The 9 Best Sleep Masks of 2021, According to Frequent Travelers

Get quality shuteye in a flight, on the road, or in your own bed

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Best Sleep Masks

TripSavvy / Chloe Jeong

The Rundown

Best Overall: Bedtime Bliss Contoured Sleep Mask at Amazon

"This features a comfortable fit that’s a cut above the competition."

Best Budget: Alaska Bear Natural Silk Sleep Mask at Amazon

"The affordable option is a great pick for just about anyone."

Best Splurge: SlipSilk Pure Silk Sleep Mask at Nordstrom

"Travel in style with this mask crafted from the highest-grade, long-fiber mulberry silk."

Best Heated: Graphene Times Heated Eye Mask at Amazon

"The mask is like a soothing, mini-spa treatment on the plane, bus, or just about anywhere."

Best Hypoallergenic: Dream Sleeper Mask at Amazon

"The hypoallergenic and latex-free eye mask is great for sensitive skin."

Best for Side Sleepers: Nidra Luxury Patented Sleep Mask at Amazon

"This blackout option contours and adjusts for turbulent or side sleepers."

Best Set: PrettyCare 3D Sleep Mask at Amazon

"This mask isn't just comfortable, but it comes in a pack of two, along with ear plugs and a carrying bag."

Best Silk: Brooklinen Mulberry Silk Eyemask at Brooklinen

"The soft fabric limits the damage to skin and hair."

Best Value: Bucky 40 Blinks Sleep Mask at Amazon

"Choose from more than 20 colors and patterns that suit your style. "

Many travelers say a sleep mask is a must for flights, bright or noisy lodging conditions, and as a way to help manage jet lag when their internal body clocks just have no idea what time it really is. “Sleep masks are a travel must-have,” says solo traveler and travel blogger Leah Preston. In fact, she says, “eye masks are a budget traveler's best friend! I've saved hundreds of dollars by selecting flights with long layovers, but this is often required for sleeping in the airport lounge for a night. I now travel with a contoured eye mask in my carryon for long flights and layovers, or unplanned delays.”

“I very often find myself in remote locations, spanning continents and time zones,” says Angelique Velez, world traveler and founder of Remarkable Places. “The journey can include countless hours traveling and a hefty time difference. It all equates to a disjointed sleep schedule and serious jet lag. When I get to my location, it is vital to maximize the time there.” For Velez, that means investing in a quality sleep mask with major coverage. For other travelers, the most basic option will do the trick, while some–such as sensitive sleepers or side sleepers—need a more customized option.

Whatever your needs, here are the best sleep masks available.

Best Overall: Bedtime Bliss Contoured Sleep Mask

Bedtime Bliss BTB01 Contoured
Courtesy of Amazon.com
4.2
What We Like
  • Contours to the face

  • Includes ear plugs

  • Easily washable

What We Don't Like
  • Material can initially feel stiff

For a comfortable fit at an affordable price that’s a cut above the competition, the Bedtime Bliss Contoured Sleep Mask is a great choice. Designed to fit your face without putting pressure on the eyes, the mask features adjustable straps, a contoured shape around the nose, soft material, and it completely blocks out light. Soft padding on the sides prevents it from rubbing and makes it easy to forget you have it on. The eye mask also comes with a convenient carry bag and earplugs to drown out background noise.

Best Budget: Alaska Bear Natural Silk Sleep Mask

What We Like
  • Fits all face sizes and shapes

  • Headband doesn't snag hair

  • Breathable material

What We Don't Like
  • Can shift around while sleeping

If you’d rather spend money on your trip as opposed to travel gear and accessories, the Alaska Bear Natural Silk Sleep Mask is an affordable option that’s a great pick for just about anyone. The cotton and silk ultra-plush eye mask offers the utmost in breathability and comfort, and its gentle, easily adjustable headband makes it suitable for adults and children alike. It’s also super light-blocking, so for those travelers who are especially sensitive to harsh plane lighting, this mask is a perfect fit. If you find it doesn’t work for you, Alaska Bear offers a satisfaction guarantee and will refund you or replace your sleep mask.

Tested by TripSavvy

"I wore the Alaska Bear Natural Silk Sleep Mask to sleep for a few nights to see if it would help block the extra light coming in my window. It blocked light so well I didn’t realize it was morning until my alarm went off. The 100 percent mulberry silk is both breathable and cool, so I wasn't sweating under the mask. Unfortunately, I found the mask prone to slipping off even after adjusting the size (the latex-free nylon strap adjusts from 15.8 inches to 27.6 inches). This is because of the silk, which is exceptional for comfort but not so great for staying put. That was the only problem I found. Most other masks sold at similar prices aren’t always as silky smooth as this one. The 25 different color and design options range from a simple black to polka dots, stars, and even sleep masks printed with Vincent van Gogh’s Starry Night. You can also choose masks with printed sayings like 'Sleeping Beauty' and 'Siesta.' This is one of the most attractive sleep masks I’ve found." Joline Buscemi, product tester

Best Splurge: SlipSilk Pure Silk Sleep Mask

SlipSilk Pure Silk Sleep Mask

Nordstrom

 

What We Like
  • 100 percent silk

  • No velcro

What We Don't Like
  • Doesn't completely filter out light

Sure, this Slipsilk sleep mask may be a bit of a splurge, but you'll get high-quality, luxury sleep in return. It's crafted from the highest-grade, long-fiber mulberry silk, meaning it won't irritate your skin or absorb moisture. With its use of non-toxic dyes, the eye mask is hypoallergenic and soft to the touch. Plus, it's been developed and refined for over 10 years, so you know you're getting a good investment. There are also a dozen elegant colors to choose from, including pink, silver, gold, black, and more. All in all, this pure silk mask is ideal for those dreaded, long international flights, or if you just like to travel in style.

“I typically don't like sleep masks, but SlipSilk changed that for me. This is the softest sleep mask you can imagine, it feels like a spa treatment for your eyelids. Plus it's not too tight around the head, so there's zero discomfort—only luxurious, silky slumber.” Ellie Nan Storck, Hotel Editor

Best Heated: Graphene Times Heated Eye Mask

What We Like
  • Auto shut-off

  • Contoured design

  • Adjustable heat settings

What We Don't Like
  • The wire can come undone

For a soothing, “mini-spa” treatment on the plane, bus, or just about anywhere, the Heated Eye Mask from Graphene Times will help you sleep better. The mask creates complete darkness and has a convenient USB plug to power on from a battery bank or other source.

With three different heat settings, it soothes the eyes and muscles, and buyers have found it helps with migraines, puffy eyes, and wrinkles. Designed to increase blood flow, it is EPA approved and does not emit electromagnetic radiation. For safety, the timer goes off after one hour, so if you fall asleep (which it is designed to let you do) it won’t stay on all night. 

Best Hypoallergenic: Dream Sleeper Mask

Dream Sleeper Mask

Amazon

What We Like
  • Machine washable

  • Blocks out all light

  • Large band works well for restless sleepers

What We Don't Like
  • The dye can rub off

Those who have allergy sensitivities to different scents and fabrics should consider the Dream Sleeper Mask, a hypoallergenic and latex-free eye mask. The simple, functional design completely blocks out light from the eyes and can remain dark even if it shifts slightly in your sleep. The elastic band on the back holds it in place and works well with side sleepers and restless movers. The mask is a little pricier than some of the others, but the warranty is amazing: if you lose the mask the company will replace it for free (you just pay for shipping and handling). Reviewers noted that makeup, oil, and sweat sticks to the material, however, it is machine washable.

Best for Side Sleepers: Nidra Luxury Patented Sleep Mask

What We Like
  • Lightweight

  • Fits comfortably over the eyes

What We Don't Like
  • Short head strap

People who sleep on their sides will appreciate the precise fit of this sleep mask from Nidra. It features an adjustable nose piece with blackout eye wells that contour for turbulent or side sleepers. Its deeply molded cups curve away from eyes and eyelashes for comfort during movement and gives sleepers the freedom to blink while the mask is on. Made from polyester, this sleep mask will let you rest comfortably throughout your trip.

Best Set: PrettyCare 3D Sleep Mask

What We Like
  • Affordable

  • Doesn't put pressure on the eyes

What We Don't Like
  • Must be hand washed

This slimline memory foam eye mask has deep eye cavities for a comfortable fit, and a substantially adjustable velcro strap. It comes as a pack of two, along with earplugs and a silk carrying bag. Choose from colors including solid black, blue, purple, and gray, as well as a constellation-patterned set.

“I've ordered this eye mask twice after leaving it (and my favorite swimsuit) behind in a homestay with the Masai Warriors in Kenya,”Leah Preston, Travel Blogger

Best Silk: Brooklinen Mulberry Silk Eyemask

Brooklinen Mulberry Silk Eyemask

Courtesy of Brooklinen

What We Like
  • Cool colors

  • Breathable material

What We Don't Like
  • Expensive

Sleeping with a silk eye mask limits the damage to skin and hair that can be caused by any friction during sleep. It’s also naturally cool and breathable, but still insulating—so it works as an all-season solution. Brooklinen’s highly reviewed version has a soft, elastic band for comfort and comes in seven color choices: six solids and a black-and-white starry pattern.

Best Value: Bucky 40 Blinks Sleep Mask

Bucky 40 Blinks Sleep Mask

Courtesy of Amazon

What We Like
  • Secure, but non-restrictive

  • Contoured fit

What We Don't Like
  • Must be hand washed

  • Short head straps

For a wide variety of color combinations, patterns, and styles, the Bucky 40 Blinks sleep mask is the way to go. There are more than 20 colors and patterns ranging from funky floral to polka dots, so you can easily identify your mask. The eye mask is made of polyester polyurethane foam, creating a smooth, ultralight design that feels comfortable on the face.

Dipped, molded cups around the eyes allow you to blink freely inside, and an elastic band helps to hold it in place. The mask is ideal for long flights, those who work night shifts, or those prone to tension headaches because it can completely block out light.

Final Verdict

The Bedtime Bliss Contoured Sleep Mask is our all-around pick for its versatility for various uses. It provides near blackout shade for the eyes to promote sleep, and its contoured shape offers relief from eye pain, inflammation, and sinus pain. This is the one for you if you’re serious about your sleep masks.

What to Look for in a Sleep Mask

Fit

Look for a mask with molded eye pockets so that the fabric isn’t directly against your eyelids—this allows you to blink comfortably, and you won’t feel trapped. Contoured construction around the bridge of the nose also offers comfort and masks with velcro straps allow you to make adjustments until you find your ideal fit. Lastly, make sure the mask is wide enough to cover your eyes and peripheral vision.

Fabric

For optimum comfort, look for a mask that has a bit of padding or gel on the sides. If you plan to use yours very often, consider a hand-washable mask. And if the mask is constructed of layers of fabric, be sure to also examine the seams for strength (which is a potential weak point in some designs).

Extra features

As with all travel accessories, bells and whistles abound in sleep masks. Some come with earplugs and a case, while others run on rechargeable batteries to provide intervals of soothing (and medicinal) heat. Others can be dropped in the freezer for a bit of cooling relaxation, and a few even integrate calming scents like lavender.

FAQs

What are the benefits of sleep masks?

Ultimately, sleep masks are meant to help you fall asleep quicker, sleep longer, and get better-quality sleep. More and better sleep leads to greater focus during the day, a boost in immunity, and improved mental health outcomes. “I use sleep masks when traveling to different parts of the world because the time difference has a huge impact on me,” says travel blogger Stephanie Granados. “Masks help me sleep quicker and acclimate to the time difference, especially if it's daytime when I arrive.”

What materials are best to use for sensitive skin?

While polyester may irritate sensitive skin, natural cotton is gentle on the skin. Silk is also gentle and feels soft over the eyes.

How should sleep masks be washed?

Hand wash any sleep mask to help it keep its shape and elasticity for longer; most synthetic cloth masks can also be machine washed on a gentle cycle. Silk masks should be washed separately using detergent meant for delicates, and air dried rather than tumbled dry.

Why Trust TripSavvy

Alesandra Dubin is a world traveler, a mom of young kids, and a chronic insomniac—making for a challenging trifecta when it comes to sleep. She swears by a sleep mask to reduce her exposure to light and stimuli, and wears one nightly—both at home and on the road.

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