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Common Materials Used for Sleep Masks

How much of a difference can sleep mask materials make? Our Experts dig into the details of all pros and cons of the different options available.

The Best Sleep Mask Materials

Sleep masks have a wide array of benefits, and they can come in handy whether you’re lying in bed in a not-so-dark room, taking a red-eye flight, or trying to catch some extra Zs on a cross-country train. Take a moment to learn how sleep masks can help better your sleep and discover which material might be best for you.

The Benefits of Sleep Masks

First and foremost, sleep masks can help to improve your sleep by providing you with on-the-go darkness. Evolutionarily speaking, humans are diurnal, meaning that we naturally find ourselves awake during the day and sleeping once the sun goes down. Sleep masks can help replicate a dark environment for us if we’re in a location that doesn’t offer enough darkness.

Furthermore, sleep masks have been said to help with insomnia, provide a safer route to sleep than medication and alcohol, prevent dry eyes, and benefit the skin.

So what kind of sleep mask material is ideal for you? Let’s investigate.

Silk Sleep Masks

Similar to most other bedding materials, silk takes the cake when it comes to luxury sleep masks. Soft, smooth, and cool, silk sleep masks provide a comfortable experience for the eyes. If a high-quality silk is used, it can feel extra thick, helping to block out light. When a silk sleep mask is made with 100 percent natural silk, it also guarantees that no chemicals went into making it, which means that you can feel safe and chemical-free when wearing it.

However, all sleep mask materials have their drawbacks. Silk sleep masks have a tendency to get dirty quickly. Of course, you can wash a silk sleep mask, but keep in mind that the more you wash it, the weaker the material becomes. You may end up needing to replace a silk sleep mask more quickly than you would another material, so budget is also something worth noting.

Cotton Sleep Masks

Many sleep masks are made out of cotton because of its comfortable feel. Cotton sleep masks are also a top pick because they are sensitive on the skin and rarely cause any sort of allergic reaction. Cotton sleep masks also absorb liquids and partake in the evaporation process, helping to discourage bacterial growth on the mask, including the growth of yeast.

Because of cotton’s absorbing qualities, cotton sleep masks may be a problem if you like to apply facial creams or topical treatments around your eyes before bed. Cotton sleep masks will absorb these quickly, preventing your skin from receiving the treatment—and dirtying your sleep mask.

Polyester Sleep Masks

The biggest benefit of polyester sleep masks is their weight. One of the lightest sleep mask materials available, polyester sleep masks are comfortable and do not come in contact with your actual eyelids and eyelashes while you sleep. This can make them a better option for those who like applying facial products to the skin.

On the downside, polyester sleep masks aren’t nearly as breathable as some of the other options on the market, and they often make their wearers sweat. This can be especially irritating for those who have more sensitive skin.

Memory Foam Sleep Masks

Memory foam isn’t just for pillows and mattresses, it can be used as a primary material in sleep masks as well. The benefits of memory foam sleep masks are extensive. Easy to take care of, memory foam sleep masks respond to pressure easily, helping to keep them evenly distributed across your face while you’re snoozing. They’re also one of the most durable types of sleep masks and are often constructed with polyurethane to prevent them from picking up dirt and bacteria.

While low maintenance, memory foam sleep masks can be a health risk if used too regularly for extended periods of time. Chemical fire retardant is commonly used in memory foam sleep masks, potentially causing health problems. Furthermore, because of the polyurethane that can be found in the material, memory foam can actually be combustible.

Final Thoughts

Like many sleep materials, the choice is personal when it comes to picking out the perfect sleep mask. Taking into account your bedtime routine, sleeping habits, and lifestyle can all be helpful in making the right decision.

Resources— Sleepopolis, Relaxation Masks, Citrus Sleep