Are Sleep Masks Bad for Your Eyes?

pros and cons of eye masks

We all know how important sleep is for our physical and mental health. But even though studies have shown that a lack of sleep can do everything from impacting our moods, to increasing the risk of accidents, some people still don’t get enough.

A recent study suggests that one possible reason why some people don’t get enough sleep could be due to the light they’re exposed to at night. This study examined the effects of wearing eye masks on reducing light exposure before bedtime on sleep quality, mood and fatigue in adults who work night shifts. Here are their findings.

Do sleep masks work?

In a recent study, 300 participants were given a blue sleep mask and white earplugs to wear for four nights. After just three nights, participants in the white-noise group reported they slept more soundly and awoke with less fatigue than the other groups.

The researchers report the participants in the no-noise group slept 10 minutes less than the participants in the white-noise group, and the participants in the blue-noise group slept an average of 30 minutes more than the participants in the white-noise group. A study published last year found that when subjects wore a blue-light-blocking mask

are sleep masks bad for your eyes

We all know how important sleep is for our physical and mental health. But even though studies have shown that a lack of sleep can do everything from impacting our moods, to increasing the risk of accidents, some people still don’t get enough.

A recent study suggests that one possible reason why some people don’t get enough sleep could be due to the light they’re exposed to at night. This study examined the effects of wearing eye masks on reducing light exposure before bedtime on sleep quality, mood and fatigue in adults who work night shifts. Here are their findings.

Do sleep masks work?

In the study, 100 working night shift workers wore eye masks that contained 50 per cent alcahol (mead) (a sweet alcoholic beverage), whereas the remaining 50 per cent of the mask was made of opaque, dark coloured plastic.

In the next three hours, they received light and dark blue bars that differed in their intensity and brightness. Following this, participants wore the masks for seven consecutive nights for three consecutive nights before wearing a mask without alcohol for the following three nights.

Results showed that individuals who wore dark coloured masks, which had been tested before, reported lower levels of fatigue, including less rapid eye movements (REM) and increased sleep.

Eye mask benefits

In the study, participants slept either in two different types of masks with different types of lenses, or in their natural sleep position and reported their sleep quality, sleep efficiency and sleepiness before and after wearing the different types of masks.

Results indicated that participants wore the eye masks wearing them throughout the night, and that they saw sleep quality and sleep efficiency improvements, which they attributed to the mask’s dark field technology.

Unfortunately, it didn’t look like the participants experienced any more sleepiness during the day. These results were based on a self-report questionnaire, and it is possible that they could be subject to other factors.

Are sleep masks bad for your eyes

The study was carried out on 92 volunteers from a night shift office that had been operating for a minimum of two months. They had been asked to wear two different sleep mask types – clear and green tinted sleep masks – for 12 hours a day, over four consecutive days.

In total, the volunteers wore the masks for four nights each. The sleep masks tested included Optobright, an anti-glare adhesive film developed by Optos, a British company that is at the forefront of sleep deprivation research.

The participants were tested on their moods, eye strain, fatigue, sleep quality, and the amount of light they were exposed to at night. They were also given questionnaires to rate their perceptions of sleep quality and fatigue.

What is the difference between sleep masks and sleep blinders?

Here’s how a sleep mask works: the pressure causes the thin plastic film to block light from entering your eyes. Typically, these sleep masks use clear material such as polycarbonate, so that they don’t restrict any vision, allowing you to watch television or read comfortably.

When these are used correctly, they’re designed to be worn with the head overhead, which reduces the amount of light entering your eyes. But that means they can be a bad idea for people who have eye disorders such as dry eye syndrome.

What are some of the health concerns associated with wearing a sleep mask? The results of this recent study demonstrate the problem of using sleep masks that don’t fit properly, which results in inadequate shielding of the eyes and therefore reduces their light exposure.

How does eye mask affect a person’s sleeping schedule?

Of the more than 7,000 participants, those who wore eye masks to bed for three months reported an improvement in sleep quality. They reported that their sleep quality was higher than it had been in the preceding two months, and also reported significantly improved sleep efficiency (a way to compare the amount of time spent in bed asleep to the total time spent sleeping).

Furthermore, participants reported feeling less tired in the morning, and also had lower mean scores for their fatigue on a scale of 0-100. They also reported that they had a more restful sleep and were less likely to awaken during the night. But a third of people who wore eye masks found the mask uncomfortable to wear and one in six reported that they couldn’t sleep comfortably wearing it.

What are the side effects of wearing an eye mask?

The goal of the study was to compare the effect of wearing an eye mask with not wearing an eye mask. The results showed that eye masks effectively reduced the amount of light exposure while still providing sufficient light through the mask.

In addition, using eye masks did not alter the brightness of the lights while the participants slept. It was also found that eye masks provide a sleep-promoting effect. They may reduce the time it takes for participants to fall asleep and to have fewer interruptions during sleep.  They may also help to maintain sleep quality and better manage sleep disturbances.

Sleep masks vs. blackout curtains

Researchers from the University of Glasgow in the UK asked 25 adults to wear eye masks or blackout curtains to see what impact they would have on how much light they would have to look at during the night before falling asleep.

The participants slept in dark, quiet rooms at the University of Glasgow with only 1-2 hours of light exposure each night. The participants wore eye masks, had blackout curtains on the windows or had no masks and curtains.

Each participant then went about their normal nighttime routine, which included taking short naps. Afterwards, the participants wore eye masks to bed. Sleep time was the same for the participants. In this particular study, the participants wore eye masks to bed for 30 minutes to an hour before falling asleep.

What about the blue light?

They work like any other eye masks, blocking out light completely. The trouble is, most of us read or watch screens for a significant part of the evening before heading to bed and blue light is known to negatively impact our sleep quality.

“Our eye masks can filter out certain wavelengths of light, however we cannot say that the protection from blue light is any better than wearing a normal eye mask,” explains Dr Alex Williams, one of the authors of the study.

“Although the eye masks we looked at in this study blocked UV light and microwaves as well as blue light, blue light is emitted from LCD screens, mobiles, laptops and computers, which means they block very little of it.

 Conclusion

“The light-reducing eye mask was more effective than placebo, indicating that at-home, light-reducing eyewear may help nighttime sleep quality in adults who work at night.” The study included 49 adult volunteers, and the results showed that the eye masks helped the people in the study sleep more soundly.

The most successful mask used reduced the amount of blue light exposure by 50 percent and was most effective at reducing exposure to yellow light, which is associated with mood disorders, and metabolic problems.

Related Posts

Best Baby Night Light (Reviewed 2021)

Best Light Therapy Lamps of 2021: Reviews & Buyer Guide

Best Sound Machine for Sleep (Reviewed 2021)

Pros and Cons of Eye Masks

How Do Hotels Keep Sheets Wrinkle free?

Victoria

Hello, my name is Vicky, I am a blogger and a mom of one beautiful daughter. I love travelling and most important of all, I love getting good quality sleep. I am in the hunt everyday for information that will improve the quality of sleep, and would love to share with you. Cheers!

Recent Content