We all know the value of a great night’s sleep. Sleeping peacefully helps restore the body and mind and gives us the power to thrive – with energy when we wake. We should all have different stages of sleep.
We move between light sleep, deep sleep, and REM (rapid eye movement, the period where we dream vividly). Each of these sleep periods needs to be in balance but having a solid period of deep sleep is vital.
REM sleep is thought to be the period that helps us deal with emotions. It’s when we dream, and can also contribute towards memory retention.
This is the period of sleep is when your body starts to heal, from the cellular level. It is also when your memories become set as memories. Without deep sleep, you may start to hallucinate and become sick physically and mentally. There doesn’t appear to be anything such thing as “too much deep sleep”. There is certainly such a thing as too little deep sleep!
Increasing deep sleep to improve your energy
One of the best ways to increase deep sleep is to reduce your stress. Of course, not enough deep sleep leaves you stressed out and unable to function, so it becomes a vicious circle. Mediation may help, as well as exercising, eating well, and establishing sleep routines.
To actually get to sleep you can use an eye mask to block out light, which helps to increase melatonin, and white or pink noise to help you relax into sleep.
What to look for in a sleep mask
Wearing a sleep mask can become part of your sleep routine. Not only blocking out light but training the brain into associating wearing the sleep mask as a cue to prepare for sleep. So, obviously, the most important aspect is comfort – and this will vary from person to person, depending on how you sleep and your head shape. Some of the variations to consider when shopping are:
From lightly padded to completely moulded there is a surprising variation to mask shape. For people with long eyelashes might find a moulded mask less disruptive during REM phase sleep. However, others can find that when the mask blocks out any light but they don’t ‘feel’ a mask it is a disconcerting sensation.
Unfortunately, this is going to be a process of trial and error. However, read the reviews before you purchase – but don’t assume a low rating means that it is an unsuitable sleep mask. A lot of the time comfort comes down to personal preference. For example, someone with a larger nose may find a tightly contoured sleep mask less comfortable than someone with a narrow nose.
Natural fibres are generally going to be preferable, which is why silk and cotton are the most popular materials for sleep masks. Silk tends to create a softer mask and produces less friction on the skin, while cotton is generally more washable.
Broadly sleep masks are made one of two ways. The first is a sleep mask that is like a stretch headband, something that is made in a complete piece and you slip over your head. The other option is two separate pieces that wrap around your head and connect (usually with Velcro or similar), for a perfect fit. Unless you have a particularly large or small head then this won’t make too much of a difference for most people.
Like weighted blankets that provide comfort, weighted sleep masks can also provide additional comfort. However, for some the additional weight, no matter how well distributed, is uncomfortable. Weighted sleep masks are likely to be more beneficial to someone who sleeps on their back over any other position.