Many of us wear an eye mask to block out light when we sleep, but what if your mask could also sing lullabies, give massages and harnessed the latest NASA technology?
Enter the new wave of high-tech eye tech which promises to do just that. These ‘smart’ masks claim to help us nod off by enlisting the support of other senses — touch, heat and sound — to create a relaxing sleep environment.
With 60 percent of people reporting an increase in sleep problems post pandemic, it’s no wonder we’re turning to futuristic options.
Last year the global eye mask market grew by £8.2million to £1.7billion and, over the next three years, nearly a third of growth will come from the technology sector, according to Technavio market research.
Smart sleep masks claim to help us sleep by enlisting the support of other senses 60 percent of people reported an increase in sleep problems post pandemic. The Musicozy mask plays tunes through speakers hidden in soft fleece
Are gadgets really the answer to a good night’s sleep? ‘High-tech solutions may help to improve your night’s sleep,’ says Sammy Margo, author of The Good Sleep Guide. ‘Try the tech options but don’t lose sight of the other factors, such as your bedtime routine, diet and screen time, which may affect quality and quantity of sleep.’
We put the latest ones to the snooze test…
Manta Sleep Mask (£30, mantasleep.uk)
Manta Sleep Mask uses breathable materials to provide the most light and sound-excluding fit without snagging your hair or pressing on your eyeballs
This may look low-tech but it uses breathable materials to provide the most light and sound-excluding fit without snagging your hair or pressing on your eyeballs: adjustable eye cups stop the longest of eyelashes from being squashed and allow even the most vigorous rapid eye movement (REM) sleep. Ear plugs are included, but cold and hot eye patches have to be ordered separately.
VERDICT: Beautifully comfortable and the perfect blackout without eye pressure, but too expensive to justify the lack of smart features. 2/5
Musicozy Sleep Headphones (£20.99, amazon.co.uk)
Get sung to sleep with snugly concealed speakers hooked up with Bluetooth to your playlist. Supersoft, washable fleece gently wraps the head rather than pressing in on the eye sockets or ears.
VERDICT: This makes up in snuggle power what it lacks in massage features, and the ability to set your listening to a snoozy tune or podcast really does help you sleep. One for the side sleepers because it’s so comfortable at any angle. The easy volume control on the forehead means you don’t have to fumble for your phone in the dark. 4/5
Renpho True View Eye Massager (£54.99, uk.renpho.com)
Renpho’s new model brings a Bladerunner vibe to the mask game with its wrap-around mirrored visor and newly introduced vision windows
Renpho’s new model brings a Bladerunner vibe to the mask game with its wrap-around mirrored visor and newly introduced vision windows. The heat massage option supposedly gets rid of bags under the eyes with an acupoint massage.
VERDICT: Simple controls on the side and calm voice instructions while you choose your options put the Renpho mask out ahead. A choice of music tracks is built in — or you can Bluetooth your own. It also conveniently folds in half into a soft carry case. But the vision window is a little plasticky and it’s too bulky for anything other than on-your-back napping. 4/5
Sound Oasis Illumy (£129, relax-uk.com)
Reflected in the price, this is the gold standard of circadian light eye masks. It taps into NASA technology pioneered in the International Space Station which sets the astronauts’ body clock by using the colors of light to mimic a day on Earth.
Once you’ve installed the app and set your alarm, you’ll see a gradual dimming sunset that nudges your mind and body to rest. In the morning, the mask brightens on its own, mimicking the action of the sun.
VERDICT: Groundbreaking tech aside, this is let down by its cheap feel and the need to fiddle with an app. But for travelers, it’s a winner: the gentle dawn of a jet-lag-free day is almost worth the money alone. 4/5
SPACE AGE SILLINESS
BREO iDream5S Eye and Neck Massage Helmet (£199.99, amazon.co.uk)
BREO iDream5S Eye and Neck Massage Helmet applies deep-kneading massage to eyes, upper neck and scalp areas, integrating heat compression and ‘intelligent air pressure’
They say this is the future — the ultimate multi-function and automatic massage mask: the 150 pressure points of iDream 5S apply deep-kneading massage to eyes, upper neck and scalp areas, integrating heat compression and ‘intelligent air pressure’, setting you up for a more restful sleep.
VERDICT: Not for the faint-hearted: while the vice-like grip of the helmet starts to feel soothing, the head massage feels like witches’ talons scraping right down to my hairline and the neck massage never really gets there. What works is the eye socket and temple pulsing, which makes you feel like a million dollars, but the bulk and price make this overpriced and impractical. 1/5