The best eye mask for travel: the secret for quality rest on the road
Our body naturally responds to light stimulus, and our eyelids are thinner than the rest of our skin, letting light through easily.
Covering our eyes while sleeping is, thus, the best way to tell our brain it’s time to sleep.
How many times you have been on night trains or flights that keep lights on? And how do you feel when you try to beat the jet lag by sleeping during the day?
You can try to sleep in those scenarios, of course, but you won’t be near the high quality rest an eye mask can give you.
The market is full of options: from fragrances that help you relax, to light therapy, but once again we are here to make your life easier when choosing the best option for you.
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What type of features will you find in travel eye masks
This is the main reason for buying a sleep mask. After the invention of the lightbulb, research has shown that we are much more exposed to artificial light at night than ever before.
This has an impact on our body’s perception and circadian rhythm, our internal clock, making it harder for us to fall asleep.
That’s why we use sleeping masks even when we are not traveling.
Masks that use memory foam eyepieces are “weightless” and won’t put any pressure on the eyelids or on your face. They feel very soft and some claim this technology optimises REM sleep.
These masks are very similar to memory foam pillows on their capacity to adjust to any kind of face.
The opposite of the previous option, masks with weight are thought to provide a calming effect, which can reduce anxiety and help with insomnia.
Travel versions use microbeads as a form of deep-pressure touch therapy to help you sleep better and to alleviate stress.
Just like our first pick that uses light to calm you down, the best model of Sound Oasis uses a red and blue gradient, although there are variations on the use of light for different models and brands.
In the case of our favourite mask, the technology behind it is to provide a focal point that causes the frequency of the brain’s electrical activity to slow down, an effect also observed with meditation and self-hypnosis.
Cold / Heat Therapy
If you suffer from migraines or chronic pain, then this type of feature is for you. It can soothe irritated eyes and it uses a temperature differential to alleviate bad migraines.
We don’t recommended the cheaper gel models because they are not travel friendly: you have to boil them or keep them in the freezer before use. But if you still want to consider them, check out this well-reviewed model.
Massage / Pain relief
Yes, you can have eye masks that massage using a small vibrating device inserted into the mask.
These models are great for headaches, as the vibrations relieve pain and produce a calming effect, helping you reach deep sleep faster.
Some materials are better than others when in contact with our skin, so some brands offer hypoallergenic options, like soft satin or organic cotton with infused charcoal.
If you have a sensitive skin consider all the options before deciding.
What Happens To Us During Deep Sleep?
Deep sleep is a state of complete disengagement from the environment that occurs during REM sleep.
Physical Benefits Of Deep Sleep
- Your blood pressure drops leading to a more relaxed state.
- Your muscles receive increased blood supply, thus improving oxygenation levels in the body.
- Your body’s energy is recharged.
- Your body starts to repair its tissues. At the cellular level, new tissue grows.
- The pituitary gland releases Human Growth hormone (HGH), which promotes cell repair, bone and muscle growth.
- ……the metabolism of sugars and fats and helps regulate body composition.
Psychological And Mental Benefits Of Deep Sleep
- Deep sleep consolidates new memories and it also reduces the need for more rest, as slow-wave sleep is the “refreshing” part of our sleeping cycle.
- Adequate deep sleep may lessen insomnia and anxiety symptoms.
- Enough deep sleep gives mental energy and boosts cerebral acuity during the day.
- A person’s long-term memory is created during this time.
What to look for when choosing your travel eye mask
It is very difficult to have one model that fits all kinds of faces, so consider the possibility that the mask you are buying without testing may not fit you properly.
This means it might not filter the light 100%, which is the most important thing. Or it may mean it will hurt or cause discomfort.
Another issue is the way you sleep. If you move a lot or if you sleep on your side or stomach, the mask needs to stay in place at all times.
Consider returning it right away if that’s not the case.
Masks with eye pockets tend to be better, the same with the contoured construction around the bridge of the nose and, of course, velcro for better adjustments.
Most of the masks are made of cotton, silk and satin, so be sure about which you prefer before committing.
The mask is going to be in contact with your skin for many hours so avoid materials that heat too much on contact (eg. synthetic materials, like polyester or nylon).
Try to look for models with gel added at least on the sides, and also make sure the mask is washable.
This may sound silly but you will be wearing it in public spaces (when traveling, for example).
There are some masks, like the Dream Sleeper that we recommend, that look like a helmet. For me, it’s purpose over looks, so I couldn’t care less if it helps my health, but just bringing some awareness to the fact that they may attract undesired attention.
Colors can be relevant due to light reflection abilities, so avoid the light-colored models.
There are models for all kinds of prices. You can go for the budget model we recommend and it will do the most important requirement: blocks light.
But, if you look for other cheap models, have in mind what happens when you pay peanuts, there are very bad quality products out there.
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The 5 best travel eye masks
We have the best mask for every need.
Sleep is essential for good health.
Deep sleep is essential for good sleep.
No light is essential for deep sleep.
Eye masks are essential for no light when travelling.
Then, eye masks are critical for good travel health, so choose the best model for you.