Sleep Masks Are Back In Fashion
Sleep masks have been used for centuries to help create a darkened, relaxed atmosphere conducive to sleep. Studies have shown that wearing a sleep mask and sleeping in a room that is as dark as possible is very beneficial to the body’s natural sleep cycle.
Shift-workers in particular may benefit from the use of a sleep-mask. Combined with curtains that block-out light, a sleep mask can help create the level of darkness needed to sleep well during the day.
One of the reasons a sleep mask is so beneficial is because it creates the dark atmosphere needed for melatonin production. When we sleep in total darkness, which a sleep mask can help create, our body releases melatonin, our natural sleep hormone. Production of melatonin peaks in the middle of the night and gradually subsides over the course of the night. Melatonin is produced by the pineal gland in the brain, and although it has numerous health benefits, its primary function is to help us get to sleep faster and sleep more soundly.
For optimal melatonin production, it is recommended that we sleep in the darkest possible environment. Just a small amount of artificial light, such as from an alarm clock or another room, can inhibit melatonin production significantly. The use of a sleep mask helps to block out extra light, allowing the right conditions for good levels of melatonin production.
Many people find sleep masks to be very effective and comfortable, although some may find they take a little getting used to. If this is the case and you find that your sleep mask feels a little strange at first, be sure that you’ve chosen a mask that fits well and uses comfortable materials.
Another benefit of using a sleep mask is their portability. Once you are used to using a sleep mask to help get to sleep, you’ll find that sleeping away from home becomes a lot easier. Just pack your sleep mask in your suitcase and where ever you go; you’ll be able to simply pop your sleep mask on and feel just like you’re at home. Sleep masks are also ideal for those who travel by plane or train regularly as they provide the perfect way to shut out the intrusive light and activity that can hinder your relaxation.
Many people find that a sleep mask also provides significant relief from migraines. You may even be able to find a sleep mask that contains a soft gel which can be heated in hot water or the microwave, or cooled by placing in the freezer. Simply pop on your sleep mask and enjoy the soothing benefits of the heat or cold, which ever you prefer. The mask will eventually return to body temperature allowing you to continue sleeping.
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