woman in bed with sleep mask

Are Sleep Masks Dangerous? The Ultimate Sleep Mask Guide

Are sleep masks dangerous and do they improve your sleep? How to get the best out of a sleep mask? In this guide, you’ll find out about absolutely everything you need to ever know about sleep masks.

At first, I’ll tell you that sleep masks have no negative side effects! They have a lot of positive ones though. For example, you will fall asleep earlier. It makes you feel comfortable. On top of that, you can take a nap in bright daylight and you can combine it with another little helper you can get everywhere to get the best possible sleep quality. You should definitely give them a try.

You will read about:

  • What is a sleep mask?
  • Do sleep masks improve your sleep?
  • When to use a Sleep Mask?
  • Are Sleep Masks Dangerous or Bad for your eyes?
  • Are Sleep Masks Bad for your Skin?
  • My personal experience and why I wear a sleep mask
  • Why should you wear a Sleep Mask?
  • How To Start using a sleep mask?
  • How To Get The Most out of a Sleep Mask
  • Where can you Buy a Sleep Mask?
  • Who Should Use A Sleep Mask?

What is a sleep mask?

A sleep mask (or eye mask) is a mask covering your eyes that blocks out all the light from your eyes. You’ve most likely seen one on TV where nearly every movie character uses a sleep mask at night. Usually, it is made of cotton or silk. There are even some exotic versions like cotton masks filled with herbs or plastic masks filled with a cooling gel for your eyes.
The idea of a sleep mask is to simulate total darkness regardless of where you are and which time it is. At the time you put on an eye mask for the first time, you’ll be surprised how comfortable it is.

Do sleep masks improve your sleep?

Melatonin Production

When you wear a sleep mask, you will feel like it’s midnight. There is absolutely no light reaching your eyes, which makes your body increase the melatonin production. Melatonin is a hormone produced by our brain to regulate our sleep schedule. Its production is affected by the light exposure of our eyes. In absolute darkness, you will get tired faster and therefore reach phases of deep sleep (REM) earlier. These REM phases are often affected by drinking and smoking so by using a sleep mask you will be able to counteract this effect.

Comfort

Some people say sleep masks improve their sleep because they have a relaxing effect and feel comfortable on the eyes. In the cold winter a sleep mask will keep your eyes warm and in the summer heat, it will protect your eyes from air conditioning.
According to research and my personal experience, I can definitely say using a sleep mask makes a noticeable difference. Even if you are just annoyed by for example a small blinking light at night an eye mask comes in handy.

If you want your sleep quality to skyrocket (and I’m not overstating this), there’s one more secret weapon next to sleep masks. You have to check out the crazy experience using earplugs I made and why you can’t miss them as the best sleep improvement tool.

When to use a Sleep Mask?

Oftentimes you can’t sleep because you are (subconsciously) distracted by lights. As we just discussed, room lighting or sunlight signals your brain to block the production of melatonin. For example, you are trying to take a nap at daytime while the sun is shining through your window, you are on a plane and the lights are turned on or you have a blinking light somewhere in your room. A sleep mask will block out all the light from these distractions and make you fall asleep faster. People even use sleep masks in messy, untidy rooms to feel better and just get a black cover between them and the rest of the world. Anyways, you don’t need to wear one in just these situations. You can use it as an everyday-item and there won’t be any downsides to it.

natural sleep program long

Sleep masks are also great to use in the Natural Sleep Program! With the strategies in this guide, I managed to decrease my fall-asleep time from one hour to just 3 minutes.
You will learn exactly what to do to stop waking up tired. I promise that you won’t regret to give the program a try!

Are Sleep Masks Dangerous or Bad for your eyes?

Are sleep masks dangerous? I thought that’s an interesting question so I started thinking about it. Some people wonder if wearing a sleep mask has negative side effects to it. According to my research, there are no downsides to it, except for if you’re allergic to the material it is made of. Obviously, in this case, it’s bad for your eyes because you’re allergic to the material. It’s not the mask itself that’s dangerous.
People wonder if it’s bad to wear a sleep mask pressing on your eyes for a whole night. Sleep masks are designed to be comfortable, you won’t even feel a good one on your face. The light pressure has no side effects. Some people find this light pressure calming and say it’s like wearing your favorite socks on a cold winter day. Are sleep masks dangerous for babies? That’s a question I’ll discuss later on.

woman face acne

Are Sleep Masks Bad for your Skin?

Pimples and Blackheads

Usually, blackheads and pimples grow because of a high sebum production (skin oils) and dirt accumulating on your skin which you don’t clean off thoroughly and regularly. Because a sleep mask covers a part of your face in cloth, does it support pimple growth? Definitely not, it presses too lightly, so there won’t be more oil and dirt collecting on your face than without a sleep mask. Does it damage or dry out your skin because it rubs on your face while you sleep? No, it doesn’t because of the light pressure. A good mask also fits well and won’t move much while you wear it. I’ve actually written an article talking about why sleeping on a pillow can be bad for your skin. But that doesn’t apply for a sleep mask, so no worries!

Sweat Accumulation

If you are using an eye mask in hot nights and sweat accumulates on it, you should hand wash it with a little bit of soap. In case you don’t, it might start smelling sometime.
Before you buy a sleep mask, inform about the material it is made of. If you are allergic to it, you should look for another one.
If you are not allergic to the material itself, a sleep mask is definitely not bad for your skin.

My personal experience and why I wear a sleep mask

Living in a Student Dorm

It’s simple. I was always struggling to find quiet and sound sleep. I’m not sure if it was insomnia (that’s much worse I guess) but I was needing up to 2 hours to fall asleep regularly. Also, college students are always on track. Some wake up at 5 am, some stay awake until 5 am. There are people playing drums at 2 am and others are ringing your doorbell at 4 am asking to get in because they forgot their keys. And I am a university student living in that dorm. It’s never quiet here and always there is something going on.

My personal strategy

On top of that, there is a street lamp shining through my window and my curtains don’t keep enough light out of my room as long as I don’t tape them to the wall. At first, I started using earplugs and I went from needing hours to fall asleep to 20-30 minutes. Then I found out about sleep masks because my family recommended using one. I tried it and was surprised. By now, I combine earplugs with a sleep mask. From this moment on, I am able to fall asleep in about 5-15 minutes. Of course, I also use my strategies to fall asleep faster I described in this post: 5 Habits Killing Your Sleep Schedule. That’s my story.

woman with sleep mask

Why should you wear a Sleep Mask?

Some people spend money on sleep medication. By using a sleep mask you can reduce the cost of medication because your sleep quality and melatonin production improve. Also, you will fall asleep sooner and you will improve your sleep schedule. I guarantee you to bring your sleep quality to the next level if you follow these 5 steps to improve your sleep schedule and use a sleep mask. A sleep mask also feels comfortable and soft like good socks for winter as I said. It cuts you off from your surroundings and distractions and simulates a dark place you can sleep in regardless of what is around you.

How To Start using a sleep mask?

A sleep mask is like brushing your teeth: it’s a good habit. You can start by getting a sleep mask online or at a local store (I heard Walmart sells them in the US). The very first night will be a bit unusual. You’ve never slept with a sleep mask before. But it’s one of the easiest habits to adapt in my opinion. Just put your sleep mask on your nightstand and every time you go to bed, you put your eye mask on. It’s as easy as that.
Your second night will be better and no later than your third night you will feel comfortable with it and start seeing the results.

If you have no idea about sleep masks (like me some time ago) and want to get one (that’s comfortable and lasts a long time), you must read about the different sleep mask materials beforehand. I collected all the information in one place. So check out The Most Comfortable Sleep Mask Material (And which sleep masks you must avoid!).

Measure your progress

There’s an app called “Sleep as Android” you can use to track your sleep with. Try to track your sleep behavior before starting to wear an eye mask and after you started wearing one. Did it improve? Write a comment at the bottom of the post and tell me!

How To Get The Most out of a Sleep Mask

I live in a college dorm where street lamps are shining through my window and I have really noisy neighbors. Therefore I love to combine a sleep mask with earplugs. Complete darkness and silence. I promise it doubled my sleep quality. I definitely recommend you to try that out to get rid of all distractions and to be able to fall asleep anywhere anytime.

baby sleep covered eyes

Can babies and kids use sleep masks?

There are sleep masks available for babies and children. But do you recommend getting one for your baby? Yes, shutting your babies eyes and giving him or her the possibility to have a nap on a trip would be great. Too many impressions often overexcite children and you want to calm them down. A sleep mask is a good possibility for you to quiet down your child.
Personally, I wouldn’t recommend giving babies a sleep mask because there is a risk it will slip onto the babies nose and make it hard for your baby to breathe. In this case you could answer “Are sleep masks dangerous” with a yes! For babies, there is a better alternative called “nap caps” or sun visor. It’s like a cap with a big sun shield covering the babies face. This keeps your babies nose free and you won’t have to be afraid anymore.

Where can you Buy a Sleep Mask?

You should be able to get one in a local drugstore or on Amazon. I recommend taking a look at the material (I prefer cotton or silk) and the reviews of the product. You can start getting good sleep masks for around 10$. If you need one for daytime naps and you can try them out before you buy them, check if they let any light go through at the nose area. At night time that only makes little difference and is not important.
I was surprised by how cheap I could get this 100% Silk Sleep Mask from Amazon.

Who Should Use A Sleep Mask?

Everyone who wants to have better quality sleep can use a sleep mask! It’s a must-have item, especially for shift-workers who have to sleep at daytime on a regular basis like nurses, policemen or truck drivers.
Also, college students who often sit in front of their computer late into the night studying should use a sleep mask to improve their sleep quality.
Little kids and children will love them and you will love them too because you can make your children sleep whenever you want.
If you are sick and lying in bed the whole day, a sleep mask will benefit you as you will have a calm sleep. And in case you are a frequent napper, you will love having one.

Summary

Everything in short

A sleep mask is an awesome little tool to help you bring your sleep quality to the next level. Although there is a fear nobody knows where it’s coming from, they are not dangerous at all. They benefit not only your sleep itself but also your wellbeing and comfort on trips and long rides. On stressful days, you might be able to nap as you’ve never napped before. If you didn’t try them out yet, I’d definitely recommend doing so otherwise, you are missing out on improvement. I actually was inspired to write all this because I saw of people asking “Are sleep masks dangerous?” on the internet (no!).

Check out my other content to keep improving

To get even more out of your daily sleep, definitely take a look at my other posts, where I tell you for example about habits ruining your sleep schedule or this really special article: You won’t believe which crazy health benefits sleeping without a pillow has.
And that was all you ever need to know about wearing a sleep mask! You’ve now become an expert. Now, I would love to see you sharing your experiences and questions down in the comments! I will answer everything that’s on your mind.

Comments

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