The Best Cheap Sleep Masks of 2019

Sleep masks can improve sleep quality.

A 2010 study published in Critical Care, a peer-reviewed medical journal, concludes that the "use of earplugs and eye masks in subjects not only improves subjective sleep quality, but also increases the amount of REM sleep and nocturnal melatonin levels." 

To be fair, this study was conducted in a hospital setting where patients were exposed to light and sounds throughout the night, i.e. not your typical nighttime conditions. Nevertheless, an eye mask may be beneficial for those who are exposed to light during sleeping hours. 

A sleep mask won't be effective if it isn't comfortable, but there are other reasons to find an adjustable-fit mask that uses natural, breathable materials:

Eye masks are anecdotally associated with acne and styes (a bacterial infection of the eyelid). Oil and bacteria will accumulate on any object that touches the skin, so it makes sense to hand-wash an eye mask regularly (perhaps as often a pillow case is laundered).

Interestingly, eye masks are rumored to cause wrinkles. It sounds like nonsense, but some doctors believe that facial distortions during sleep (e.g. from too-tight a mask or sleeping face down on a pillow) can cause or deepen wrinkles. Consider speaking with your dermatologist if you plan to regularly wear an eye mask. 

Here are the best-reviewed sleep masks that have sold for $10 or less in the past year:

Good Price: $10 | Great Deal: $6

This sleep mask keeps light out and is roomy enough for eyelashes or eyebrows, according to several Amazon customers. Some reviewers say the adjustable band rubs against their ears; others complain that their masks fell apart after a few months of wear.

Good Price: $9 | Great Deal: $7

OriHea's eye mask is comfortable and effective at blocking light, according to several Amazon customers. Some reviewers (even happy ones) say that the elastic band on this mask stretches out too easily. Customers with smaller heads say that this mask runs large and that light leaks in when the strap stretches.

Good Price: $9 | Great Deal: $6

This lightweight mask is well made, according to several Amazon customers. Some reviewers say that the velcro strap pulls their hair; others (particularly those with small noses) say that a bit of light creeps in.


John DeFeo