Some advantages of sleep masks include:
1. Low cost: Most sleep masks on the market today are available for $20 or less, including shipping costs from online retailers. This makes them a much less expensive way to block and control light compared to other options, such as motion-sensing night lights and blackout curtains.
2. Lightweight and portable: Most sleep masks weigh less than one pound, and are designed to be folded up for easier portability. Many come with carrying cases.
3. Easy to clean: Sleep masks are usually machine washable or can be washed by hand, and never need to be dry cleaned or specialty cleaned.
4. Customizable fit: Sleep masks usually feature an elastic band with buckles or fasteners that can be adjusted for a more comfortable fit.
5. Breathable: Some common sleep mask materials, such as silk and cotton, are naturally breathable. Additionally, some sleep mask models are designed with vents to improve air circulation into and out of the mask.
Disadvantages of sleep masks may include:
1. Adjustment period: Sleepers normally require several nights to acclimate themselves to the sleep mask. The adjustment period may be even longer for some individuals, and this can result in poor sleep cycles in the meantime.
2. Not built to last: Sleep masks should be cleaned frequently, and repeated wash cycles can cause the materials to degrade quickly. Generally, masks with higher price-points have longer lifespans than those with lower price-points — but this may come down to material, as well.
3. Uncomfortable side-sleeping: Some sleep masks feature small plastic or metal fasteners on the side of the strap that can cause pain or discomfort for side sleepers, although other models forego these parts in order to provide comfort regardless of sleep position.
4. Difficulty waking: Some sleep masks are so effective at helping people sleep that they interfere with production of cortisol, a hormone linked to increases in light levels. This can, in turn, make it harder to wake up for some people.
5. Visible effects from wearing them, such as:
Wear lines around the eyes and cheeks
Smears from dyes in the fabric