Tuesday, June 6, 2023

Do eye masks really help you sleep?

Artificial lighting makes it harder to sleep, suppressing the production of melatonin, a hormone that regulates the sleep-wake cycle.

By Daphne Clarance: Sleep is one of the most important activities for maintaining a healthy body. Experts believe that most diseases can be kept at bay if a person receives quality sleep regularly.

Ensuring that your room is dark enough is an essential aspect of getting sound sleep. Artificial lighting makes it harder to sleep, suppressing the production of melatonin, which helps the body to sleep. Melatonin is a hormone produced in the brain that regulates the sleep-wake cycle of the body.

“Artificial light may make it harder to fall asleep by suppressing our body’s natural sleep coordinator – Melatonin. Sleeping well helps to build mental resilience and promotes good mental health and overall well-being,” said Dr YongChiat Wong, Group Head Scientist, Medical & Technical Affairs, P&G Health.

Benefits of wearing an eye mask while sleeping

A study by Sleep Journal has pointed out that blocking out ambient light while you are sleeping can improve alertness and memory the following day. Eye masks are effective tools to help you cut off any artificial light that could affect your sleep since it affects melatonin production.
Another study in 2010, published in the National Library of Medicine showed that patients in an intensive care unit (ICU) who were regularly distracted by light and noise were able to spend more time in REM (Rapid eye movement) sleep while wearing a sleep mask.
Eye masks also provide a soothing feeling to the face and eyes. The soft texture of most eye masks produced in the market have cushioning that gives a relaxing feeling to people.
Besides blocking out the light, eye masks could have a calming effect on the eyes, helping you to sleep faster.
However, Dr Wong states that even though an eye mask helps you sleep better, they aren’t useful for sleeping difficulties caused by other factors.

“Other factors like ageing, irregular sleep schedule because of work or travel that also affect our body’s melatonin levels, thus, causing a hindrance in quality sleep,” said Dr Wong.

In these cases, oral intake of sleep supplements containing melatonin close to bedtime can further support external habits to help our overall sleep cycle, added Dr Wong.

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