There’s a common saying that nothing is certain in life but death and taxes, but there’s another universal truth we can think of: We all need sleep. For many of us, however, a good night’s rest needs a bit of an assist. While some people find success with melatonin gummies or CBD, others might want to consider a sleep aid that isn’t ingestible: That’s where a weighted eye mask steps in. What are they made of? Some of the most common are “microbeads, natural flaxseeds, lavender, or sand,” says Tiffany Paul, founder and CEO of SLEPT.
What are the benefits?
“Think of these types of masks as a weighted blanket — but for your eyes. The gentle compression on your eyes brings comfort and helps you doze off to sleep,” says Jana Lacey, CEO and chief sleep officer of After Sunset. Weighted eye masks can be made out of a variety of fillings. Below, she breaks down the advantages:
- They block out light: Eye masks, of course, aid in blocking out light. Even if you have black-out curtains or shades in your bedroom, light from your devices or clocks can still hinder sleep. “With less light, our bodies are able to effectively produce melatonin, the hormone responsible for regulating our sleep cycle,” she says.
- They help you fall asleep — and stay asleep: “According to studies, the use of eye masks promoted sleep and hormone balance and resulted in more REM time, shorter REM latency, and elevated melatonin levels, which helps get you into a deeper sleep.”
- They create a calming effect: Weighted eye masks use “Deep Pressure Stimulation (DPS) or Deep Pressure Touch (DPT), which is firm but gentle squeezing that relaxes the nervous system. Think of it as a similar sensation to receiving a tight hug from a loved one! When done properly with the right sleep mask, this feeling can trigger the body to create an overall sense of calm and peace.”
- They may help with migraines: “Right now, studies are still developing on how DTP could help with migraines, so all positive praise is purely anecdotal at this time. However, it is true that many who experience migraines are light-sensitive and even triggered by migraines by blue light from electronic screens and the weighted mask helps block this out. If you do suffer from migraines or chronic pain, I’d recommend consulting your doctor before trying a weighted eye mask to see if it’s a good fit for you.”
What’s the best weight?
“You can find eye masks weighing as little as four ounces and as heavy as one pound. It can take time to get used to sleeping with weighted pressure,” says Paul. “For some, the weight can be too much on the eyes, especially for side sleepers and those with allodynia, which is a symptom of migraines that causes painful and hypersensitive reactions to non-painful stimuli. This can create the opposite of a calming effect,” adds Lacey. If you’re new to trying out weighted eye masks, start with a lower weight and work your way up.
View this post on Instagram
What type of fabric is best for the cover?
“You will see fabrics ranging from fleece to satin to silk. I suggest opting for cooling fabrics like satin and silk because keeping your core body temperature cool will optimize your sleep. Between the two, satin is the most cooling. That’s because silk fibers are hollow, which allows heat to be stored and therefore the fabric will naturally adjust to your body temperature as you sleep. Because satin is not hollow and non-absorbent like silk, it’s superior in keeping you cool,” says Paul.
Our Editor Picks
The extra-wide, quilted straps evenly distribute the 12 ounces of weight (the inside filling is made from polyethylene beads) across your eyes and sides of your head — making it great for back or side sleepers since it’s strap-free. Plus, it comes with a matching pouch to easily take with you when you’re traveling. Stick it in the fridge for extra cooling effects.
Not only does the soft, satin cover feel luxurious on your skin, but this four-ounce eye mask is also made with real dried lavender seed filling. “Lavender is an ideal scent for sleep: In a clinical trial, researchers found lavender reduced anxiety by 59%, and improved sleep quality by 45%,” says Olivia Arezzolo, a sleep expert based in Australia.
The inner filling, which weighs between .75 and one pound, is made from 50% glass beads and 50% sea salt so it can be heated or even frozen depending on your preferences. The outer material is made of soft, comfortable charmeuse (though it has a silk-like feel, it should only be spot cleaned).
We only recommend products we have independently researched, tested, and loved. If you purchase a product found through our links, Sunday Edit may earn an affiliate commission.