No, your screens do not need adjusting, and you don't need an eye test. Yes, I really did spend £85 on an eye mask – and it isn't even made of skin-soothing silk to help me justify the price. Before you go thinking I'm someone who regularly makes a habit of investing in high-end goods, however, let me set the record straight. I've never owned a designer handbag in my life and I'm still very happy using my iPhone 7 Plus (hey, if it ain't broke, don't fix it). So, what made me splash the cash this time around?
The answer is simple. I take my sleep very seriously. Unfortunately, I also need absolute darkness to stay asleep. So, when spring arrived earlier this year and those pesky slivers of light started peeking through the sides of my trusty blackout blind to wake me up at the crack of dawn, I knew I needed to take action.
Therefore, I did what any self-respecting journalist does when they're about to make a purchase. I headed to Google and spent hours researching the best sleep masks that money can buy.
There is a dazzling array of sleep masks on the market, and all of them claim to have magical qualities that will help you fall asleep faster and then sleep better at night. But one brand kept coming up in my searches, and that brand is Manta.
Manta makes lots of different types of sleep masks, including a weighted model that applies gentle therapeutic pressure to aid relaxation, and an anti-ageing number made from silk that helps to prevent wrinkles. All of them guarantee 'true 100 per cent blackout for deeper sleep'. But the version that really caught my eye was the Manta Sleep Mask Pro because it is specifically engineered for side-sleepers like me.
Admittedly, I hadn't realised that side-sleeping masks were a thing until I came across the Manta Sleep Mask Pro. But the more I read about its clever design, the more it all made sense, particularly as I spend most of my time trying to sleep either on my side or on my belly with my head turned to the side. (Note: this is not the best position for sleep.)
As other side-sleepers will tell you, it's quite normal to experience a lot of discomfort from regular sleep masks thanks to their elasticated bands, bulky padding, and the worst offender of them all – thick piping around the edge of the mask that digs into the side of your head.
And seeing as I spend a good eight to nine hours of my day trying to sleep, it made complete sense in the end to splurge a whopping £85 on a mask that would suit my side-sleeping style, and hopefully give me the best night's sleep of my life.
Is the Manta Sleep Mask PRO good for side sleepers?
You betcha! So how does it work? Well, the secret of its success lies in the 'C-shaped' eye cups that attach to the headband with Velcro so you can adjust them to fit perfectly around your eyes (depending on how far apart they are) and create a blackout seal that completely blocks out any light.
Unlike the circular doughnut-shaped eye cups on the other Manta Sleep Masks – which are made this way to create an 'air bubble' that will take the pressure off your eyelids and eyelashes – the unique C-shaped eye cups taper gently off at the sides, so they sit flat against your temples without sacrificing on eye space.
Some reviews mention that the mask can take a few nights to get used to, and I found that to be true. It wasn't uncomfortable in any way, but it was a new sensation I needed to adjust to as I drifted off. However, once I fell asleep, I slept solidly through the night and didn't wake up once.
When I woke the next morning, the mask was still firmly yet comfortably in place (result!), and when I took the mask off, I felt almost blinded by the sunlight – such was the complete darkness I'd been in.
By the third night, I popped the mask on and barely noticed it was there when my head hit the pillow. And ever since, I've found that the cups and thin headband seem to just melt away into nothingness. Put it this way, it's so comfortable, and so effective, I look forward to putting it on every night.
Is the Manta Sleep Mask PRO worth the money?
Manta calls its Sleep Mask PRO 'the most advanced sleep mask on the planet', and I think this claim is 100 per cent justifiable.
In addition to the C-shaped eye cup tech that doesn't let in a peep of light no matter how many times you change your sleep position, the mask is also ridiculously breathable thanks to the cooling perforated foam in the eye cups and the soft, adjustable headband that's made with layers of mesh for extra ventilation (trust me, this combination works because I wore it every night during the heatwave).
The thinly padded headband also features a grippy 'zero-slip' gel to help it stay in place without causing any friction on the hair, and the width of the headband becomes thinner around the ear area, so it lays above the ears, not over them. And if that wasn't enough, you can even buy interchangeable COOL Eye Cups to aid relaxation or STEAM eye cups to alleviate stress and dry eyes!
In short, there's not one detail about this mask – from the design and ergonomics to the materials and functionality – that hasn't been fully thought through. I honestly can't recommend it enough for side-sleepers who crave darkness, and in terms of the difference it has made to the quality of my sleep, I believe it's been worth every penny. Top marks!
Manta Sleep Mask PRO: price and availability
It does not appear to be available to buy in Australia at present, although other versions of Manta Sleep Masks are available from selected third party retailers, including Sleep Solutions.