Are you getting enough sleep? How much sleep do you need? Read on to learn more about how an eye mask works, its proven benefits and how to choose the best sleep mask.
According to the US Center for Disease Control, one in every three US adults do not get the recommended amount of sleep each night. Getting enough sleep is needed for good health. A nation that sleeps well is a healthy nation. If you do not get enough sleep you are at an increased risk for heart diseases and mental health issues. This can even lead to an early grave.
The CDC recommends at least 7 hours of sleep per night for an adult aged 18-60 years. Teens aged 13-18 years need at least 8-10 hours of sleep each night. It is clear that as you age, you need a less and less amount of sleep. Getting the recommended amount of sleep is important, but the sleep quality also matters. Sleep quality simply refers to how well one sleeps. You’re suffering from poor sleep quality if you regularly wake up at night and find it hard to fall asleep again after you wake up.
There are many ways through which you can improve the quality of your sleep. Simple things such as switching off the lights before you sleep and avoiding late-night television can greatly improve the quality of your sleep. Another trick is to sleep with an eye mask, commonly referred to as sleep masks.
Why do you need a sleep mask?
Scientific research has shown that artificial light at night affects your sleep-wake pattern. Such light maybe from your phone lighting up when you receive a message or from the television. Light pollution has been found to distract your body’s circadian rhythm. Intrusive light, especially blue light, at night also disrupts your body’s natural levels of hormone production.
A sleep eye mask prevents you from this excessive intrusive light and that’s exactly why you need it.
A Harvard study found out that blue light at night has a number of health risks. These risks include: mood disorders, cardiovascular complications and an increased risk of development of breast or prostate cancer. With this information, you won’t be misguided to say that a sleep mask is indeed a life saver.
How do Sleep Masks work?
The concept behind sleep masks is simple: blocking out artificial light. Artificial light, especially at night, disrupts your sleep-wake pattern. Eye masks are applied before bed and washed off in the morning. The use of sleep masks originated in South Korea and has spread to become a household item across the globe.
Sleep masks should not be confused with clay masks or sheet masks. Whereas sleep masks are left on the skin overnight, sheet masks are removed after a given period of time. You can use a sleep mask every night especially if you stay in drier climates to take advantage of its hydrating benefit.
The use of sleep masks requires no effort. First, wash your face to cleanse off the makeup. Now apply a sleep mask in the place of your usual face cream.
How to choose the best sleep mask
Shopping for a sleep mask is not an easy assignment. There are many questions you have to ask yourself when buying a sleep mask. If you have challenges getting a full night of sleep, a sleep mask is the best solution for you. With an eye mask, you’ll fall asleep even when there is an excessive amount of light in the room. Some sleep masks, those with side panels, also block out sound. But how do you choose the best sleep mask?
To pick the best eye mask, there are important factors that you will have to keep in mind as discussed below:
- The material the mask is made from- Eye masks are available in a few different materials. The material from which the eye mask is made from should be gentle on your skin. The material should also absorb less of your face cream. Skincare experts such as Debra Jaliman, MD, a New York City-based Dermatologist, recommend silk as the best material. Soft cotton material is also a suitable substitute for silk. The downside of silk is that compared to other fabrics, it is relatively expensive. Some masks have foam added to keep them in shape.
- Fit– you’ll only enjoy the benefits of a sleep mask if it fits properly. It can also get uncomfortable wearing a sleep mask that doesn’t fit properly. A mask that is too large to fit your head will likely fall off and expose you to light.
- Ease of Cleaning– you want a material that is easy to clean and maintain. Materials such as mulberry silk require extra care and attention. A mask with a good stitching quality will not fall apart after a few washes.
- The Shape– the size and shape of the sleep mask are important factors that you should always consider. If you sleep on the side and tend to move around as you sleep, then the sleep mask you buy should fit properly and not move. A mask with side panels is a good option if you desire to block out sound too. In conclusion, there is no one-size-fits-all when it comes to eye masks, choose the size that suits the size of your head.
- The Price- like every purchase decision, price is an important factor to have in mind. Choose the type of mask that you can comfortably afford. The price of a sleep mask is determined by the material from which the mask is made and its design. Sleep masks made from silk tend to be a bit pricey.
Proven benefits of a sleep mask
This study by the Sleep Foundation found out that sleep masks come with both physical and psychological benefits.
To start with, a sleep mask will help you fall asleep faster. With a sleep mask, you won’t turn and toss in bed as you struggle to fall asleep. Because the sleep mask gives you complete darkness, your body’s melatonin levels are boosted.
Secondly, sleep masks help reduce depression. Completely shutting your eyes in darkness helps reduce depression. Lastly, a sleep mask leaves your skin looking all smooth. Your skin will not show any of aging if you use a sleep mask frequently.
In conclusion, not every eye mask will work you for. You have to dedicate your time and energy to finding the right sleep mask for you. With a proper eye mask, good quality sleep is guaranteed.