control how much light shines upon your eyes at night is crucial, and the best sleep mask can prove to be an effective way to ensure a good night’s rest. Sunday scaries or not, falling asleep can be an arduous task that no amount of counting sheep will suffice. Of course, many people have different methods for catching some z’s, whether it’s reading a book or swapping out your pillowcase, small tweaks to your nighttime routine can make a world of a difference to your typical sleeping patterns. For many people, purchasing a sleeping mask is seen largely as a useless luxury item that adds little value to better sleep but having some control of light and noise during your bedtime routine goes hand in hand with the quality of your sleep.
Up until now, you might consider sleep masks to be confined to those who are traveling. While eye masks and earplugs are clever sleep products to use while on a plane, having the sleep mask by your bedside is equally as advantageous. Something as simple as your bedroom not being dark enough can prevent you from feeling blissful sleep. Luckily, it can be a quick fix with adjustable and light-blocking sleeping masks.
How do sleep masks work?
You might be wondering what the difference is between the sleep accessory and simply closing your eyes. Well, according to clinical psychologist Dr. Joshua Tal, the way in which sleep masks block light differs dramatically than just shutting your eyelids. “Eyelids prevent most light from being perceived by the retina, however, bright lights can still pass through,” Dr. Tal tells SELF. He adds that “Sleep masks work by providing a barrier between your eyes and light sources.” Okay, but how exactly do they help you sleep better? “Light is a common source of stimulation for the brain,” Dr. Tal says. “When our circadian rhythm senses light, it stimulates the brain to release wakeful promoting hormones to help us function and stay awake during the daytime.”
The problem, he explains, occurs because many people’s sleep patterns do not match the usual day and night cycles. “Some people wake up after sunrise, some places have very long daytime and nighttime schedules based on their geography and position of the sun, and some people have bed partners who like to read at night before bed,” he shares. “In all these situations, a sleep mask can help someone sleep no matter how much light is outside.”
How to find the right sleep mask for you
It might seem like common sense, but finding a comfortable option that fits you securely but not snug is key. With so many picks readily available from weighted to silk to heated, the options can feel overwhelming. “You want to look at the makeup of the mask, making sure the materials are comfortable and not too heavy,” Dr. Tal tells SELF. He considers those that are breathable and made of soft materials to work best.
“Second, you want to make sure the mask does not fall flat on the eyes and the bands around the head seem comfortable,” he adds. It can take a bit of trial and error to find the right one for you and your needs. Below, we’ve listed best-selling sleep masks and detailed their features to help you with your shopping journey from brands such as Slip, Tempur-Pedic, Brooklinen, Lunya, Manta, Amazon, and more. Here’s to getting a good night’s sleep without the fuss!
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