Three best sleep masks
When you have a restless night, people can tell. You may look tired or seem a bit cranky. A lack of sleep can have a cumulative effect on your health, too. Sleeping less than seven hours a night (for adults) increases your risk of heart disease, kidney disease, high blood pressure, diabetes, and stroke. Quality sleep is not only important for your mood, but it's also an essential part of a healthy lifestyle.
One of the easiest ways to achieve a great night's sleep is by wearing a sleep mask to bed. Sleep masks not only block out light so you can enjoy a more restful sleep, but they also offer a number of other bonuses.
Considerations when choosing sleep masks
Blocking out the light is obviously the key feature you want in a sleep mask. However, that alone isn't enough. There are other factors to keep in mind as you search for a mask to enhance your sleep.
From polyester and cotton to silk and bamboo, you want a sleep mask that is comfortable. A delicate, breathable material is the most desirable option. Look for a mask fabric with hypoallergenic properties if you have any sensitivities.
Since your eyes move while you sleep, a contoured sleep mask that doesn't press directly on your eyes -- but also doesn't have gaps that let light leak in -- is important. At this point, we also need to mention that if you don't always sleep on your back, make sure you purchase a mask that won't pinch up or fall off when you roll to your side.
This may seem inconsequential, but the strap is actually a critical part of the mask. You need something that is both comfortable and secure. The strap should keep the mask from slipping off while you sleep, but it shouldn't press so hard that you wake up with lines and creases around your head. Because an elastic strap will eventually stretch out and stop fitting properly, a mask with an adjustable strap is your best bet.
Eye pillows can provide relief from swollen eyes, headaches, migraines, sinus pressure, and more. If you want these benefits, look for a sleep mask with eye pillows or gel inserts.
Bells and whistles
Some sleep masks come with extra "bells and whistles" you might appreciate. This can include anything from aromatherapeutic properties to a built-in smart device that tracks your sleeping habits.
Considering the number of health benefits they offer, sleep masks are remarkably affordable. In a pinch, you can get a basic sleep mask as low as $5 or $6. At around $15, you'll start to find more luxurious sleep masks that offer contour and padding. Once you pass $30, you'll find masks made with fabulous silk, aromatherapy benefits, and more.
Q. How does cold therapy work with a sleep mask?
A. When you wear an eye mask that has been chilled, the cold causes your blood vessels to constrict. When this happens, any swelling around your eyes is reduced. It is important to remember that cold therapy is for temporary relief, not permanent change.
Q. Do sleep masks require cleaning?
A. Yes. It is a very good idea to regularly wash your sleep mask, just as you would any other article of clothing. However, before tossing it into the washing machine, consult the manufacturer's care instructions. Sleep masks made of delicate material, like silk, may require hand washing.
Sleep masks we recommend
Our take: A flexible mask of high quality that can be used for sleeping, meditation, and migraine relief.
What we like: This hypoallergenic silk mask comes with a gel pad for your eyes, and the contoured design blocks out more light than other masks. The customizable fit allows you to add as much or as little flaxseed and lavender as you desire.
What we dislike: Because this mask contains zippers and is not microwaveable, warm therapy will take a few extra minutes to prep.
Best bang for your buck: Bedtime Bliss Contoured & Comfortable Sleep Mask
Our take: A soft, gentle mask contoured to allow unencumbered eye movements while comfortably blocking out light.
What we like: This lightweight bamboo and cotton sleep mask makes comfort a priority, allowing you to enjoy a relaxing night's sleep without undesirable pressure or restricted eye movements. The ear plugs are a nice inclusion with this sleep mask.
What we dislike: Be careful about overstretching this mask's straps. This could result in the mask slipping off while you sleep.
Our take: A low-cost eye pillow designed to soothe eyes while blocking out light. It can be helpful for relieving eye strain after long periods spent in front of a screen.
What we like: The mask is filled with ergobeads that create a massaging sensation during use. It can be frozen to provide cold therapy for headaches, migraines, and sinus pain.
What we dislike: This mask is heavier than some of the other options, and the elastic strap may lose its resilience over time.
Allen Foster is a writer for BestReviews. BestReviews is a product review company with a singular mission: to help simplify your purchasing decisions and save you time and money. BestReviews never accepts free products from manufacturers and purchases every product it reviews with its own funds.
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