A Sleep Aid that Counters Light
Two situations in which you could use a sleep mask:
- Shift worker sleeping during the day
- Canceling extraneous light sources at night
The human body runs according to a carefully timed sleep-wake cycle, otherwise known as the circadian rhythm. Your body’s biological clock is incremented to a 24-hour period and takes its sleep and wake cues from changes in the natural light. The melatonin levels in your brain increase after nightfall and continue increasing to induce sleep until the middle of the night, when the chemical begins to decrease and ultimately fall to a low level after dawn, or when the sky begins to brighten. Even if you work night shift, your body stays tuned to its natural biological clock, the natural circadian rhythm. For this reason it’s not unusual for night shift workers to suffer some sort of insomnia or sleep disturbance.
But other light disturbances can hamper your sleep at night. For city dwellers, bright manmade outdoor light is a given. Unless you have invested in light-canceling shades to darken your room you’re suffering with light pollution at night. Even the bright LED light of a bedside alarm clock can disrupt your sleep as can a TV left on or the bedside lamp while your bed partner reads. Any kind of light that enters your sleep space is a potential threat.
Using a Sleep Mask
Ever tried to sleep during the day or when traveling? All types of light sources can disrupt your sleep. Any disruption in a normal sleep cycle can create significant sleep deprivation. Sleep masks are simple sleep aids designed to block out light letting your eyes relax and teasing your body into darkness and slumber.
Types of Sleep Masks
Once upon a time a sleep mask was a simple soft eye mask taht covered your eyes and was fastened with an elastic band that wrapped around your head. Today the sleep product market is flooded with all varieties of sleep masks from simple to fancy.
- Basic sleep masks
- Aromatherapy sleep masks
- Contoured sleep mask
- Fun sleep masks
- Designer sleep masks
- Gel masks
Features may include hypoallergenic materials, luxury materials like silk and satin, aromatherapy scent, built-in ear covers, and contours that don’t put pressure on the sensitive areas around your eyes. Products are designed to block out light, some more effectively than others.
Learn to understand the value of “lights out.”