The Best Eye Masks for Travelers

The Manta Sleep Mask Pro is our top travel pick.

We independently research, test, review, and recommend the best products—learn more about our process. If you buy something through our links, we may earn a commission.

Best Eye Masks for Travelers

Amazon / Manta / Blissy

Whether you have a long flight or you’re trying to nap in a hotel room once you reach your destination, it can be challenging to sleep under fluorescent airplane lights or with natural light beaming through sheer curtains. However, when it comes to getting quality shut-eye at any hour of the day in any place, there are two major factors to consider.

“There are two things that really play into controlling sleep: temperature and light,” explains Devin Burke, sleep expert and founder of Sleep Science Academy. “So obviously, light is the one that factors in when we’re talking about a sleep mask.” Sleep masks provide travelers with a much-needed respite in varied brightness conditions and help them avoid jet lag and grogginess, too.

“There’s the production of melatonin that gets released as a result of the sun setting, so using an eye mask or manipulating your light environment can have an impact on sleep,” Burke says. “You want to look for a blackout eye mask. Sometimes there are masks that can kind of create pressure around the eyes, so you want to look for a mask that has zero pressure around the eyes and something that is soft.”

After getting Devin Burke’s advice to look for a light-blocking sleep mask with zero eye pressure, that’s also washable, breathable, and soft, here’s our breakdown of top picks:

Best Overall: Manta Sleep Mask Pro

Manta Sleep Mask Pro

Manta

Why We Love It: It’s a comfortable, machine-washable, total blackout mask that comes highly recommended.

What to Consider: It’s a bit pricier than other options.

The Manta Sleep Mask Pro earns high praise from Devin Burke. “The one that I love and recommend is called a Manta Mask. They’re pretty popular. They’re a little bit more on the premium side when it comes to sleep masks, obviously price varies,” he says.

This option blocks out all light, and features molded eyecups so there’s no pressure on your eyes when you’re trying to get some sleep on the go. It’s also extremely secure, so it works for side sleepers as well. “They’re great, I have two, they’re in both of my travel bags. They just stay there. They’re comfortable. I’ve had a number of different ones over the years and these are high-quality and they last. And they're total blackout which is what you want,” he adds.

Material: Perforated foam, mesh, and tactel | Strap type: Adjustable

Best Budget: Blissy Sleep Mask

Blissy Sleep Mask

Nordstrom

Why We Love It: This silk mask is soft, comfortable, and gentle on your skin.

What to Consider: It’s stretchy, scrunchie-like band can slide or loosen up a bit over time.

The Blissy Sleep Mask is a solid option when searching for eye masks that won’t break the bank. After all, Devin Burke recommends soft materials when it comes to picking a good one, so silk is perfect. This mask comes in a variety of colors — 34 to be exact — so you can match it to travel blankets or other accessories you have. It also comes with a nice, drawstring carrying case to keep it protected.

Material: Silk | Strap type: Elastic

Best Splurge: Dr. Harris Anti-Wrinkle Sleep Mask

4
Dr. Harris Anti-Wrinkle Sleep Mask

Dr. Harris

Why We Love It: This machine-washable mask has a unique anti-aging design to help reduce wrinkles.

What to Consider: It’s expensive for a sleep mask.

For a real splurge that has paved the way for anti-aging sleep products, try the Dr. Harris Anti-Wrinkle Sleep Mask.  Created by Dr. Steve Harris MB BCh MSc MBCAM, one of London's leading aesthetic practitioners, and tested in clinical trials, this sleep mask is the first of its kind. According to the website, “Dr. Harris had his eureka moment on a long-haul flight from London to Toronto. He was feeling particularly stressed during the journey, and after being handed a sleep mask, he was trying to stop himself from frowning while wearing it. He realised that if only the mask could stop him from frowning and could help him to relax, he would be able to sleep better and stop wrinkles from forming at the same time.” This silk mask was then created with built-in silicone dots that stimulate tiny nerve endings in the face to help the body relax and prevent wrinkles from forming through muscle tension.

Material: Silk with small silicone dots | Strap type: Elastic

Best for Side Sleepers: LitBear 3D Sleep Mask

LitBear 3D Sleep Mask

LitBear

Why We Love It: It has built-in cups, stays secure on the eyes, and can be adjusted.

What to Consider: It must be hand washed (with water that can’t exceed 104 degrees) and air dried.

With a range of colors like olive green and coral, you can choose the hue you like best. In addition to the shade selection, the LitBear Eye Mask is a great inexpensive option for side sleepers. It has adaptive nose molding and a design that allows room for the tilted head angle when resting sideways. This mask doesn’t put extra pressure on your temples or eyes, so you’re free to blink and rest comfortably. It’s also made with a cooling silky fabric that is light and soft on the skin.

Material: Silk and memory foam | Strap type: Adjustable buckle

Best for Anxious Sleepers: Lunya Washable Silk Weighted Sleep Mask

Lunya Washable Silk Weighted Sleep Mask

Lunya

Why We Love It: The mask can provide a cooling sensation after being put in the freezer and it’s ever-so-slightly weighted to relax nervous travelers.

What to Consider: t’s hand wash or machine-wash cold only.

Overall, Devin Burke recommends avoiding anything that applies pressure. However, if you are an anxious traveler, or someone who has trouble sleeping on the go, suffers from headaches, or battles insomnia in general, a slightly weighted eye mask may help relax you. The Lunya Silk Weighted Sleep Mask is filled with sustainable glass beads to tackle stress (like a weighted blanket) plus this filling can chill nicely in the freezer, making it a great product to reduce puffiness in the skin (like an ice pack would), too.

Material: Silk exterior, rayon and elastane lining, polyester padding, and recycled glass bead filling | Strap type: Elastic

Best for Music Lovers: Dreamlight Muse

Dreamlight Muse

Dreamlight

Why We Love It: This mask has Bluetooth audio capability built in and is machine washable (after the power bank is removed).

What to Consider: It’s really large in size when compared to other masks.

If you want to fall asleep to an audiobook or music, but you’re worried about having your headphones pop out (or it’s uncomfortable trying to work your sleep mask around your AirPods), the Dreamlight Muse Sleep Mask has cordless bluetooth audio built in. This means you can also listen to your favorite show or even do a meditation while trying to doze off if you’re an anxious traveler. The mask doesn’t apply pressure and blocks light really well, plus the lining can be machine washed after the Bluetooth player is removed.

Material: Polyester exterior with a polyester, nylon, and spandex interior | Strap type: Adjustable velcro

Best Comfort: Nidra Deep Rest Eye Mask

Nidra Deep Rest Eye Mask

Why We Love It: This light-blocking mask is comfortable on the nose with two deep cups to prevent pressure on the eyes.

What to Consider: This mask is hand-wash only.

The Nidra Deep Rest Eye Mask is a popular pick because of its design and price. If you don’t want to spend $80 or more on a new mask, but you’re looking for something high-quality, this option has deep, swooping cups so you’re able to blink freely and relax. It features a design that can work with a variety of face shapes and sleep styles, and has adjustable straps, too. This mask covers your eyes to completely block those aggressive fluorescent lights on the plane  so you can wake up feeling refreshed at your destination.

Material: Foam and polyester | Strap type: Adjustable hook and loop

Tips for Buying a Sleep Mask

Pay attention to the details

When you’re searching for a sleep mask, there are a few things to always keep in mind. Choosing a total blackout mask is probably the most important detail, especially if you’re very sensitive to light. If you find one that suits you, making sure the material is breathable is another important factor for long-time wear. Lastly, soft materials like silk and cotton are good picks when it comes to a comfortable mask.

Consider the washing instructions

It’s definitely not the end-all, be-all, but a sleep mask that’s machine washable is much easier to care for than one that needs to be hand washed.

Frequently Asked Questions
  • Do I really need a sleep mask?

    If you travel often, it’s a valuable accessory. “I think it’s a travel necessity, honestly,” says Burke. “I think it should be in everyone’s bag that cares about sleep. It’s a great resource if you’re in a hotel or you’re in a plane and you’re trying to sleep; it’s a fantastic tool to help you do that.”

  • Are sleep masks safe for my eyes?

    There aren’t many safety issues to consider here. “It’s not invasive to wear an eye mask,” Burke says. Look for one that’s “breathable and soft,” and made from materials that are gentle on the skin.

  • How should a sleep mask fit?

    You’ll want to avoid tightening the mask too much but, at the same time, a snug fit will keep the mask on properly throughout the night. Adjustable straps are helpful to keep the mask securely attached to your head, and offer protection against straps that otherwise might stretch out over time.

  • Should I buy a mask based on how I sleep?

    Yes. When buying a sleep mask, it’s extremely important to think about how you normally sleep. For example, if you’re a side sleeper, you don’t want to get just any mask, you’ll want to get a one with a tilt design, made for this position.

Why Trust Travel + Leisure

Jess Kelly is a travel journalist and photographer living in New York. She’s written for more than 10 different local publications throughout New York, along with national publications like the Huffington Post, Condé Nast Traveler, Food & Wine, Cosmopolitan, Thrillist, Lonely Planet, and more. Follow her travel and adventures on Instagram @Adventures.Are.Waiting!

Love a great deal? Sign up for our T+L Recommends newsletter and we'll send you our favorite travel products each week.

Was this page helpful?
Related Articles