Sometimes it pays to be in the dark, especially when it’s bedtime. Your room may be cool, the pillow nice and soft, but you won’t get quality rest unless it’s pitch black. If you have trouble sleeping, it might be a good idea to try a sleep mask.
Quality Logo Products are by no means sleep specialists, but we do sell thousands of custom sleep masks every year. Hotels, airlines, and spas order them all the time, and many have asked us whether they’re actually effective. We did the research and looked at the opinions of experts to get the answer!
Here’s everything you need to know about how sleeping masks work and why you may want to wear one!
What is a Sleeping Mask?
Made from silk or cotton, a sleeping mask is a blindfold that you wear over your eyes at night. It doesn’t replace 8 hours of quality sleep, but it does block any light that would otherwise disrupt your rest.
What is a Sleeping Mask For?
A sleeping mask completely covers both eyes, preventing light from creeping through. This includes the blue light from display screens, the natural light from your window, and any artificial lights in and outside of your home.
Sleep masks help block:
- Blue Light: the light emitted from your smartphone, laptop, television, or tablet
- Natural Light: the light that comes through your windows
- Artificial Light: the light that comes from streetlamps, digital alarm clocks, lamps, etc.
Light is the ultimate sleep killer. It stops the production of melatonin in our brains, which is a hormone that regulates our circadian rhythm. We won’t sleep as peacefully without melatonin, which is exactly why sleep masks are so beneficial.
Is it Good to Wear a Sleep Mask?
Everybody is a little different, but if you’re sensitive to light, a sleep mask may be a good investment. It blocks any brightness in the room for a more restorative rest.
According to experts, sleeping masks are recommended for:
Some people can sleep through a hurricane, while others wake up when a feather falls on the carpet. If you find yourself in the latter group, it may be worth wearing a sleep mask to bed.
Anyone With Photophobia
Photophobia is the medical term used to describe anyone who experiences light sensitivity. The American Academy of Ophthalmology reports that 80% of Americans have this issue, so if you’re one of them, it may be worth trying a sleep mask.
People With Blue or Green Eyes
It may seem like a myth, but it’s actually true! According to Duke Health, people with blue or green eyes are more sensitive to light. You may want to start wearing a sleeping mask if you have light eyes.
Streetlamps, traffic lights, and the overhead lights in airplanes all affect your sleep while traveling. Buy a good sleep mask, and maybe a neck pillow, to help you rest a bit easier on a trip.
Night Shift Workers
You’re basically a vampire if you work the graveyard shift. Unlike real vampires, you won’t burn from the natural daylight coming from the window, but it can make it tough for you to fall asleep. Try a sleep mask!
Nighttime TV Watchers
If you have a partner who falls asleep with the TV on, a sleep mask could be for you. The blue light from his or her Netflix binge-watch could be running your chances for quality shuteye!
35 million people suffer from migraine headaches in the United States. Do you get these terrible headaches? Start wearing a sleep mask, which helps cut down on painful light exposure.
It’s been a long day, and you really need a nap. Slip on a sleep mask so you can block any light in the room. Now all you need is your kids and dog to pipe down, and you’re good to go!
Cleveland Clinic found that as much as half of the U.S. adult population has experienced symptoms of insomnia. Try a sleeping mask if the light is causing you to toss and turn.
Did you just pull an all-nighter twice in a row? You really need sleep, but it’s tough in a dorm room, especially if your roommate has a lava lamp and plays video games all night. A sleep mask could be your solution!
Does a Sleeping Mask Help?
There is no exact correlation between sleep masks and better rest. However, scientists find that darkness leads to more melatonin and an increased time in REM, which accounts for 20% to 25% of total sleep in healthy adults.
Sleeping in complete darkness is also reportedly better for our mental health. A study published in the American Journal of Epidemiology tracked the depression levels of 863 elderly adults for two years. 92% of the people in the study showed little to no depressive symptoms, and this correlated with the fact that they weren’t exposed to light while they slept.
Overall, a sleep mask is not a cure, but it may help improve the quality of your rest. It’s definitely worth trying if you have a tough time sleeping at night.
Do I Need to Wash a Sleeping Mask?
Face oils can get trapped under a sleep mask, causing acne and unwanted blemishes. Avoid this issue by washing the mask with cold water and a gentle detergent at least once a week.
Put your sleeping mask in a pillowcase or laundry bag so it doesn’t get tangled in the machine. You should then air dry since the heat from the dryer could be too harsh for the material.
What is a Weighted Sleep Mask?
Weighted sleep masks are meant to provide gentle pressure as you sleep. They’re stuffed with microbeads, flaxseeds, or sand, weighing about 1 pound.
The extra weight is supposed to help relieve sinus pressure, sleep anxiety, and tension around the eyes. Talk to a medical professional if you want to try wearing a weighted sleep mask at night.
Which Sleeping Mask is the Best?
A good sleeping mask is one that covers both your eyes completely and doesn’t move around when you toss and torn. Choose one in your favorite color or that’s printed with a quote that makes you smile.
Here’s what to look for when shopping for sleep masks:
As you move around at night, the sleep mask should stay in place. It should totally cover your eyes, including your periphery vision. Look for a mask that’s snug, but not too tight.
The fabric should be soft, lightweight, and comfortable. Silk is often recommended since it’s so delicate and smooth, but cotton is also a good option.
You want the sleeping mask to be the perfect fit without feeling constricted. For that reason, look for one that has an adjustable strap.
A sleep mask can help reduce puffiness around your eyes, especially if it’s heated, beaded, or weighted. You can also buy a scented eye mask for aromatherapy.
Pick a mask with personality! Do you love cats? Buy a sleep mask with cute ears and whiskers. Are you looking for something funny? Choose a mask printed with “Leave Me Alone” on the front. When in doubt, you can always go with your favorite color.
Sleep masks are cheaper than blackout curtains, but that doesn’t mean you want to spend too much. You can easily find a quality mask for less than $10.
Why Should I Use a Sleep Mask?
Humans are naturally diurnal, which means it’s in our DNA to function in the day and sleep at night. Since our brains are hardwired to associate the dark with sleep, and light penetrates our eyelids even when they’re closed, a sleeping mask could be your key to better Z’s.
The Bottom Line
A sleep mask isn’t a cure, but it may help ease restlessness. Pair it with deep breathing, a cozy blanket, and no caffeine before bed, and you may be sleeping like a baby tonight!
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