If you are using your sleep mask just for sleeping, you are not being creative enough. Most likely there are other activities that you enjoy doing with your eyes closed, such as relaxing or meditating, so why not use a sleep mask in those cases as well? If you are not doing anything else with your eyes closed, you are doing your eyes a great disservice. Keeping your eyes in the dark for even short periods of time can be very relaxing, not only for your eyes but also your mind. Everyone who leads a busy lifestyle can only benefit from this. If we’ve made you curious, here are a few other uses for a sleep mask that you might want to give a try.
1. Relaxing strained eyes
Spending hours on end on computer monitors or smartphones can take a toll on one’s eyes. And who doesn’t spend hours on end checking the internet? So we are all familiar with the sore, dry, red or itchy eyes, the dark circles, the headache or the blurred vision. While getting rid of the headache might be trickier, the best way to relax strained eyes is to just unplug and turn off the lights, literally. Or, if you don’t feel like turning off the lights yet, just give your eyes a break by putting on a sleep mask. Being in the dark sends a message to the eye muscles to rest, as they do during sleep. The ciliary muscle will relax instantly and you will feel the accumulated tension melting away.
2. Getting rid of dark circles
And while on the subject of dark circles, did you know that sleep masks can actually help you get rid of them? Even a simple silk sleep mask has a cooling effect on the skin, which helps reduce the swelling associated with dark circles. If you feel comfortable investing more money in a sleep mask, you can buy special ones with gel pads that can be heated or cooled, for an enhanced effect. Either way, investing in a sleep mask is a wise decision even if used only to get better sleep, a frequent cause of dark circles.
3. Eye improvement exercises
Anybody who has ever been interesting in improving eye vision, must be familiar with the Bates Method. Palming, one of the fundamental exercises of the Bates Method, involves covering your eyes with your palms to exclude all light from entering the eyes, in order to achieve relaxation. Even some yoga schools recommend this type of exercise as part of either their general relaxation routine or the so-called “eye yoga” exercises.
However, it is sometimes hard to find a position to practice this exercise in which your arms, neck or back won’t be strained. Instead of spending all that time searching for the perfect-height table or chair, for pillows to fill the void, why not save yourself the trouble of finding the most comfortable position, why not avoid the stress on your body by simply covering your eyes with a sleep mask? You will obtain the same results with less effort. Just put the sleep mask on, lie comfortably on your bed, and enjoy.
4. Include it in your anti-aging regimen
This applies exclusively to silk sleep masks, but a sleep mask can be an important accesory in your anti-aging skincare routine. Research has shown that silk has outstanding moisturising, skin regenerating, even antioxidant properties, which have the potential to increase skin elasticity. Moreover, silk proteins enhance hydration, and dehydration can be a cause of wrinkles.
Sleep masks are one of the best ways to impart these benefits to the skin because they can be left on for long periods of time, such as overnight. A longer period of contact with the skin will have a deeper, longer lasting effect. Consequently, sleeping with a silk mask on can be very beneficial to the skin around your eyes. If it helps you get better sleep at night as well, all the more reason to include it in your daily skincare regimen.
5. Use it when you meditate
Meditation is a very personal experience and whether the best way to meditate is with your eyes opened or closed is not so much a matter of debate but one of individual preference. If you are the type to meditate with your eyes closed why not use an eye mask? You would not have to search for dark rooms anymore because an eye mask blocks out all light, giving you the opportunity to meditate virtually anywhere, whether it is in the home, office, while travelling or at the spa.
Meditating in darkness can help you focus inwardly more easily, as some people have trouble keeping their eyes closed, thus not being able to block out external stimuli. It also encourages the production of the so-called “dream chemicals”, although you are awake, which can help one reach transcendental states such as clear visions or lucid dreams.
6. To increase intimacy
Whether you just want to spice things up or connect with your partner on a deeper level in bed, using a sleep mask as a blindfold could prove to be very exciting and enlightening. Firstly, by removing the sense of sight, all the other senses are heightened, creating a more sensual experience. Second, a blindfold also has a psychological effect, making people feel less inhibited and more trust giving. The more trust there is in a relationship, the stronger the bond between partners is. A simple sleep mask could help you achieve all this if used wisely. Moreover, it would certainly be a more comfortable option for your partner if blindfold play is on your mind, instead of just reaching for whatever headband or scarf is available.
7. For relaxation
Lastly, a sleep mask can be used for plain old relaxation. Whether your idea of unwinding is you lying in bed at home listening to your favorite music, being at the spa enjoying a massage, doing some deep breathing exercises, or just getting a better sleep, including a sleep mask in your routine can help you achieve great calmness. By blocking out the light you are inducing a sleep-like state where calming chemicals such as serotonin, melatonin or GABA are increased and stress hormones such as cortisol and adrenaline are reduced. These chemicals are great allies in the fight against insomnia, inflammation, high blood pressure, depression and anxiety. Do not hesitate to include a sleep mask in your relaxation routine to reap all these amazing benefits.
A sleep mask can be used for much more than just sleeping, feel free to get as creative as you’d like. After all, it is an all-natural remedy without any known side effects, unlike many drugs today. Such remedies are always worth a try.