The negative effects of sleep deprivation on the mind and body alike are well known, and include decreased work productivity, slow physical reactions and poor decision making. The good news is that as long as there is no underlying health problem, you can improve your sleep naturally.
Sleep masks and earplugs are two of the most widely used items for obtaining the darkness and silence that help induce sleep. Sleep masks are also called eye masks because the fabric covers both eyes, blocking all light.
Due to the elasticated strap, the mask stays on your eyes, helping your brain to produce melatonin, a chemical that enables sleep. These masks are an affordable way to help you fall and stay asleep, and there is no medication involved, so there are no side effects; find out more on Relaxation Masks.
Sleep masks and earplugs can be used both by night (for instance, if there are street lights that disturb your sleep) and by day. Eye masks are particularly useful during the day for people who work in shifts.
Who should use a sleep mask
There are other people in dire need of a proper sleep mask, aside from night shifters. Just some examples are travelers and people spending the night at the hotel, people in the hospital, as well as people seeking relaxation at home.
Given this multitude of uses, you may be wondering which type of sleep mask is better for you. Here is what you should bear in mind when you go shopping for the right eye mask.
It should be so comfy to wear that you barely remember you have it on. The coziest sleep masks are contoured so that there is zero pressure on your eyes. Moreover, the design of some masks prevents them from also touching your nose, either because they are contoured that way, or because they feature a deep cut meant to perfectly fit your anatomy.
Check that the mask blocks 100% of the light, especially if you will be using it during daytime. Also consider purchasing a mask that is made from a fully breathable and comfortable material, like pure cotton (natural materials are a must for people with sensitive skin).
A mask with the above features is suitable for all uses, both at home and on the road. Nonetheless, travelers should look for additional traits, such as a handy carrying pouch. Ideally, the sleep mask for travelers should also come with a set of earplugs to make the journey even cozier.