Blackout Sleep Masks for Getting the Best Sleep when Traveling (2024 Reviews)

Last Updated on May 17, 2024 by Christine Kaaloa

manta sleep masks, Nidra Deep Rest Eye Mask, mzoo sleep masksI’ll be honest, those redeye, long haul flights, changing time zones and strange new environments can wreak havoc on your sleep schedule. It can leave you feeling groggy through your adventures.

Welp,  just bought my second blackout sleep mask and if you haven’t tried one, it is high time you did! It is a gamechanger in improving your quality of sleep at home or on the road.  This post is about the top blackout sleep masks for travel.

In this blog series, we’ll be diving deep into the world of sleep masks, comparing the top 6 contenders on the market. We’ll be putting them to the test for comfort, light-blocking ability, breathability, and portability – all crucial factors for a restful night’s sleep on the road.

But before we diving into the nitty-gritty of sleep masks, let’s explore the benefits of quality sleep when you’re on the road or at home:

manta sleep mask sleeping in airports
manta sleep mask sleeping in airports

This post contains affiliate links. I never leave home without travel insurance- I use World Nomads but here’s a trip insurance finder tool  to find a plan that matches your budget. Read more about coverage options for U.S. travelers.

The Importance of Quality Sleep for Travel

When traveling and crossing time zones, your body’s Cicadian rhythm gets wacky and this can cause tiredness and fogginess as your body grasps to regain its day-sleep cues. When I was young, I didn’t think much about sleep as a great importance. I was able to rebound after intense physical activity. Crossing 50 changed that, because my energy level changed. Being a female solo travel vlogger and freelancing in television/film/event crew, I have to be able to recover after a long day of physical activity, so I can wake up and do it all again the next day. Whether I am on my feet catching public transportation for sightseeing or running around lugging my camera equipment, this activity is intense wear and tear on my body. My body can really feel it on some days.

Secondly,  if you’re battling physical ailments, like plantar fasciitis, lower back and neck problems or menapause fatigue like me, then this can surely upset the quality of your solo trip.

The benefits of quality sleep when traveling :

The following are some ideas mentioned by the Sleep Foundation.

  • Physical Health: The number one reason for improving your quality of sleep is that it strengthens your body’s ability to fight illness and repair itself. After a long day of exploring on your feet, your body needs to recover and repair; a solid 8 hours of sleep allows that to happen.
  • Mental Health & Agility: Sleep also impacts mood, regulates emotions, and improves cognitive function. I won’t go into how being a full-time content creator, woman in her 50s or woman on her period is prone to mood swings, but they can feel like a b***h!
  • Recover from Jetlag: It helps reset your body clock. Blackout masks help you get better sleep on planes, during long layovers at airports and when you’re crossing time zones. Check out my in-flight essentials for long flights
  • Memory: During sleep, your brain consolidates memories and information learned throughout the day.
  • Energy Levels and Alertness: Quality sleep keeps you feeling energized, focused and alert throughout the day. As a solo traveler, you want to be street smart safe, alert to your surroundings and you cannot do that in a mental fog.
  • Weight Management: Sleep helps regulate hormones that control appetite and metabolism.
  • Safety and Alertness: Poor sleep quality can impair your judgment and reaction time, increasing risk of accidents and injury. Renting a motorbike in Bali, taking a scuba certification in Thailand, avoid pickpocketing… you can make wiser decisions because you’ll have better mental judgement. Incidentally, travel insurance is always a safety net you want to back yourself up when those accidents happen.
    Tip: Check out this free trip insurance finder tool and my top anti-theft bags for travel
  • Enhanced Comfort: A well-designed sleep mask can minimize distractions and create a sense of calm, perfect for drifting off to dreamland on a noisy airplane or unfamiliar hotel room.
  • Boosted Energy Levels: Catching a good night of sleep translates to waking up feeling refreshed and energized, ready to tackle your travel itinerary.

What to look for in an effective sleep mask for travel?

Blackout Effectiveness: Blocking out light helps regulate your body’s natural sleep-wake cycle, promoting deeper, more restorative sleep. There are masks which act like a light blanket over the eyes, offering very little blackout, so when the sun is out, you’ll still notice it. But when you get to good masks, the blackout between something that’s 80% vs 99% is huge.

Head strap fit: A firm elastic head strap that holds the mask in place as you toss around. For side sleepers, having a strap that does not have a clasp on the side is ideal.

Comfortable eye protection: Flat masks lay Masks with a recessed eye cups are the best because they do not put pressure on the eyelids.

Portability: Most sleep masks are lightweight and compact, making them a no-brainer in-flight tool in your travel carry on or tote.

Comfortable fabric : Sleep masks are made of natural fibers, but there’s a difference between silk, felt or something synthetic with foam cups.

Washable: Machine washable or by hand

Overall comfort and ergonomic design: Eye and nose comfort, snug elastic band to keep your mask secure if you wrestle in your sleep. Some folks like to sleep on their stomach or side.

5 Top Blackout Sleep Masks for Travel

1. Manta Sleep Mask

Manta was my first love in sleep masks because it redefined masks by being a solid and comfortable blackout mask. Fabric is natural fibers and moisture wicking which makes it snug and comfy, and it has removable eye cups that you can replace. Open nose area, the mask just its over the eye cups. Strap is adjustable and fits snug without moving.

  It’s good but if I had a hairy cat, I’d wonder if it would pick up hairs.  It makes a line of blackout masks from cooling sleep masks to reduce puffy eyes and sinus relief  to steam masks for dry eye relief.

I still prefer the original sleep mask; it is perfect for travel and comes with a storage bag for portability and washing. Con: Price. Of all the eye masks I’m sharing here, it’s the most expensive.

manta sleep mask for travel, best blackout sleep masks for travel, Nidra Deep Rest Eye Mask, mzoo sleep masks
manta sleep mask,

 

manta cooling blackout sleep mask
manta cooling blackout sleep mask

 

2. Nidra Deep Rest Eye Mask

The Nidra Deep Rest Eye Mask is a premium sleep mask with high ratings on Amazon. It has 3D eye cups that is comfortable for those with lash extensions and a easy-fit nose piece. The Nidra mask has mixed opinions on strap and stability but it comes in different colors.  Rated the best sleep mask on The NY Times.

Con: It kinda looks like a bra cup on your eyes, so while a lot of travelers love its performance, i’m not sure if I would personally wear it on the plane in public.  But that’s me- he he…

3. MZOO Sleep Eye Mask

The MZOO Sleep Eye Mask is another great sleep mask with very high ratings on Amazon. It’s been sold on Amazon since 2019 for its 3D blackout sleep masks.  It is held together by a heat bonding technology and touts 100% blackout. It has rebounding memory foam eye cups with a cutout nose piece and it comes with a travel pouch.  Con: Hand wash only

Best Value Sleep Masks for Travel:

4. SmartRest Sleep Mask

SmartRest Sleep Mask is one of my picks for best value blackout sleep mask for travel. It really surprised me. I actually bought it because my dad wears those free airlines sleep masks a lot and sleeps during the day. I wanted an inexpensive mask because he has Alzheimers and getting him an expensive mask could go to waste if he decides he doesn’t like it. This one came with two sleep masks. When I tried it, it really surprised me.

At first, I wasn’t sure I’d like the Smart Rest mask because the fabric is more on the silky smooth side and the Manta was more on the fiberous side that felt homey and warm. The blackout is 100%. I forgot to put my alarm on and if my body didn’t have a natural alarm to get up at 7a-9a, I wouldn’t have known the difference behind my eyes, because under my mask it felt like night time. It was surreal to think the blackout effectiveness fooled my mind so completely. My eyes literally did not want to wake up. My sleep felt slightly deeper with this mask

Rebounding memory foam. Cut-out nose piece. Sometimes, there’s a tiny gap where light peers in  by my nose, but it usually take a slight shift of the mask and then it’s fine. Best value: 2 for the cost of $10. Con: my sleep felt so good, I did not want to wake up.

smart rest blackout sleep mask 2 pack
smart rest blackout sleep mask 2 pack

5. LKY DIGITAL Sleep Mask ( 3 Pack )

Since 2013, the LKY Digital Sleep mask  is one of the highest bought and rated on Amazon. This 3D ergonomic eye mask is high rated for its blackout performance and comfort, with foam cups and cotton fiber. It works great for all sleep positions and it has ergonomic fitting on the nose and 3D eye cups to keep your makeup from smudging.

Colors come in black, blue and purple, so there’s a variety. It comes in a pack of three so it’s definitely the highest value mask out there at the moment. You can pass it out to family members and friends. Con: Hand wash only

LKY DIGITAL Sleep Mask best value travel sleep mask
LKY DIGITAL Sleep Mask best travel sleep mask

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