For many people, falling asleep easily and getting restful sleep seems more like a mirage than a real possibility. Poor sleep can be due to lots of different factors. Whether you suffer from insomnia, are a light sleeper, can’t fall asleep easily, or find yourself waking multiple times every night, not getting good-quality nocturnal sleep can have long-term repercussions on your health.
Sleep Problems Take a Toll
If you suffer from sleep problems, you are likely to feel exhausted, lethargic, and moody during the day. You may find yourself developing other medical conditions. Sleep problems have been linked to conditions like type 2 diabetes, cardiovascular disease, obesity, and depression.
You may have already tried lots of ways of getting a better night's sleep, like buying blackout curtains for blocking light to sleep in total darkness. Or boosting your body’s melatonin production by eating certain foods or taking supplements. Whatever you've tried, if you are reading this, chances are that you still haven’t quite cracked the code to get better sleep.
Sleep Masks Can Help Improve Your Sleep Quality
While there's no easy solution to getting good sleep, there's one small change you can make that can certainly help. Sleeping masks are underrated tools that can help you drastically improve your sleep quality. This is because they block out light and create a sleep-conducive environment.
If you're wondering whether wearing something over your eyes every night to block light is safe, that is understandable. You wouldn't want to begin wearing a sleep mask only to discover that you're doing something bad to your eyes! But don't worry—as long as you choose a good quality sleeping eye mask and care for it properly, wearing a sleep mask is completely safe.
If you are curious to find out more about the different types of eye masks, their benefits, and whether or not eye masks are safe to wear, then read on.
The Benefits of Wearing an Eye Mask
A number of studies have demonstrated that the combined, regular use of eye masks and earplugs during sleep can help achieve deeper sleep. This is because a sleeping aid such as an eye mask blocks out most of the outside stimulation, communicating to the brain that you are in a safe environment that is conducive to good sleep.
In turn, sleeping consistently well has a wide range of benefits, including:
Improving many brain functions, such as short-term memory, focus, and alertness
- Promoting cell renewal and regeneration
- Strengthening the immune system
- Improving the mood and decreasing feelings of stress and anxiety
You may want to combine wearing your sleeping mask with other strategies to sleep better. These can include adopting a bedtime routine, not using electronic devices before bed, eating a healthy and varied diet, curbing your caffeine and alcohol intake, and exercising every day—and if you can do it outdoors, that’s even better.
Are Sleeping Masks Safe?
The potential benefits far outweigh the minimal risks involved in wearing sleep masks. Wearing an eye mask as an adult with healthy eyes is generally safe. Not only is it safe, but because it helps promote better-quality sleep, a sleeping mask is also a great way to enjoy good physical and mental health.
If you wear contact lenses, suffer from blurry vision, or are prone to eye problems such as dryness or conjunctivitis, you might be wondering if there are any risks that come with wearing a sleep mask nightly. However, when worn correctly, wearing sleep masks poses very little risk to your eyes.
Possible risks to wearing sleep masks
There aren't many risks involved in wearing a sleep mask for a prolonged period of time nightly. These are very rare and can be easily avoided by making sure you get the right type of sleep mask and care for it well.
|Eye Mask Risk||What You Can Do|
|Allergic reaction||Buy an eye mask made of hypoallergenic silk|
|Blurred vision||Make sure your eye mask has an adjustable strap and fits you properly|
|Irritation or infection||Wash your eye mask regularly|
If you have any doubts, questions, or concerns, remember to speak with your eye doctor.
How Do I Use a Sleep Mask Safely?
1. Make sure it fits well
Make sure your sleeping mask fits properly. A mask that's too tight can put pressure on your eyes and decrease blood flow, which is not safe. A sleep mask that is too loose will not allow for complete darkness and will not effectively block light. A little bit of gentle pressure is okay to ensure a good fit and should not cause any eye issues.
Blissy Sleep Masks are some of the most comfortable around. The elastic band offers the perfect amount of pressure for the average head to keep the mask in place without any discomfort.
2. Get one made from good-quality fabric
The overall quality of sleep masks made of natural fibers like silk, bamboo, and cotton is far superior to ones made of synthetic materials like polyester or nylon. Silk sleep masks are best because they don't trap moisture, are hypoallergenic (lessening the risk of eye irritation), and the most gentle for your skin.
3. Clean and care for it properly
It's a good idea to remove makeup and wash your face before putting on your sleep mask for the night—this will help it stay cleaner longer. If your sleep mask comes with a case (like the Blissy Sleep Mask does), then store it in the case when not in use to further protect it from getting dirty.
Wash your sleep mask once a week according to the care instructions. If you don't do laundry this often, you can simply hand wash it with some gentle detergent in the sink and then hang it to dry. (Or get two eye masks to switch out every other week).
3. Sleep masks and children
Sleeping masks are a no-no for babies and infants as they pose a suffocation risk. Older children should only use kid-friendly masks in special circumstances (like when a normal sleep routine is disturbed) and under the supervision of an adult.
4. Avoid extreme temperatures
Take special care with hot or cold sleep masks. There are many different sleep masks on the market including regular cloth eye masks, heated eye masks, and even a gel eye mask which can be tossed into the freezer or refrigerator to make it cold.
The skin around your eyes is some of the most delicate on your body and extreme temperatures can cause skin irritation and other negative side effects. Exercise extreme caution when using temperature with sleep masks.
What Are the Main Types of Eye Masks
When you think about a sleeping mask, you might be picturing a standard cloth mask. But there are actually several different types of sleeping masks. Below is a list of the most popular ones:
- Natural cloth eye masks: These include masks made of fabrics such as cotton, cashmere, silk, and velvet. You might even be able to find fleece masks, if that type of fabric works for you. Cloth masks are generally the most used by a wide range of people as they meet many of the most common requirements for getting a good night’s sleep.
- Cushioned masks: These are thicker cloth masks that contain cushioning which make for a more comfortable fit and are more effective at blocking light.
- Gel masks: These can be a good choice if you enjoy feeling some light cool pressure on your eyes, as gel masks are made of a cooling fabric that might help relieve allergy symptoms, eye irritation, and other discomforts in the eye area. Just be careful to not put them in the freezer as extreme cold can be damaging for your skin.
- Heated eye mask: Heating eye masks are slightly warm, and they are supposed to help your eyes to produce tears, which can be helpful for people who have dry eyes. We recommend caution when using heat on the eyes. Always consult your doctor.
- Weighted masks: These masks have small beads sewn inside the fabric to provide a slight pressure on your eyes. It's best to only wear these for a short period of time, like for when you have a headache. It's not recommended to put pressure on the eyes for prolonged periods night after night. A weighted eye mask is not a sleep-quality mask.
Enjoy a Great Night’s Sleep, Every Night
To finally reap all the benefits of a good night’s sleep, try one of Blissy’s cushioned sleep masks. Made with 100% mulberry silk, these beautiful, soft, comfortable masks are the perfect ally to a good night’s rest.
- CDC - Sleep and Chronic Disease - Sleep and Sleep Disorders. (2018, August 8). CDC. Retrieved May 13, 2022, from https://www.cdc.gov/sleep/about_sleep/chronic_disease.html#:%7E:text=Notably%2C%20insufficient%20sleep%20has%20been,disease%2C%20obesity%2C%20and%20depression.
- Sissons, B. (2021, July 30). Do eye masks work for dry eyes? Medical News Today. Retrieved May 13, 2022, from https://www.medicalnewstoday.com/articles/eye-mask-for-dry-eyes#:%7E:text=People%20should%20follow%20instructions%20carefully,mask%20to%20treat%20dry%20eyes.
- Sprabary, A. (2022, March 16). Are all eye masks safe to sleep in? All About Vision. Retrieved May 13, 2022, from https://www.allaboutvision.com/resources/buyers-guide/sleep-masks/#:%7E:text=Blurred%20vision%20%E2%80%93%20Sleeping%20with%20an,vision%20when%20you%20wake%20up.