Sleep masks at night may seem like an irrelevant accessory. Yet, wearing it guarantees a superior quality rest.
In our industrialized world, we’re often exposed to artificial light for long periods, but wearing a sleep mask could help you tune out interruptions and shut down your brain. In fact, staring at a computer screen all day, checking smartphones frequently, and enduring a significant amount of stress can interfere with your rest.
While some aspects of how and why humans sleep are still a mystery, doctors have a basic idea about how sleep works. Basically, there are two processes that heavily influence the desire to sleep. One is on the way of adenosine which, rising in your brain while you’re awake, tells your body it’s time to sleep. This is when you reach your peak (before you start to crash).
The second process is the “biological clock”, also known as circadian rhythm. Light (natural or not) is an important element that helps your biological clock understand whether it’s time to wake up or go to sleep. Basically, it works like this: if there is a lot of light that kicks in, then your circadian rhythm thinks it’s time to be awake, so it suppresses a myriad of chemicals, including melatonin.
If it’s dark, more melatonin is produced, and your circadian rhythm thinks it’s time for bed. Experts have gone so far as to suggest that the problem isn’t lack of sleep, but lack of darkness.
Night mask: the advantages
Whether you have a partner who work odd hours, that you need to sleep until mid-morning to compensate for the nightly study sessions, or that you often nap in the afternoon to recharge, covering your eyes to block bright light can help your brain. Even the simple habit of wearing it at night could tell your body that it’s time for bed. Here are some benefits you can get from using masks at night:
- Extend your REM cycle: Being continuously exposed to artificial light can profoundly interfere with your circadian rhythm. Exposure to bright light signals your brain that it’s time to wake up, not wind down for bed. Using a face mask to darken our surroundings can help us communicate to our brain that it’s time to rest. This can lengthen our REM cycle, allowing more time to reach deeper rest.
- Minimize Sleep Interruptions: Using a mask at night can help block nighttime disturbances.
- Treating Dry Eyes: Dry eye disease, as it is commonly called in the optometry sphere, is a chronic condition that requires ongoing treatment. When your eyes aren’t working properly, they can be treated with massage and heat. A specific mask can be heated in a microwave oven and worn over the eyes to relieve symptoms, pain and treat the condition. However, if you think you may be suffering from it, it is vital that you consult a doctor first.
- Relieves Migraine Pain: Individuals who struggle with migraines are typically more sensitive to light and often complain of bright light increasing pain during an attack. A sleeping mask could be a great accessory to help ease the pain when a migraine occurs.
- Calming effects: The pressure and weight can have a profound calming quality.
- The aromatherapy has gained a lot of popularity in recent times. Scent can have a significant impact on our mood and well-being. Lavender, in particular, is known to promote relaxation, and studies have shown that it can be amazing for getting quality sleep. Masks are available with various scent infusions, and buying one with lavender or another scent known for sleep should help you achieve better rest.