Many of us wear eye masks to block out the light when 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 just that. These ‘smart’ masks claim to help us fall asleep by enlisting the help of other senses – touch, heat and sound – to create a relaxing sleeping environment.
With 60 percent of people reporting an increase in sleep problems following a pandemic, it’s no wonder we’re turning to futuristic options.
Last year the global eye mask market grew by £8.2m to £1.7bn and over the next three years, according to market research from Technavio, nearly a third of the growth will come from the technology sector.
Smart sleep masks claim to help us sleep by enlisting the help of other senses. 60 percent of people reported an increase in sleep problems after a 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 technical options, but don’t lose sight of the other factors, such as your bedtime routine, diet, and screen time, which can affect the quality and quantity of sleep.”
We put the latest to the snooze test…
Manta Sleep Mask (£30, mantasleep.uk)
Manta Sleep Mask uses breathable materials to provide the lightest and most soundproof fit without snagging your hair or pressing on your eyeballs
This may look low-tech, but it uses breathable materials to provide the most lightweight and sound-absorbing fit without snagging your hair or pressing on your eyeballs: adjustable eyecups prevent the longest lashes from being squashed and allow even the most powerful rapid eye movement (REM) sleep. Earplugs are included, but cold and warm eyepatches must 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)
Let yourself fall asleep with well-hidden speakers connected to your playlist via Bluetooth. Super soft, washable fleece gently wraps the head instead of pressing on the eye sockets or ears.
VERDICT: This makes up for in cuddly power what it lacks in massage features, and the ability to listen to a snoozy tune or podcast really helps you sleep. One for the side sleepers because it is so comfortable in every corner. The easy volume control on the forehead means you don’t have to search 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 wraparound mirror visor and newly introduced sight windows
Renpho’s new model brings a Bladerunner vibe to the mask game with its wraparound mirror visor and newly introduced sight windows. The heat massage option supposedly removes bags under the eyes with an acupoint massage.
VERDICT: Simple side controls and quiet voice prompts as you choose your options put the Renpho mask first. A choice of music tracks is built in – or you can use Bluetooth to your own songs. It also conveniently folds in half in a soft carrying case. But the viewing window is a bit tacky and it’s too bulky for anything other than napping on your back. 4/5
Sound Oasis Illumy (£129, relax-uk.com)
Reflected in the price, this is the gold standard of circadian light eye masks. It uses NASA technology developed in the International Space Station that sets the astronauts’ biological clocks by using the colors of light to simulate a day on Earth.
Once you’ve installed the app and set your alarm, you’ll see a gradually diminishing sunset that calms your body and mind. In the morning, the mask automatically brightens and mimics the action of the sun.
VERDICT: Breakthrough 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 soft dawn of a jet lag-free day is almost worth the money alone. 4/5
SPACE AGE Folly
BREO iDream5S Eye and Neck Massage Helmet (£199.99, amazon.co.uk)
BREO iDream5S Eye and Neck Massage Helmet applies a deep kneading massage to the 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 part of the neck and scalp, integrating heat compression and ‘intelligent air pressure’, allowing you to get up for a more restful sleep.
VERDICT: Not for the faint of heart: While the vise-like grip of the helmet starts to feel soothing, the head massage feels like witch’s claws scraping down to my hairline, and the neck massage never really gets there. What works is pulsing the eye socket and temple, making you feel like a million bucks, but the volume and price make this too expensive and impractical. 1/5