Digital detox retreats, blue-light curfews, technology bans before bedtime… We’ve tried them all, but somehow we always end up reverting back to that pre-sleep scroll. Just a quick check in case we missed anything crucial, like what Sarah from accounts had for dinner. (You know—the important stuff.) But with the problem getting out of hand, it was time to turn to a new tactic, something that physically inhibits the ability to ogle over your phone—a sleep mask. Not to be mistaken with a sheet mask, we’re referring to the soft, velvety eye masks that make the perfect accompaniment to a pair of Olivia von Halle silk pyjamas. Or that well-seasoned travellers slip on the moment the airhostess slams shut the aeroplane door.
It’s a complete lightbulb moment, and it appears we’re not alone in our epiphany. Sleep masks are a godsend for people who wake when the sun rises or suffer from restless nights. “As well as being incredibly relaxing and soothing, they force us to completely unplug from our hectic lifestyles, and can be used to conquer stress, insomnia, anxiety, fatigue, headaches and tired, dry eyes,” explains Harriet Inglis, founder of Space Masks, a line of disposable eye masks that launched earlier this year.
As well as lulling you into dreamland, some of the next-gen sleep masks also have skincare benefits so you can wake up both feeling and looking bright eyed and bushy tailed. Others are scented with aromas that de-stress while you sleep, or are so cushiony soft they mould around your facial contours and don’t let an iota of light in at the sides. Scroll down to see our pick of the best sleep masks on the market. We promise you they won’t slip off in the night, or leave you with flat lashes and telltale marks around your temples from tight elastic. Sweet dreams really are made of these.
This one’s made from the same hypoallergenic silk as the brand’s famous pillowcase—unlike cotton, which draws away moisture, leaving the skin around your eyes dehydrated, or synthetic satin, which can trigger sweat and irritation—so you won’t get any untoward side effects from nights on the trot wearing this. The silk elastic doesn’t disrupt your hair either, so there are no kinks or static when you wake. Plus it comes in nine colourways so you can style it out with your pj’s.
Containing iron powder which starts to warm up the moment you open the pouch, these velvety one-use masks are a true game changer. The heat instantly eases tension and abates any twitchiness. Rather than an obtrusive elastic fastening, they come with ear loops, too, which gently hook on and stay put. They only stay warm for about 20 minutes, but it could be longer—we’ve drifted off before we’ve had time to check.
Copper is a well-known antioxidant used in beauty products to boost cell renewal and give fine lines the heave-ho, but we also know that eye creams are an underused product. It's much easier to slip on an eye mask that does the same thing. Transferring the copper ions to your skin as you snooze, the adjustable Velcro strap gets top marks, as it keeps it secure but doesn’t impact on that pre-bed blow-dry.
Like a hug for your face, this 100% cashmere eye mask is perfect for nuzzling under after a long day staring at a screen. Made in the UK using UK-raised goats (so less air miles than Mongolia), it slips on and off with ease, and if you do get any leftover mascara or makeup on the inside, you can hand-wash it to get rid of any lingering bacteria. It’s super chic, and it folds away neatly too, making it a good one for travel.
It isn’t cheap, but for a start, it has a Liberty print, so it's automatically pretty chic. Size wise, it’s the Jackie O. equivalent (read: huge), resting on your cheekbones so no light can creep in. The real clincher, though, is that the silk contains a natural protein similar to ones in our hair and skin called sericin, which helps skin retain its moisture so you wake up fresh-faced.
Do you know what else eye masks are good for? When you have buy a gift for someone who already has everything. Velvet on the outside and lined with cushiony soft pink padding to block out any light, this also has its own cute carrying case, making it perfect for on-the-go snoozers. The ruched elastic headband also keeps it secure if you’re planning to nod off on car journeys when head lolling can be a nasty side effect of traffic lights and sharp corners.
The brand that started out fashioning skinny silk ties and that A-listers like Liv Tyler, Sienna Miller and Kate Moss can’t get enough of has taken its trendy offcuts and produced a range of leopard-print eye masks. With a comfortable elastic fastening that’s just like a scrunchie, it won’t mess up hair, but true to the brand’s rock-star roots, it’ll leave you looking fashionably disheveled—proof you’ve had a decent night’s sleep!
Now discover what you need to snack on to help you sleep better.