If you’re someone who has difficulty sleeping or maybe your job requires you to sleep during the day when it’s broad daylight outside, then maybe you’ve considered using an eye mask but not you’re sure whether they’re beneficial or even safe to use all the time.
The answer is yes, you can sleep with a mask on and this article will guide you through all the benefits of using an eye mask, what to look out for when you’re buying one, and also some tips to follow when using an eye mask.
Benefits of using an eye mask
Blocks out light - If you have difficulty staying asleep due to bright city or street lights outside your window, or maybe even the early morning sunrise seeping through, then an eye mask can help prevent you from waking up. One issue of this however, is that it prevents light trigger cortisol, the waking up hormone, so you may find it more difficult to rise in the morning as you won’t be feeling funky fresh.
If you travel a lot and find it difficult to get some shut-eye on the plane, then using a sleeping mask will help you relax and block out everything around you so you can gradually drift off. Many people also wear sleep masks with ear muffs on long-haul flights to imitate the feeling of being in a quiet room.
Using an eye mask will help block out any light around you and any visual disturbances that could occur when you’re trying to fall asleep. As the mask lets you sleep in complete darkness, the brain also senses this and produces more melatonin and will increase the amount of high-quality sleeping time you have.
Reduces the risk of obesity - So as a result of having a deeper and more relaxing sleep, your general health will also be benefited in many ways. Getting a good amount of sleep regularly contributes to good weight maintenance and a healthy metabolism and those who struggle to get over 5 hours of sleep every day are more likely to feel more hungry throughout the day and will eat over their required daily intake.
Improves brain health - Getting a good night’s sleep every night will also boost brain health and those who do struggle with sleep deprivation experience less concentration and lower cognitive and motor performances, which is why some people feel sluggish and unmotivated throughout the day.
Benefits mental health - Whilst sleeping cannot prevent or eradicate mental health problems, it can be a contributing factor in reducing some of the symptoms that people who struggle with anxiety, depression, or even bipolar disorder. A good sleeping routine can help people have more clarity and can also help balance emotions.
Reduces the risk of dry eyes - Sleeping eye masks are also good if you struggle with waking up with dry eyes in the morning from your air conditioning unit. Whilst they won’t generally help with retaining your moisture around your eyes (some special masks might) they will work to prevent the harsh cool air pressure from your unit from leaving you with crusty eyes in the morning.
Reduces dark circles - If your dark circles are sleep-related and not just hereditary, then using a sleep mask and boosting your quality of sleep will leave you looking less tired and will also reduce the appearance of your dark circles under your eyes.
Inexpensive - Sleep masks are a whole lot cheaper than installing black out blinds in your bedroom and they’re also portable, so you’ll be able to take them on your travels with you and ensure a great night’s sleep each time.
What types of eye masks can you get?
Whilst the common eye mask for sleeping will help you get a better night’s sleep, some specially designed eye masks function differently to improve your sleep quality even more and help you feel relaxed.
Material eye masks - If you’re just looking for a regular sleeping mask without the frills, then a silk or cotton eye mask will serve you well. These materials are gentle around the eyes and won’t cause any friction as you move around whilst you sleep. Most of these types of eye masks will come with adjustable straps so you can customize them to fit your head shape comfortably.
Weighted eye masks - Most generic sleeping masks will be lightweight, but some eye masks are more heavily weighted. They apply gentle pressure to your face and stimulate the production of melatonin and serotonin, leaving you feeling relaxed and secure in your bed. Weighted eye masks also reduce the tension in the eyes, especially good for another who wears prescriptions or works with computers or devices all day.
Scented eye masks - Some eye masks have incorporated aromatherapy scents such as lavender or chamomile which are commonly used for relaxation and will help reduce the stress of the person trying to sleep and allow them to drift off more easily. If you’ve got sensitive eyes or struggle with allergies then a scented eye mask may do just the opposite of relaxing so you may have to try another one.
Heated eye masks - There are eye masks on the market that allow temperature variations either manually or electronically. A heated eye mask will provide a warm compress for your eyes which can improve circulation but also help you feel incredibly relaxed and safe whilst you’re drifting off. If you live in a hot country, then using a cooling eye mask will help you regulate your body temperature whilst also reducing the puffy skin around your eyes.
How to use your eye mask
You may take a few days to adapt to the unfamiliar feeling of sleep with something around your eyes, so give yourself time to adjust to this change before deciding it's not for you or maybe to try out a different eye mask.
You should relax in bed for at least 20 minutes before you’re going to sleep. You should wear your eye mask but rest it on your forehead whilst doing a relaxing activity like reading as this will encourage you to drift off and when you finally feel tired, you can just easily pull your eye mask down over your eyes and turn over to go to sleep.