How To Choose The Best Sleep Mask For Napping And Meditation

It took me months and months of trial and error to find the right sleep mask for my nap and meditation experiments. Originally I started buying all types of sleeps masks from amazon to find one that fit my head well, and worked the best for all my needs.

Little did I know when I began that quest, my logic was flawed. There’s a big difference between wearing a sleep mask for sleeping, and wearing a sleep mask for napping or meditating.

You see most of my afternoon nap sessions are very controlled. I use headphones, I lay on my back only, and I normally use on of my favorite nap tracks that has a specified time setting with a wakeup gong at the end.

The biggest difference, for me, between that short nap cycle and sleeping is the fact that I can’t sleep on my back all night long. In fact, I have a hard time laying still on my back when going to sleep, because somehow my brain knows it isn’t a short period of time, and I need to move around a little bit.

Point being, I found the ultimate sleep mask for meditation and napping, but the one requirement is you must be on your back or in a chair. It’s the Mindfold, and it is hands down the best meditation and napping mask I have ever come across. This led me to put together this short guide on which masks work best for what, since I bought almost 10 of them to find out… hopefully it’ll save someone else some time and hassle.

Jump straight to the two best sleeping masks:

>> the best sleeping mask for napping and meditation for back sleepers

>> the best sleep mask for side sleepers that’s stays soft even when getting smushed by your pillow

Know What And How You Want To Use The Sleeping Mask For

How The Materials & Style Of Sleep Mask Headband Affect Your Experience

hard plastic front of the mindfold cannot lay on side
velcro straps are a no no
shallow eye cavities make you feel your eyelashes and wake you up

The Best Sleeping Mask For Naps And Meditations I’ve Found (After Trying 8 Sleeping Masks From Amazon!)

yep, you read that right, I had to buy 8 sleeping masks so far from amazon to learn what hasn’t worked so far. I just happened to stop my my friend Daniel’s office a few weeks ago, and there it sat. A Mindfold mask he uses himself and for clients in the relaxation chair. (he does hypnosis and a few other things, so relaxation is a major focus in his office)

Anyhow, after having horrible experiences from all the masks I ordered from Amazon thus far, as soon as I put this sucker on I knew it was a GO!

Right away, the biggest complaint I had about almost every single on of the other 7 sleep masks I ordered (and returned), was solved. This mask has a thin strecthy headband that is a single layer without the double velcro straps at the back of the head.

As I mentioned, this was my biggest complaint for napping and meditations… the fact that every damn manufacturer that I ordered from made the head straps fairly thick!  Even if you lie back slightly elevated, the pressure the velcro puts on your head between the pillow and the back of your head/neck makes it difficult to get comfortable.  When you only have 20 minutes, this is a deal killer with most sleep masks, but thankfully the Mindfold people engineered theirs differently.

The Difference Between A Sleep Mask Designed For Daytime Use And Nighttime Use (And what is the best nap mask for daytime napping)

My second biggest complaint about all the other sleeping masks I tried, was the amount of light let in around the nose during the daytime. Usually at night, you don’t notice the small amount of light that peaks under the bridge of your nose since the house is dim. But in the middle of the day, it’s completely different!

Every single one of the other 7 sleeping masks I bought, let light in in some fashion. For a short afternoon nap or meditation session, this defeats the whole purpose of wearing the mask in the first place.

What Makes The Mindfold So Much Better Than A Regular Sleeping Mask?

With the Mindfold, I’m happy to report that the foam eye cushion design forms a perfect seal around your eyes. Instead of trying to cover the nose, the guys have avoided the nose altogether and made it so nothing rests on the lower bridge of your nose at all… Instead, the light is sealed out closer to the exterior of your eye sockets in a circular pattern for a perfect seal every time.

What I like most about this thing too, is the front hard plastic cover. Instead of having a silky soft fabric that sometimes leaks bright light through a little, the Mindfold has a hard shell that blocks out 100% of the light. Which is perfect for the daytime, and works much much better.

The other major benefit is the extra large spaces between your eyes and the mask itself. There is plenty of room so you can open your eyes in any position and never have your eyelashes touch the mask. This is absolutely essential if you want to get restorative sleep from a nap or actually sleeping.

Let me explain why… Can you imagine being asleep and having someone touch your eyelids with a feather? With a normal silk sleep mask, that’s exactly what it feels like if you hit REM sleep and your eyes start moving as you dream! It’s like something touching you at the exact WRONG moment, and you wake up.

With the Mindfold, I’ve never had this happen, and I can fully open my eyes when I’m wearing it. For me, this allows my eyes to completely relax, and I go into my naps or meditations much quicker with complete darkness and nothing touching my eyes.

If you can’t tell already, I really love this mask! (probably even more since it was super frustrating to try all the other ones that sucked prior to finding the Mindfold)

The Only Drawback To The Mindfold Mask

Remember how I mentioned in the beginning I was looking for a one size fits all solution of a sleeping mask? Well, the problem with that is there really isn’t one that excells in all areas, not even the Mindfold.

The solution is to have a daytime sleeping mask for meditations and napping, and a sleeping mask that’s soft and supple enough for side sleeping for nighttime use. (I haven’t found the perfect nighttime sleeping mask yet either! If you know of one for me to try, please let me know in the comments below!)

The only drawback to the Mindfold, is that you cannot use it laying on your side in any way shpape or form. The hard plastic front that blocks out light so well, just isn’t flexible for side sleeping or napping.

For me this is perfect anyway since it’s not hard to lay on my back for the full duration of my 20 minutes naps. The difference in the effectiveness of my afternoon naps with and without covering my eyes is noticeable. I think I bounce in and out of REM sleep more frequently when there is zero light coming through and I’m in total darkness. (I should note too, there’s a big difference when your eyes can actually relax in complete darkness compared to a small amount of light peaking through and you learning to ignore it. Much more restorative rest in 100% darkness.)

How To Choose The Right Meditation Or Nap Mask For You

Hopefully by now you can kind of get an idea of what your needs are, and what type of sleep mask will work best for your environment. In my experience, I need two separate sleeping masks for different purposes. One for the daytime naps, and one for sleeping in hotels or foreighn places where I can’t turn out all the annoying lights in the room.

A couple pointers are, make sure you get somethign that has large eye cavities that you can open your eyes under no matter what.
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mindfold sleep and relaxation eye mask

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