In older movies and news, we see a lot of people wearing eye masks. While a lot of people wonder whether they’re really good for sleep and where to find them, it’s important to know that they’re more common than you thought. While a lot look chic and trendy, it’s good to know that eye masks are more than a fashion accessory and are an amazing tool to help block out the light.
Eye masks can be found anywhere, starting from small accessories and clothing retails to online medical shops and pharmacies. A lot of companies that focus on sleep health also make them be more ergonomic and personalize your sleeping experience.
In this article, we’ll talk about why blocking out the light helps us get more shut-eye, and mention many of the benefits of wearing an eye mask.
Eye Mask Helps Blocking Light Helps Us Get More Sleep
Sleep experts and other scientists still have a lot to learn about sleep health and how sleep works as a restful function. However, there are a lot of factors that affect our sleep, as well as methods we can do to improve it at least a bit.
The National Heart, Lung, and Blood Institute writes that our body goes through several metabolic and hormonal processes while we’re awake and asleep. Two of the most important processes that impact our sleep and wake time are “body clock,” (circadian rhythm) and adenosine.
Adenosine dose increases as we’re awake. The dose fluctuations in our brain also tell our body when it’s time to sleep. Its peak value indicates that it’s time for bed, and once it starts going down, we’re more tired and ready for sleep.
Our natural body clock builds the figure that helps us orientate and prepare our body for sleep. It’s affected by the natural processes in our body, but also by environmental impacts. The bright environment tells our brain it’s time to wake up, by subsiding a lot of substances that influence our sleep, one of them being melatonin.
One particular study from 2011 stands out. It found that light exposure leads to the suppressing of melatonin in our bodies. It can lead up to 90 minutes of sleep suppression.
Cool and dark sleep environment helps generate more melatonin, improving the function of your biological clock. One of the best options to make the “sight darker” is using a sleep mask.
Constant exposure to bright rooms can lead to other health problems. A study published in the American Journal of Epidemiology linked the extended light exposure throughout the night with several mental problems including depression, affecting mostly older people.
Sleep With An Eye Mask: Benefits
They Help With Sleeping Longer And Get More Restful Sleep
Decades, if not centuries, of scientific research, showed that both humans and their ancestors lived through the day and slept through the night. In other words, they were diurnal.
Our brain is used to sleeping at night. The electronic devices and other devices that produce artificial light can disturb our sleep. A lot of people cover their windows with curtains and close down the window shutters when the moon is full as it keeps them awake. Now, look at your home appliances, anything from your phone, TV or internet model lights that constantly blink can mess with your sleep and wake you up.
If it’s simply impossible for you to sleep in a dark room, an eye mask is a must-have to normalize your sleep and help you wake up more rested.
Reduced Symptoms of Insomnia
A dark and cool room can help trick our brain into thinking it’s time for sleep. Insomnia is one of the most prominent sleep disorders, affecting one-third of the entire American population, according to Sleep Foundation.
Given that sleep disorders are usually listed as mental issues, tricking our brain into thinking it’s time for sleeping with darkness will help with falling asleep.
Because not being able to fall asleep due to insomnia often makes us feel stressed and anxious, we often open our eyes. With an eye mask on, you won’t be able to open your eyes and look around without taking the mask off, which is why it’s a great asset for helping you fall asleep even though insomnia.
Wearing an eye mask can also help you focus on sleeping by eliminating distractions like blinking LED indicator of your smartphone you left in the room.
Another aspect of the eye mask is that they’re safe. People who give in to alcoholic beverages or sleep pills don’t know they’re compromising their health in other ways. However, if a soothing, dark sleep mask is what it takes to fall asleep, it’s certainly worth going for, as opposed to the alcohol and pills.
Using an eye mask is usually the last resort because no one believes they’re effective. However, they truly are, and using them will save you a lot of money you’d normally spend on expensive shutters or blackout curtains, not to mention the supplements.
The sleep mask is an affordable way to get more sleep by blacking out the light from both inside and outside. Additionally, it lasts long and you don’t have to worry about maintenance.
It Protects Your Skin
Do you worry about your beauty sleep? Do you use expensive creams and products that keep your skin moist and tight? You no longer have to, because sleep masks are proven to be effective at protecting your skin and eyes, avoiding morning puffiness that a lot of people suffer from.
The Address The Problem With Dry Eyes
People who sleep with their eyes open, wake up with dry eyes. If you wake up with dry eyes for any other reason too, a good sleep mask can stop that.
That all happens as a result of dust, allergies, dry air, and other reasons. That’s why with a good sleep mask, you can keep your eyes closed and moist, creating durable protection against hot and dry air, dust, allergies, and potential lagophthalmos, of which many people aren’t aware.
Also Read: How To Get Rid Of Tired Eyes?
They’re Great for Travel
If you travel a lot, then you know the troubles of busy plane flights, as well as bus and car drives. You can’t take your blackout curtain with you, can you? You can always bring a good pair of headphones or white noise machine to reduce the noise, but how do you sleep with all that light getting into your eyes?
Usually, good travel-made eye masks come with earplugs as a gift, so you don’t have to spend excess money on a good white noise machine.
If you still want to invest in a good noise machine, we tested and reviewed 10 best noise machines to block out the noise and help you sleep like a baby.
You Could Potentially Wave a Goodbye to Migraines
No one can make a difference between a regular headache and a migraine until they experience a strong one. Mornings with people who suffer from frequent migraines are hell, and it can take them hours and a lot of missed hours at work until their state stabilizes.
If you’re one of the people who wakes up with intense headaches and migraines, the secret behind your aching could be hiding in the brightness itself. Light sensitivity is an actual thing, especially for people who suffered from a traumatic injury.
Even if the sleep mask doesn’t eliminate or prevent the migraine, it can provide the darkness and peace of mind to everyone who wakes up with migraine looks for. Depending on the reason why you experience migraine, you can purchase a sleep mask with cooling and heating effects that can help alleviate them.
Also Read: Can Sleep Apnea Cause Migraines?
Potential Drawbacks of Wearing Eye Mask
If you’re worried about the potential risks of wearing an eye mask, there’s absolutely no reason to worry. Eye masks are safe to sleep with. If you’ve been in the dilemma of whether you should sleep with one or not, then know that if they will help you fall asleep easier, they’re worth it.
Still, we’ll point out some potential discomforts that you may encounter with wearing sleep masks.
Comfort Over Function
Some modern masks are equipped with concave eye holes that loosen the pressure, making sleeping with the mask easier, allowing for more REM sleep. But, older mask designs that are completely flat work differently. They have elastic straps that you can adjust.
Tightening the straps will result in better closure and no light will leak. But, it may still apply too much pressure on your eyes, reduce the possibility for REM sleep, and cause headaches. On the other hand, too loose mask will allow for more REM sleep but you may find it difficult to sleep if a strong light source leaks into your eyes.
The perfect balance between tightening is that you’re able to open your eyes and blink and still see nothing. If you can’t do that, it’s possible that your mask is too loose.
Should You Sleep With Eye Mask?
The question should be “Why shouldn’t you?” considering there are too many good reasons. With the only drawback being potential discomfort, it’s an absolute yes from us.
But, be careful. Finding the right sleep mask can be tricky. There are a lot of options on Amazon, but there are also some retailers that sell separately and more ergonomic designs like Manta Sleep or Bucky, which comes with different textures. Some high-end sleep masks come with additional scents reminiscent of essential oils that can be used for enhancing sleep quality. There are also different designs and materials to consider, as well as balancing between more and less comfort.
All in all, the sleep mask is a worthy investment for people who can’t make their room dark enough, are sensitive to brightness, and prone to insomnia and migraines. With a little patience, you can find a mask that is both stylish and functional, and won’t cause discomfort.
Also Read: Are Sleep Masks Bad For Your Eyes?