Many of us wear an eye mask to block out the light while we sleep, but what if your mask could also sing lullabies, give massages, and use the latest NASA technology?
Enter the new wave of high-tech eye technology that promises to do just that. These “smart” masks are designed to help us fall asleep by enlisting the assistance of other senses – touch, warmth and sound – to create a relaxing sleeping environment.
With 60 percent of people reporting an increase in sleep problems in the wake of the 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 almost a third of the growth will come from the technology sector, according to Technavio market research.
Smart sleep masks claim to help us sleep by enlisting the assistance of other senses. 60 percent of people reported an increase in sleep problems after the 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 can help improve your sleep,” says Sammy Margo, author of The Good Sleep Guide. “Try the tech options, but don’t lose sight of the other factors, like your bedtime, diet and screen time, that can affect the quality and quantity of sleep.”
We put the latest ones to the snooze test…
Manta Sleep Mask (£30, mantasleep.uk)
The Manta Sleep Mask uses breathable materials to offer the lightest, quietest fit without catching on your hair or pressing on your eyeballs
This may look low-tech, but uses breathable materials to offer the lightest, quietest fit without catching hair or pressing on eyeballs: Adjustable eyecups prevent the longest lashes from being pinched and allow for even the most vigorous rapid gaze movement (REM) sleep. Earplugs are included, but cold and hot eye patches must be ordered separately.
CONCLUSION: Delightfully comfortable and the perfect no-eye-strain blackout, but too expensive to justify the lack of smart features. 2/5
Musicozy sleep headphones (£20.99, amazon.co.uk)
Let yourself be lulled to sleep with perfectly hidden speakers that connect to your playlist via Bluetooth. Super soft, washable fleece gently wraps the head instead of pressing on eye sockets or ears.
VERDICT: This makes up for the snuggle performance it lacks in massage capabilities, and the ability to set your listening to a sleepy tune or podcast really helps you sleep. One for side sleepers because it’s so comfortable at every 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 masque with its all-round mirrored visor and newly introduced vision panels
Renpho’s new model brings a Bladerunner vibe to the masque with its all-round mirrored visor and newly introduced vision panels. The heat massage option claims to get rid of bags under the eyes with an acupoint massage.
VERDICT: Simple side controls and calm voice prompts as you select your options put the Renpho mask ahead. A selection of music tracks is built-in – or you can use your own via Bluetooth. It also conveniently folds in half for a soft carry case. But the viewing window is a bit plasticky and too bulky for anything other than a nap on your back. 4/5
Sound Oasis Illumy (£129, relax-uk.com)
This is reflected in the price and is the gold standard of circadianlight eye masks. It draws on NASA technology developed in the International Space Station, which adjusts astronauts’ internal clocks by using the colors of light to mimic a day on Earth.
Once you install the app and set your alarm, you’ll see a gradually darkening sunset, calming your mind and body. In the morning, the mask lightens itself, mimicking the effects of the sun.
VERDICT: Groundbreaking technology aside, this is let down by the cheap feel and need to play around 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 STUPIDITY
BREO iDream5S Eye and Neck Massage Helmet (£199.99, amazon.co.uk)
BREO iDream5S Eye & Neck Massage Helmet applies deep kneading massage to eyes, upper neck and scalp, integrating heat compression and “intelligent air pressure”.
They say this is the future – the ultimate multifunctional and automatic massage mask: iDream 5S’ 150 pressure points apply a deep kneading massage to the eyes, upper neck and scalp areas, integrating heat compression and “intelligent air pressure” to lock you in for a more restorative Sleep.
CONCLUSION: Not for the faint of heart: while the helmet’s vise-like grip feels soothing, the head massage feels like witches’ claws are scraping it up to my hairline, and the neck massage never really hits the spot. What works is the eye socket and temple pulsing that makes you feel like a million bucks, but the bulk and price make this overpriced and impractical. 1/5