Why a Weighted Mask Might Help You Sleep Better, According to Science
Now that you have your weighted blanket, weighted masks are here to keep you from tossing and turning all night.
If everyone you know is buying a weighted blanket, you'll probably be interested in the latest sleep-better trend: weighted masks. We asked the experts if these sleep-enhancing accessories are worth the hype, and how they can benefit our lives next.
The Science Behind the Mask
Weighted sleep masks rely on some of the same science as weighted blankets to provide comfort and relaxation. “Deep Pressure Therapy (DPT) is a theory and therapeutic technique which says that applying weight to the body can help you calm down and experience improvements in your mood,” says Daniel Sher, a clinical psychologist at Parenting Pod. The gentle pressure of the mask is shown to increase the body’s production of both melatonin and serotonin, which give a calming sensation. It also stimulates the parasympathetic nervous system, which helps you to calm down and feel more positive.
Beyond the weighted benefits of the mask, we get our best sleep when exposed to as little amount of light as possible. A sleep mask can block out any and all light to eliminate those visual interruptions.
“A mask that is weighted may have additional positive impact on your mood, stress levels, and overall wellbeing,” Sher says. “This, in turn, makes it easier for you to sleep.”
There are plenty of relaxing benefits to consider with a weighted mask that stimulate other senses as well. “Eye pillows are often filled with aromatic botanicals, which can themselves have biochemical effects,” Casey Gardonio-Foat, Founder and CEO of Wink & Rise says. “The materials from which a pillow or mask is constructed can induce feelings of tranquility.”
Some eye masks can be heated or chilled, providing additional soothing sensations that can help with migraines, tension headaches, and sinus issues, Gardonio-Foat says.
How to Shop for a Weighted Sleep Mask
There are some things to consider when shopping for a weighted sleep mask, like your environment, whether you travel frequently, and sleep preferences. “Personal preferences will vary, but I would recommend products made from natural fibers rather than synthetics or fleece-type textiles, which may impede air flow,” Gardonio-Foat says. This Silk Lavender Eye Pillow, $19.00, is an example of a mask made with breathable materials.
Back sleepers may gravitate toward masks without a head strap, like the nodpod Weighted Sleep Mask, $29.99. Side sleepers may want to consider a mask with a strap to keep it from sliding off the face, like Asutra's Weighted Silk Eye Pillow, $16.95.
Like any other eye mask or pillow, weighted sleep masks should be cleaned or replaced regularly for hygienic reasons.
Are Weighted Masks Recommended for Everyone?
While experts and product reviews can attest to the weighted mask's sleep-aiding benefits, the weighted sleep mask has not been tested in clinical trials on people struggling with psychological and/or sleep disorders, Sher says.
Since Deep Pressure Stimulation can help individuals affected by insomnia, anxiety, and autism spectrum disorders, it may be safe to assume that weighted sleep masks can have that effect.
“So, if you would like to get a better night’s sleep, you may want to consider giving a weighted mask a try,” Sher says. “Additionally, if you suffer from a psychological condition that makes it harder for you to sleep, you may find that these masks help.”
If you have been diagnosed with a sleep condition or psychological disorder, Sher advises you to speak with a professional about getting the proper treatment for your condition and then consider using a weighted mask as an adjunct.