A sleep mask is a useful lucid dreaming aid. In fact, it can improve your sleep and dreams on several levels:
Once you've decided you want to incorporate a sleep mask into your lucidity practice, the next question is: what is the best sleep mask?
Here are my top 5 sleep masks for lucid dreaming, meditation and better quality of sleep.
My favorite mask is the Dream Essentials Escape Luxury Sleep Mask.
It's affordable and very comfortable, with interior eye chambers so the fabric never touches your eyes or eyelashes. The padding around the edges ensures no light enters the mask so it does exactly what a lucid dreamer requires of it.
The headband is adjustable using VelcroStretch so for the majority of people this sleep mask will be 100% light blocking.
Sufficiently weighty but not cumbersome it stays in place all night and is ideal for side, front or back sleepers. I've reviewed a number of sleep masks over the years and this one continues to come out on top.
The Mindfold Sleep and Relaxation Eye Mask is an alternative sleep mask which I mention here because it is both cheaper and lighter.
Once again, it has the essential deep eye cavities, plus a flexible faceplate backed with soft foam padding for maximum light blocking.
The VelcroStretch headband adjusts for comfort and further improves light blocking. However, unlike the Dream Essentials Escape Mask, this mask is really suited to back sleepers only.
Even easier on the wallet, the Dream Essentials Sweet Dreams Contoured Sleep Mask is compact and slimline. I use it as a travel mask on planes because it crumples without permanently creasing and is easily washable and quick drying.
It does contour away from the eyes - however, due to the lack of padding, it is only about 95% light blocking. I believe this comes down to the individual; if you have a delicate nose bridge this may just be perfect for you.
For the budget-conscious, the Sweet Dreams Contoured Sleep Mask also comes with free foam earplugs. It is currently the #1 sleep mask on Amazon with 2,000+ reviews.
Here's an interesting one. The Glo to Sleep Eye Mask is a sleep therapy mask to help you switch off your mind and relax your body. There are times (we've all been there) when your mind is buzzing and you can't relax - when this happens, Glo to Sleep is a natural and effective way to enter the land of nod peacefully.
While wearing the mask, slowly raise your eyes upwards and hold your gaze on one of the soft points of blue light. Breathe deeply. Your thoughts begin to slow as you relax from a Beta state to an Alpha state. This gentle meditation provides a calm focus as you doze off and relax fully. It can also support lucid dream affirmations (such as "The next scene will be a dream").
There are no batteries required. The Glo to Sleep mask is powered by holding it up to a light bulb for 30 seconds; the blue glow lasts for plenty of time for you to fall asleep. This one has mixed reviews on Amazon but personally I find it a welcome distraction.
Who ever heard of a pillow for your eyes?
I thought this was a pretty weird concept until I tried out the DreamTime Inner Peace Eye Pillow. Turns out, it's quite a nice feeling.
How does this work? The creators will tell you that it's down to the aromatherapy scents of flax, lavender, chamomile and orange granules, combined with acupressure applied to tired eyes and facial muscles.
I do enjoy the cool pressure applied to my eyes - it's both relaxing and an excellent focal point for meditation. You'll have to feel this to believe it.