As we surge into the new year, getting more sleep is at the top of our list of “Ins” for 2024. Being well-rested is vital to improving your mood, productivity, stress levels, and overall health, and even small things like switching up your sleepwear and bedding can make the difference between tossing and turning for hours and sinking into deep REM sleep. To help you drift off to dreamland faster (and stay there), throw on your cosiest silk pajamas, fluff up a supportive pillow, and try slipping on one of the best weighted eye masks.
Although there is currently no scientific evidence to back up the efficacy of weighted eye masks, “they do work to block out ambient light, which can help improve sleep quality,” says Dr. Angela Holliday-Bell, a board-certified physician and certified sleep specialist. Unlike traditional eye masks, however, these are often filled with microbeads, sand, or flaxseeds to “help ease stress and anxiety via the deep touch pressure stimulation therapeutic principle,” she explains. “This occurs when pressure is applied to the body in a way that makes it more aware of its position in space, triggering the parasympathetic nervous system and leading to relaxation, which is more conducive to sleep.
On top of providing light-blocking and calming benefits, some designs are also chillable—meaning they can de-puff and soothe the skin just like your favorite under-eye patches.
Below, I spoke with sleep experts and researched to find the five best weighted eye masks available, evaluating each on factors like materials, design, and weight offered. Scroll on to find your ideal sleep partner.
1. Sleep Number True Temp Weighted Eye Mask - Best For Hot Sleepers
Best known for its award-winning mattresses, Sleep Number promises to help you catch deeper Z’s with its range of high-performance sleep products and accessories. This weighted eye mask from the brand is filled with glass beads designed to conform to the shape of your face for enhanced comfort, and it’s elongated in the front to better block out light. Plus, the thick elastic band provides a more secure fit. Not only is the removable cover machine washable, but it’s also made with breathable cotton, polyester, and special temperature-regulating particles that draw heat and humidity away from the skin. If you run hot and struggle with night sweats, this is a great option, but it can also be a go-to for anyone with sleep issues.
Materials: Cover: 80% cotton, 20% 37.5 polyester, insert: 100% polyester, glass | Weight: 1 lb. | Colors: Dark blue
Sleep Number rating: 4.7/5 stars
A Sleep Number reviewer says: “I bought this a month ago and I’m so happy I did! It has improved my sleep quality and doesn’t retain a lot of my body heat.”
2. Nodpod Gentle Pressure Sleep Mask - Best For Side Sleepers
This plush mask is specifically designed with side sleepers in mind, but it can also work for nearly any sleeping position. Instead of using velcro or elastics that can feel bulky and distracting, it includes four weighted pods designed to be draped across the eyes and equally distribute pressure. And on either end are two flat panels, which you can lay on while side sleeping or tuck into one another to keep the mask secure while snoozing upright (say, during travel). The scalloped-shaped pods are built to contour to your face shape for better coverage, and since this mask weighs just over half a pound, it’s a great lighter weight style for beginners. One side offers cooling cotton, while the other is made with soft microfiber. The BPA-free microbeads within are also machine washable and freezer-friendly, so you can use this mask to calm inflammation and puffiness.
Materials: 100% Cotton and 100% recycled polyester microfleece, microbeads | Weight: .56 lbs. | Colors: Aloha Orange, Black Onyx
Amazon rating: 4.5/5 stars
An ELLE editor says: “My apartment gets a ton of natural light. While this is great for Vitamin D and my mental health, it is not so great for those last few hours of sleep in the early morning. On the days I do not want to wake up with the sun, I wear this eye mask. The weight, I believe, helps me fall asleep quicker. It is like a hug for my eyes. The sleep mask is made to just lay across your eyes andis perfect for me as a side sleeper. There is also a hole if you want to tie and secure it more (for any of my wild sleepers out there). ” — Danielle James, digital beauty director
3. Asutra Silk Eye Pillow - Best With Aromatherapy
“Asutra’s silk eye pillow is my personal favorite eye mask,” says Dr. Holliday-Bell. “I love the weight of it and the lavender aromatherapy, which adds to the relaxation experience. I also like that the strap is adjustable, allowing me to get a comfortable fit.” Although it doesn’t include removable inserts, it is filled with lavender and flax seeds to provide some gentle weight. And, you get extra pouches of both if you want to make your mask heavier or more fragrant. On top of offering soothing scents, this mask can be warmed with a heated, moist towel for even more relaxation benefits. And thanks to its interior gel lining, it also doubles as a cooling eye mask to help you de-puff in the morning; simply pop it in the fridge or freezer for 10 minutes to activate this form of cold therapy. Made of 100 percent silk, it’s crafted to be super soft, hypoallergenic, moisture-wicking.
Materials: 100% silk | Colors: Champagne, Navy, Pink, Purple
Amazon rating: 4.4/5 stars
An Amazon reviewer says: “I regularly use sleep masks to help achieve a deeper sleep. I love this mask because I can customize how much filling/weight it has. I usually take out about half of the filling and it’s the perfect amount for me. I adore the light lavender scent and the silk texture. I recently misplaced my mask while on a trip away and bought a replacement mask at the airport. I didn’t last two weeks with that mask and had to come back here to get another one of these. A lovely product that offers restorative sleep.”
4. Brownmed Imak Eye Pillow - Best Budget
Crafted by an orthopedic surgeon to help soothe migraines and eye strain, Brownmed’s $15 mask features a patented countered design to alleviate direct pressure on the eyes and prevent irritation (not to mention avoid crushing your precious lashes). Inside are signature “ergoBeads” that provide light compression and work to gently massage, while a breathable cotton exterior helps prevent you from overheating. You can pop this on when you feel a headache emerging, after a long day of computer work, or to soothe tired, puffy under-eyes, since it’s also chillable. Among over 20,000 reviews, shoppers say it works well to block out most light, is “very soft,” and can stay cool for up to 20 minutes.
Materials: Cotton, "ergoBeads" | Colors: Black
Amazon rating: 4.5/5 stars
An Amazon reviewer says: “This mask is so comfortable. The beaded weight is perfect and conforms to my eye area perfectly. The material is very soft and soothing. I love that the beads in the mask get cold, but not so cold that it’s uncomfortable. It is such a soothing mask! I wear it till it starts warming up (about 10 minutes) and then flip it around and get another 10 minutes of cool relief from the other side. After using the mask once, I ordered a second one. While I bought the mask to help with my swollen and painful eyes, it is also wonderful for my migraines. And I also use it on my forehead to help cool me down when I’m overheated.”
5. Gravity Weighted Sleep Mask - Best Adjustable
Gravity is the one of the most popular purveyors of weighted blankets, so you can rest assured (wink wink) that their weighted eye mask is one of the best in the business. It includes a single weighted insert filled with the same “fine-grade” glass beads found in the brand’s iconic Gravity Blanket—which, in this mask, work to evenly distribute between .75 pounds to one pound of pressure. The style is finished with micro-fleece and imitation cashmere for an ultra-cozy touch, and its adjustable velcro strap can be modified from 23 to 28 inches to fit a range of head sizes.
Although the cover is removable, keep in mind that the brand recommends hand-washing it and letting it air dry.
Materials: Micro-plush fiber, imitation cashmere, glass beads | Weight: .75 to 1 lb | Colors: Gray
Amazon rating: 4.1/5 stars
An Amazon reviewer says: “This mask is amazing. I wear a CPAP O2 mask to sleep and this molds around the mask and blocks all light. I can’t imagine ever sleeping without it.”
Are weighted eye masks safe?
“Yes, generally speaking they are safe, as long as the weight is no more than about 0.5 pounds to one pound,” says Dr. Holliday-Bell. “You don’t really want to wear one that is heavier than one pound, as it can apply too much pressure to the eyes. If you have any specific eye conditions, you should probably speak with your medical provider before using one.”
What to look for in the best weighted eye masks
“Look for a mask that is within the correct weight range, generally 0.5 pounds to one pound, and made of a soft, breathable fabric like silk or cotton,” advises Dr. Holliday-Bell. Some people may be more sensitive to weight, so see what you can comfortably tolerate. “It can also be helpful to have a mask that includes aromatherapy to add to the element of relaxation. Additionally, I choose a mask that has a removable insert so that the outer covering can be washed.”
Keep in mind that many weighted masks are designed for and best used by back sleepers. If you’re someone who moves around a lot at night, weighted eye masks may be less effective for you.
Can weighted eye masks help with headaches?
“Weighted masks may help with migraines,” says Dr. Holliday-Bell. “It is thought that the even pressure applied to the face that triggers the autonomic nervous system helps to alleviate migraine pain. In addition, for some, light triggers or worsens migraine headaches, so a mask that blocks light can help improve the pain.”
What's the best way to wash a weighted eye mask?
Some masks have removable covers which may be machine washable on the gentle cycle. However, some removable covers are hand-wash only. Masks without removable covers will typically need to be hand-washed with gentle soap and water. Make sure to always read the manufacturer’s instructions before cleaning.
What are some proven ways I can help improve my sleep?
“Many simple methods—collectively termed ‘sleep hygiene’—are likely most effective,” says Dr. Stuart Peirson, a professor of circadian neuroscience at University of Oxford. “This includes changing lifestyle factors, such as diet, exercise, caffeine, and alcohol intake, along with adjusting environmental factors, including light, noise, and temperature that are known to affect sleep, as well as methods such as relaxation and a regular sleep schedule.”
Meet the Experts
Dr. Angela Holliday-Bell is a board-certified physician, certified sleep specialist, Helight sleep expert, speaker, author, and founder of the Solution is Sleep LLC.
Dr. Stuart Peirson is a professor of circadian neuroscience at University of Oxford and holds a PhD in Neuroscience from the Institute of Ophthalmology UCL.
Why Trust ELLE Beauty
Sam Peters is a seasoned commerce writer and editor with over seven years of experience covering fashion, beauty, and lifestyle topics. For this roundup, she scoured top-rated options online, assessing each on their weight, materials and features offered and level of customer satisfaction. She also interviewed two sleep experts, including a professor of neuroscience, about how effective these products are and what to look for when shopping.
This article was first seen on ELLE.com