The Best Travel Eye Masks for Sleeping on a Plane

Bennett Collins

“For the second time, stop sleeping in the restaurant. The chairs block the entrance for a reason” said the middle-aged security guard at Edinburgh Airport.

So, like a bear cub (a very cute one) exiting his cave and seeing daylight for the first time, my then 21-year old self left the cool darkness of the generic overpriced airport restaurant and its comfortable booth seats, and entered into the light.

That familiar bright, piercing fluorescent light – which then kept me awake for the duration of the six hours of my overnight layover.

Why do I tell such a graphically uncomfortable story? Because it’s a perfect example where a sleep mask would have saved me from unrelenting jetlag.

Seasoned travelers know the importance of sleep. It can make or break a trip or the build-up to a special moment. So, whether on an airplane or in an airport, sleep masks provide your body a better chance to rest from the stress of being ‘on’ and to get ready for either arduous travel or lessen its physiological aftermath.

Based on whether you are a side sleeper, wear makeup or long eye lashes, or are nervous about the dermatological effects of any face masks (i.e. acne), an eye mask needs to suit you and your needs. So I’ve found six sleep masks that can make sure you get a good sleep and ensure you don’t suffer any aftermath of wearing one.

Masters of Mayfair Sleep Mask

Material: Silk

Price: $49.99

Light Blocking: Very good

Positives

There are a lot of positives with this one. Masters of Mayfair was awarded by the Independent for the high quality of their masks, which explains the price. Quality costs. The silk material of the mask lets your face breath easily. Light blocking, comfortable wear, and available in different colors, this mask makes everything else look pedestrian. And if you don’t like it, you can also return it.

Negatives

While this may be a positive to some, the mask smells like lavender (a smell which will fade over time). Personally, I prefer for sleep masks unscented. I’m quite sensitive to smell. Other than this, the price is the biggest deterrent given how easy it is to lose anything while traveling.

Conclusion: Make this your next birthday present

Unimi Sleep Mask

Material: Memory foam and elastic polyester

Price: $9.41

Light Blocking: Very good

Positives

One of the best things about this mask is its ability to block out light completely. On top of this, the contours of the mask and the memory foam makes it really comfortable. It also tends to stay put if you shift around, which is a rarity amongst sleep masks.

Negatives

This mask may bleed onto your pillow if you’re using it on your bed, and tends not to be the best for side sleepers. Also, the synthetic material may not be the best for folks who are prone to breakouts.

Conclusion: Affordable black out curtains for your eyes…that may also black out your sheets.

Alaska Bear Sleep Mask

Material: Silk

Price: $8

Light Blocking: Good

Positives

I have to list the Alaska Bear Sleep Mask because the customers of Amazon have spoken: it’s the most popular sleep mask right now. First of all, its price is an incredible value for the material and quality. It’s lightweight, packable, and comes in multiple color options.

Negatives

A sleep mask that costs only eight dollars is going to disappoint eventually. From the headband coming loose, light seeping in through the nose area of the mask, or that it may dye your sheets, this mask isn’t your best friend forever. But it might be an acceptable short term solution.

Conclusion: The perfect alternative to the free airline sleep masks.

 

Etsy’s Sleep Mask

Material: Certified Organic Cotton

Price: $28

Light Blocking: Excellent

Positives

I like to purchase environmentally conscious products whenever I can, and Etsy’s sleep mask provides me that opportunity with their use of certified organic cotton. This is a very positively-reviewed product. It blocks out light really well, is super comfortable, and isn’t ridiculously expensive. Etsy also provides plenty of variations. It even has “F*ck Off” eye masks. I think I’m in love.

Negatives

There’s not too much here to complain about, other than the fact that these masks can’t be found on Amazon. So, expect shipping to take 1-2 weeks.

Conclusion: The Goldie Locks of sleep masks.

Sleep Mask by Bedtime Bliss

Material: Bamboo and cotton

Price: $12.90

Light Blocking: Very good

Positives

This mask tends to be good for side sleepers, and the cotton of this mask allows your face to breathe, which is good news for those with sensitive skin. Given that the mask is contoured as well, it’s great for anyone who need their makeup to stay intact after they asleep.

Negatives

There are complaints that the mask falls apart after six months or so. Cotton is a less sturdy material and can get worn by putting it through the wash, so maybe handwash this one?

Conclusion: The H&M t-shirt of face masks: A great mask, but two months later, it may fall apart.

Sleep Master Sleep Mask

Material: Cotton interior, synthetic outer shell

Price: $25.90

Light Blocking: Excellent

Positives

This mask may look ridiculous but it does two jobs: it blocks out light and lowers the volume of sounds. If you’re like me, ear plugs can be uncomfortable and hurt after a while, so the fact that this mask simply covers my ears is great. Also, because it’s so big, it blocks out light without constant adjustment.

Negatives

This mask used to be made with silk, a breathable fabric, and now it’s been replaced with a synthetic polyester material, a less breathable fabric. Naturally, this causes not only a build-up of heat, but also an accumulation of oils and salts from sweat that can cause blackheads and acne.

Conclusion: A quiet, expensive, uncomfortable sauna for the face.

TL:DR

Sleep masks are important to help your body shutdown and rest while traveling. You should get one if you struggle with sleeping while you travel.

Masters of Mayfair Sleep Mask: Is expensive but worth the investment. Don’t buy it if you don’t like the scent of lavender, because this smell will linger on the mask.

Etsy’s Sleep Mask: Is a less expensive purchase for a quality product. The mask is made out of breathable organic cotton and is very well reviewed.

Unimi Sleep Mask: Is great for its contoured structure and ability to block out light. Unfortunately, there are reports that it dyes sheets and pillows.

Sleep Mask by Bedtime Bliss: Is a good sleep mask for side sleepers and those who need to preserve their makeup while they sleep. However, because it’s on the cheaper side and made of cotton, wear and tear is to be expected if it gets put through the wash too many times.

Alaska Bear Sleep Mask: Is the most popular sleep mask on Amazon right now because it’s affordable and comfortable. However, its price is so low for a reason – buyer beware.

Sleep Master Sleep Mask: Is a very large sleep mask that blocks out sound and light. However, as it now comes in polyester and no longer silk, it is gaining a reputation for trapping heat and perspiration.

 

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