Sleep is one of the most vital components in everybody's life: Without enough of it, you cannot live a healthy, functional lifestyle.
Adults need, on average, seven to nine hours of sleep a night, but many women admit they do not feel rested when they wake up, which negatively affects productivity and moods.
"Lack of sleep can affect our mood, our short term memory, and our concentration levels," said sleep expert Dave Gibson. "What’s more, it has also been linked to a host of health risks including obesity, diabetes, and heart disease."
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While there are many ways you can change your daily routine to ensure you get more rest, using eye masks (also known as sleep masks) regularly can be the key to achieving long and restful sleep throughout the night. Below, the editors of Grazia.com have answered your most pressing questions about the nighttime eye pieces.
Sleep masks are inexpensive tools made from fabric that will essentially block out any light, so your sleep becomes more undisturbed and regular. They have comfortable elastic bands that stretch around your head.
Sleep masks can be the most effective and simplest ways of tackling a sleep issue, especially if you are a light sleeper who is often woken by faint noises and disturbances. This is because when your brain senses complete darkness, it signals the production of melatonin—the chemical of sleep—and will increase the amount of your REM (Rapid Eye Movement) sleep.
With a sleep mask on, you will have a deeper and more relaxing sleep, which can be intensified with the use of ear plugs to totally tune out your surroundings.
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Sleep masks are great for those who find it difficult to fall asleep and stay asleep. Still, it may take you a couple of nights to get used to the sensation of wearing an eye mask.
You may not like sleep masks if you don't wake up easily in the morning, as your brain releases the "waking" hormone called cortisol when light hits the back of your eye in the morning. If you don't have that natural wake-up call, you may find you take longer to fully wake up in the morning and feel functional.
Also, if there are other reasons for your insomnia, you may not find sleep masks very effective—but nonetheless, they're an inexpensive experiment.
If you're concerned whether sleep masks damage eyes, you can rest easy. You can purchase sleep masks that are designed to not put any pressure on your actual eyelids or eyelashes, but instead rest over your face, secured by the elastic band as tight as is comfortable.
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Sleep masks can also help dry eyes. While they do not specifically help with moisture retention, they can stop the flow from outside air pressures, such as air conditioning.
In terms of whether sleep masks help with dark circles, they will certainly make you look well-rested as you will sleep better while wearing them. Dark circles are generally hereditary and caused by dehydration.
You can also purchase sleep masks that have aromatherapy properties, such as calming lavender and chamomile scents, which will help reduce stress and help you to drift off more easily.
If you're concerned about wrinkles, you can rest assured that a sleep mask will not cause any if you buy one that rests comfortably over your face. You can also buy age-defying sleep masks.
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If you have sensitive skin, you might want to buy a sleep mask made from fabric you know won't irritate you (unscented). Make sure you have a couple in rotation that you wash weekly, just like your pillow cases.
Wow, good to know!
This post was written by Ellie Wiseman. For more, check out our sister site Grazia.
Are aches from arthritis or overworked muscles stopping you from falling asleep? Try applying gentle pressure with your thumb to specific points on your hand, a technique called "self-shiatsu." Canadian scientists say it's so effective at soothing pain and making you drowsy that some study volunteers actually fell asleep while doing it!