Do Sleep Masks Really Work?

What is a sleep mask and why would I want one?

A sleep mask is worn over the eyes and aims to achieve total blackout as you sleep – simple as that.

The benefits of a sleep masks are that, in achieving a blackout, you sleep better.

A study by the National Institute of Sleep found that wearing a sleep mask and earplugs can reduce the time it takes to fall asleep and increase REM (Rapid Eye Movement) sleep. In addition they found that because the participants in the study had higher levels of melatonin in their blood, they stayed asleep for longer.

And The National Sleep Foundation says ‘a dark bedroom contributes to better sleep’, so it recommends light-blocking curtains/draperies or a sleep mask to achieve this.

If you have trouble sleeping, depending on the cause of the insomnia, this could be a really simple solution.

For more on getting better sleep so that you wake feeling refreshed, look at http://sleepbetterlivebetter.net/

How do I find a good sleep mask?

Think about the following points when you are looking for a sleep mask – don’t just go for the first, prettiest or cheapest you find. There is a selection of good designs on the right here.

  • The sleep mask should fit snugly over the eyes but not be tight, which means the strap should be adjustable.
  • The materials in the mask should be soft and comforting, dark and washable. Microfibre is great, as are wool or fleece.
  • Consider having 2 so that you have one in use and one in the wash if you use it regularly.
  • There should be no pressure over the eyes and some designs hold the mask away from the face so that they don’t touch the eyes or even the eye lashes.
  • There should also be no pressure on the bridge of the nose or around the eyes and it should conform to your face contours.
  • Some have aromatherapy properties. Natural sedatives can be relaxing and soothing and so help you sleep.

So do sleep masks work?

  • If you live in an area with a lot of ambient light that disturbs you, then probably yes. Is there street lighting or lighting from other parts of the home/passageway that intrudes? Or are you a shift worker and need to sleep during the day? If so think about getting a sleep mask and ear plugs if there’s also noise that prevents you getting good quality sleep.
  • If you travel a lot and want to catch up on sleep/sleep at local time and reduce jet lag then sleep masks may be the answer for you too.
  • If you already have blackout in the room from curtains/blinds/draperies then a sleep mask may not add anything to your sleep experience.
  • If there are other causes of your sleeplessness then they may not work.
  • You should expect to get used to the sensation of wearing a sleep mask over the first few nights’ use and you may feel a bit silly or self conscious. This should pass.
  • Trying a sleep mask is an inexpensive and drug-free way of potentially reducing insomnia. Find out more about sleep masks in this article on modernhealthandfitness.com.


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