Benefits of Sleep Masks & How to Wear a Sleep Mask

Medically reviewed by
 Dr. Jordan Burns DC, MS

Dr. Jordan Burns DC, MS

Meet Dr. Burns, a devoted chiropractor with an extensive seven-year professional career dedicated to optimizing patient health. With an academic background in Kinesiology, Life Sciences, and Sports Science and Rehabilitation,…

By Geoff McKinnen Certified Sleep Coach

Last Updated On May 14th, 2024
Benefits of Sleep Masks & How to Wear a Sleep Mask

Key Takeaways

  • Benefits of Sleep Masks: Sleep masks promote deeper and more restful sleep by blocking out light, creating a calming environment conducive. They contribute to better skin health by preventing direct light contact and reducing wrinkles and fine lines around the eyes. Sleep masks are available in various materials and can be customized for optimal fit, enhancing overall sleep quality.
  • Understanding the Importance of Quality Sleep: Quality sleep is essential for overall well-being, with its absence leading to issues like insomnia, poor sleep quality, fatigue, and reduced daytime performance. Many certified sleep science coaches recommend sleep masks to improve sleep by blocking light and creating a favorable environment for rest.
  • Tips for Wearing a Sleep Mask: Adjust the mask based on your sleeping position to ensure comfort and avoid pressure on the ears or nose. Opt for masks made with soft, hypoallergenic materials to prevent skin irritation, and choose a contoured design for a snug fit around the eyes. Strike a balance between complete darkness and natural light exposure for waking up naturally, incorporating gradual brightness if needed.

If you’re struggling with falling asleep or getting a good night’s rest, a sleep mask may be just what you need. Sleep masks can offer numerous benefits that promote a deeper and more restful sleep, ultimately improving your overall well-being. In this article, we’ll explore the benefits of sleep masks and guide how to properly wear them for optimal results.

Whether you’re dealing with insomnia or anxiety, or simply want to improve your sleep quality, a sleep mask can help. Blocking out light can create a calming environment, easing your brain into rest mode and promoting the production of melatonin. With the use of a sleep mask, you can achieve complete darkness and shut out any distractions in the room.

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Overall, sleep masks can be a valuable addition to your sleep routine. They are available in a variety of materials, from silk to synthetic fibers, and can be customized to fit your head shape. By following a few simple tips for wearing a sleep mask, you can enjoy the benefits of a good night’s rest.

“Sleep masks can significantly enhance sleep quality by promoting the production of melatonin, the hormone responsible for regulating sleep-wake cycles,” says Dr. Jordan Burns.

“Research has shown that blocking out ambient light enhances melatonin levels, which can be particularly beneficial in environments that are not conducive to sleep due to light pollution. This simple tool aids in faster sleep onset and deeper sleep states, crucial for cognitive repair and memory consolidation.”

Understanding the Importance of Quality Sleep

Quality sleep plays a pivotal role in overall well-being. Lack of proper rest can lead to numerous issues, such as excessive daytime sleepiness, reduced performance, impacted appetite, and lower mood during the day.

Among other natural sleep aids a person may try, such as teas for sleep, there are sleep masks. These masks go over the eyes to block out ambient light in your room, making your environment more conducive for sleep and preventing sleep interruptions.

Sleep masks, when paired with earplugs, can reduce anxiety and increase subjective sleep quality and REM sleep cycles, allowing you to wake up feeling energized and ready to tackle the day.

Good for Eyes and Skin

Sleep masks, particularly those made of soft and smooth materials like silk, create a barrier between your delicate facial skin and the friction caused by pillowcases. This reduced friction can prevent the development of sleep lines and wrinkles that may occur over time due to repeated contact with bedding.

Additionally, the improved sleep quality a sleep mask provides is associated with overall skin health, as the body undergoes necessary repair and regeneration during sleep. While using a sleep mask is not a guaranteed method to prevent wrinkles, when paired with a nighttime skin routine and sun protection, it can help you preserve your skin’s natural glow and smoothness.

Eye masks can also be helpful if you sleep with a fan on or in a dry environment. Sleep masks can protect the eyes from dryness by creating a barrier against drafts and reducing the risk of irritation.

Can Make Travel More Comfortable

Beyond these practical aspects, sleep masks contribute to overall comfort and relaxation during travel. The familiar sensation of darkness promotes a sense of security, crucial in less familiar sleeping environments. Daytime napping becomes more accessible with a sleep mask, offering a quick recharge during long journeys.

Traveling, whether on an airplane, in a car, or camping, often disrupts our regular sleep patterns. Sleep masks emerge as invaluable companions in such scenarios, offering a range of benefits to enhance your rest while on the move.

They contribute to better sleep quality by creating a dark, conducive environment, especially crucial in unfamiliar surroundings where light variations can be significant.

By regulating circadian rhythms through light blockage, sleep masks help your body adjust to new time zones, potentially minimizing the disruptive effects of jet lag.

Moreover, disturbances from external light sources, prevalent on planes, when sleeping in cars, or even at campsites, are effectively reduced, allowing for more restful sleep.

Additionally, the mask provides privacy and personal space in crowded settings, such as when you’re sleeping on an airplane, ensuring a more peaceful rest despite shared spaces.

Enhancing Your Sleep with Sleep Masks

Sleep masks can promote a night of deeper sleep by blocking out light and distractions, allowing you to fall asleep faster. They can also help enhance your sleep cycle, leading to more restful and rejuvenating sleep.

Using a sleep mask can also help reduce the appearance of wrinkles and fine lines around your eyes. By blocking light and airflow from directly contacting your skin, you can prevent yourself from waking up with dry eyes and promote better skin health.

Whether you’re trying to achieve the perfect beauty sleep or just looking for a good night’s rest, sleep masks can be an effective tool, kept in your arsenal of nightstand essentials.

Regardless of the type of sleep mask you use, it’s important to wear it correctly and comfortably. Make sure it’s adjusted to fit your face properly and choose a mask made with materials suited to your skin type.

“A common misconception about sleep masks is that they can be uncomfortable or disrupt sleep if not used to wearing one,” says Dr. Burns. “However, with the proper fit and material, most people quickly adjust to the sensation of wearing a mask.”

“It’s about balancing the benefits of increased melatonin production and reduced sleep disruptions against the minor inconvenience of wearing something on your face. For many, the benefits outweigh the cons significantly.”

Cooling Eye Masks

Cooling eye masks can offer a soothing effect to the eye area, reducing puffiness and helping you relax. They can also be helpful for those who tend to get hot while sleeping, as they provide a refreshing sensation.

Weighted Eye Masks

Weighted sleeping masks can provide additional benefits, such as improved relaxation and support for a restful night’s sleep. The added pressure of the eye mask on the eye area can help ease tension and promote feelings of calmness. They’re also beneficial for those who struggle with anxiety or have trouble falling asleep.

Tips for Wearing a Sleep Mask

To get the most out of using a sleep mask, it is crucial to properly wear it. It’s also important to set up your bedroom for better sleep and not solely rely on an eye mask.

“If you use a sleep mask, make it part of your nightly routine, as consistency is key in sleep hygiene,” says Dr. Burns.

By following these tips, you can maximize the benefits of using a sleep mask, and enjoy a more restful and rejuvenating night’s rest.

Consider Blocking Blue Light

Blue light can interfere with your sleep cycle, so it’s best to take steps to minimize exposure to it in the evening. This will help to regulate your circadian rhythms and promote natural sleep patterns.

Adjust the Mask for Your Sleeping Position

If you’re a side sleeper, it’s important to adjust your sleep mask accordingly to avoid any pressure on your ears or nose. This will also ensure that the mask stays in place throughout the night, giving you a better night’s sleep.

Choose Masks Made with Delicate Skin in Mind

If you have delicate skin, it’s best to choose a sleep mask made with soft and gentle materials. This will prevent any irritation, redness, or wrinkles around the eye area, leaving you feeling refreshed and rejuvenated each morning.

“When selecting a sleep mask, it’s important to choose one made from a breathable material such as silk or cotton to prevent skin irritation and discomfort,” says Dr. Burns. “The mask should fit snugly around the head without being too tight to avoid putting pressure on the eyes and temples, which can disrupt sleep or cause discomfort.”

Create a Dark and Quiet Sleep Environment

To ensure complete darkness in the bedroom, use blackout curtains or a protective layer over your eyes that doesn’t touch your skin. A dark room for sleep can help you relax without distracting stimuli.

A quiet sleep environment is also important, so invest in earplugs or use background noise strategically if needed. There are other ways to block sound out of your bedroom, such as sound-dampening wall panels, but many will want to start with earplugs and add more measures as needed.

Strike a Balance Between Complete Darkness and Enough Light to Wake Up Naturally

While complete darkness is essential for quality sleep, a small amount of natural light can aid in waking up naturally. Try leaving a small amount of light from an alarm clock or using smart bulbs that gradually increase in brightness to mimic the sunrise. The best thing to do, however, is to take advantage of the benefits of morning sunlight.

Use Weighted Blankets and Eye Hydration for Added Benefits

Weighted blankets can provide a cozy and secure feeling while promoting a night of deeper, more restful sleep. Eye hydration, such as eye drops or a warm compress, can also help to prevent dry eyes and promote relaxation.


Do sleep masks help with dry eyes?

Yes, sleep masks can be beneficial for dry eyes. Many sleep masks have materials that help retain moisture around the eyes, preventing them from drying out during sleep. Opting for a sleep mask with a contoured shape can also aid in blocking out light and reducing the chances of air circulation that may contribute to dryness.

However, choosing a mask made from hypoallergenic materials is crucial, and regularly cleaning it is necessary to avoid exacerbating any existing eye issues.

What to look for when buying a sleep mask?

Consider factors such as material, fit, and light-blocking capabilities when purchasing a sleep mask. Look for masks made from breathable and hypoallergenic fabrics like silk or satin to ensure comfort and prevent skin irritation.

A contoured design that fits snugly around the nose and eyes helps block out light effectively, while an adjustable strap ensures a secure and comfortable fit. Additionally, choose a mask with a lining that promotes air circulation to reduce the risk of heat buildup during sleep.

What can I use instead of a sleeping mask?

If you prefer not to use a sleep mask, alternatives include blackout curtains, which effectively block external light. Or you can try an eye pillow filled with soothing materials like lavender or chamomile.

Create a sleep-conducive environment by minimizing electronic device use before bedtime. Keep the bedroom dark to promote restful sleep without needing a mask. Experiment with different options to find the solution that best suits your preferences and enhances your sleep quality.

Are sleep masks good for you?

Sleep masks can be beneficial for specific individuals. They help create a dark sleeping environment, which can improve sleep quality by promoting the production of melatonin, the sleep hormone.

Additionally, for people who work irregular hours or travel frequently, sleep masks can assist in adjusting to different time zones and sleeping in environments with varying light conditions. However, choosing a mask that fits comfortably and doesn’t cause pressure on the eyes or disturb sleep is essential.

Is it OK to wear a sleep mask every night?

While wearing a sleep mask every night is generally safe, one must consider individual comfort and potential skin sensitivities. Choose a mask made from breathable materials to prevent irritation and ensure proper hygiene by regularly cleaning it.

Additionally, be mindful of the strap’s tightness to avoid eye pressure. If you experience discomfort or notice any adverse effects, consider alternating mask usage or consulting with a healthcare professional to ensure it suits your needs and preferences.


Sleep masks can be a valuable tool for achieving a good night’s rest and improving overall well-being. By blocking out light and reducing noise, sleep masks can help you fall asleep faster and enjoy a deeper sleep.

Sleep masks made with synthetic fibers and direct contact with the skin can cause dry eyes and interfere with melatonin production, so it’s important to choose a mask made with breathable materials that won’t irritate the skin or eyes.

Remember to wear your sleep mask properly, ensuring that it covers the eye area fully and doesn’t let any light enter. Creating a dark and quiet sleep environment, using blackout curtains or a protective layer over your eyes can also contribute to a more restful night.

While sleep masks won’t erase wrinkles or anxiety, they can help you wake up feeling more refreshed and ready to start your day. Incorporating a sleep mask into your bedtime routine can be a simple yet effective way to improve your overall sleep quality and recharge your body and brain for another day.

So, if you have trouble falling asleep or find yourself waking up frequently during the night, consider giving a sleep mask a try. With proper use and care, it may be the key to a better night’s rest and a happier, healthier you.

About the author

Geoff McKinnen is a writer focusing mainly on the healthcare industry and has written articles on everything from foods to help you lose weight to the connection between Alzheimer’s and sleep. Geoff’s passionate about helping readers improve their well-being to lead happier lives. Outside of work, Geoff enjoys cycling and hiking and believes that by leading a healthy lifestyle, he can help others do the same.

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