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What are Sleep Masks?


Sleep masks can provide sweet dreams, even in the middle of the day. Also called eye masks, sleep masks slip over the eyes and are usually held in place by an elastic or Velcro band that goes around the back of the head to keep it securely in place. The masks are made of a variety of fabrics and materials, but all have one thing in common: they are designed to block out any light, even direct sunlight.

Light sleepers, headache and migraine sufferers, nocturnal workers, and people who travel to different time zones find that a sleep mask aids in allowing them to get a full night's sleep. These masks are also helpful for those who need a soothing break from the glare of the computer screen, for young mothers with erratic sleep schedules, or just for enjoying a decadent mid-day catnap.

A sleep mask.
A sleep mask.

Sleep masks can be purchased online or off, through specialty sleep stores, lingerie shops, luggage stores, or major retailers. Most of these suppliers offer these masks in a variety of fabrics, styles, sizes, colors, designs and price points; the simplest type are solid black fabric or utilitarian gel pads.

Other, more specialized manufacturers offer niceties that add to the feeling of luxury that comes with wearing a sleep mask. Today's sleep masks can feature such creature comforts as aromatherapy inserts to calm frayed nerves. Top-of-the-line masks include divine extras such as heating and cooling units, and sound systems that play soothing white noise or your favorite calming music.

Individuals suffering with migraines may find sleep masks beneficial.
Individuals suffering with migraines may find sleep masks beneficial.

Most people use sleep masks for very practical reasons while sleeping, but these masks can be designed to be sassy and sexy as well. Although the wearer can't see the mask while wearing it, obviously, the masks can be shaped and colored like butterflies, made of silk and rhinestones, fashioned of satin and lace, or even sport exotic animal prints, such as leopard and zebra.

Whether blocking out ambient street light or the bright sun of a summer day, whether napping or catching winks between swing shifts, slip away to dreamland in your sleep mask. You can enjoy a restful sleep and look like a movie star.

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Discussion Comments


We live in an apartment which faces a busy street that is noisy all night and day and also, perhaps fortunately, well lit. The light and noise penetrates our curtains.

I thought about putting cardboard over the windows, was feeling so desperate. Last night, I put on an airliner's sleep mask out of desperation -- and slept like a baby. Haven't slept so deeply and soundly since I don't know when.


I find sleep masks to be very uncomfortable as the elastic around the head often gets bunched up, or the material irritates my skin.

Does anyone know if you can buy sleep masks that have solved the elastic band issue? I would think something like a ribbon you can tie would be best.

Also, what material would you recommend for my sleep mask? I want something smooth that won't make me feel too warm or uncomfortable. I tend to get irritated by materials like fleece and cotton because they feel too heavy on my eyes. I also prefer more natural materials that don’t use too much dye.


A sleep mask is a great thing to carry when you are heading for a long flight. Often airlines leave the lights on and window shades up. If you want to sleep outside their designated schedule a sleep mask is a great thing.

These masks also come in a great variety of cute looks. You can find many shaped like various napping animal eyes that even have little ears on top.

I think even with wearing something like a sleep mask that you should let your personality shine through. Choosing one can be a lot of fun if you get your favorite character.

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    • A sleep mask.
      By: Phoenix
      A sleep mask.
    • Individuals suffering with migraines may find sleep masks beneficial.
      By: luminastock
      Individuals suffering with migraines may find sleep masks beneficial.
    • Sleep masks can block out direct sunlight.
      By: Lulu Berlu
      Sleep masks can block out direct sunlight.
    • Sleeping in the daylight can be difficult, and wearing a sleep mask can help.
      By: Ariwasabi
      Sleeping in the daylight can be difficult, and wearing a sleep mask can help.