A couple months ago I was flying overnight on Virgin Atlantic to London, England- an 8 hour flight. I really enjoy flying Virgin because their service is always outstanding and they give passengers a FREE glass of wine plus a glass with dinner! Needless to say I was feeling very warm and happy while I watched movies that were still in theaters in America for free as well. The food they serve is international, I had a chicken teriyaki dish that was delish and piping hot. Their flight attendants are friendly and they actually give you a little bag of flying goodies which include fuzzy socks, a toothbrush with paste, headphones, earplugs and a sleep eye mask. While I didn’t think much of the sleep mask it came in very handy when it was time to get some rest. My plane happened to be only half full so I claimed an entire row of 4 seats, lifted up the arm rests, put on the eye mask and went to sleep.
When I arrived in London I packed my silky red eye mask in my bag and caught the bus to my grandparents house. Over the next 5 nights and 6 days I continued to use my eye mask to get rest in a house full of people and due to my jet lag, often times during the day. Ever since that trip I have gotten the best sleep of my life by using the eye mask and after wondering what the difference was I concluded these 3 reasons why everyone should wear an eye mask to sleep:
1. You won’t be tempted to look at your phone
According to the Brigham and Women’s Hospital in Boston, after a group of participants used an ipad for four hours before bed for five nights in a row they had lower levels of melatonin- the hormone that helps you go to sleep at night- shorter restorative REM cycles, delayed circadian rhythms, and felt sleepier the next morning despite getting eight hours of sleep. The blue light from many devices, including your phone, can have a negative effect on our melatonin levels because this type of light tells our body to stay awake and alert- Sleep Sound Institute
I experienced better sleep when using the sleep eye mask because once I put it on it seemed to alleviate the urge to check my phone to keep my brain occupied. It was a physical barrier between my brain and the screen. Rarely after I put the eye mask on do I take it off to address the phone and this used to be a problem for me. I used to lay down for bed and scroll through my timeline for hours sometimes, I am sure you can relate. Many of us do it simply because we cannot turn our brain off. An eye mask will help you break the screen addiction and end the cycle of poor sleep.
2. Other people will not easily disturb your sleep
My housemate happens to go to work at 6am and must walk past my room to leave the house. I used to wake up every morning because he would turn on the light in the hallway, I have my door slightly cracked because my cat runs my life and likes to leave the room sometimes. I don’t technically wake up until 8am so when I used to wake up at 6am I would try to fall back asleep but if you are like me the sleep you get after being disturbed leaves you feeling groggy, unsatisfied and tired. If you have a spouse or child that gets up to go to work or use the restroom and disturbs you the solution is using an eye mask for sleep.
Once I started using the eye mask I was less likely to be disturbed and my theory is because 1. I couldn’t see the light go on and my spidey senses weren’t alerted, 2. the mask encourages my eyes to stay closed and stay in REM sleep and 3. because my sleep was deeper and my brain was calm my sense of hearing was also not alerted. Throughout the night sounds can wake you briefly- you may not even be aware this is happening. It lowers the quality of your sleep so while you may have gotten 8 hours you can still wake up exhausted. People who need the tv to sleep are robbing themselves and their partners of quality sleep. My partner often times watches TV into the night, I slip on my eye mask and it drift off into another world, no ear plugs necessary. It’s cheap and might just save your relationship!
3. Sleep anytime, anywhere
Daylight Savings, a night shift or even just a long day can leave you wanting to sleep but not able to due to too much light- natural or otherwise. Lack of sleep can actually affect you in more ways than general tiredness. If you are trying to sleep weight, missing sleep might cause you gain weight. Sleep deprivation can also cause decreased brain function, memory problems, heart disease, high blood pressure, depression, weakened immune system and make you more prone to accidents. So it is very important that shift workers such as nurses get their rest when they can. An eye mask for sleeping helps block out distractions and the total darkness allows you sleep anywhere, anytime. In the winter time the sun rises at 7am, I am able to maintain deep sleep until 8am because of my sleep mask, I wake up refreshed and ready to start my day!
Some people think wearing a sleeping mask is posh and bougie (cue Audrey Hepburn) but the truth is majority of people are not getting enough quality sleep and it affects our driving, working, studying, parenting and health. My life has truly changed for the better all because a little red sleep eye mask entered my life on a Virgin Atlantic flight- it’s nothing special but if you would like a state of the art sleep mask check out the recommendations below: