Why Is Sleep Important?
No matter how old you are or what your occupation is, sleep is one of the most vital parts of your life. Countless scientific researchers point to sleep being responsible for not only a healthier lifestyle but also to your overall wellbeing. The right amount of sleep helps with countless aspects of your life. Sleep offers protection for your mental health, physical health, and overall safety.
How you feel when you are awake entirely depends on the amount of sleep and the quality of sleep that you get. The way you think, react, learn, and interact with others can all be affected by the way you sleep. Sleep deficiency can lead to health issues, some of which might be chronic.
Your mental health, which is also responsible for your physical health in some ways, is impacted by sleep in a huge way. As we go through our daily lives, our brain memorizes and stores away all the information we gather throughout the day. While we sleep, all that information is unloaded and our brain is being prepared for the next day. The way we learn and how effective we are at retaining information is all tied to how well we sleep.
Physical health is also greatly impacted by the way you sleep. Your body uses the downtime while you sleep to repair and fine tune vital body parts. Repairing your heart and blood vessels all happens during your sleep. If you suffer from sleep deficiency, chances are you are at a higher risk of heart disease, stroke, diabetes, kidney disease, and high blood pressure. The right amount of sleep can also help you stay in shape.
Not getting enough sleep can lead to obesity by increasing production of a hormone called ghrelin and reducing the production of a hormone called leptin. This causes you to feel hungry, and the only way to fix it is to be well rested. Another hormone which is highly affected by the amount of sleep you get is insulin. Not enough sleep can cause you to have higher than normal glucose levels, which can lead to diabetes.
Additionally, your immune system relies on sleep to continue keeping you healthy. Not sleeping enough will cause your immune system to function incorrectly, which in turn can make you vulnerable to countless diseases and viruses.
How Can You Improve Your Sleep?
There are many different things you can do to improve your quality of sleep. Most of them are pretty easy to implement, and all you need is a little bit of dedication.
One of the most important ways to keep your sleep quality at an optimum level is to follow your body’s natural sleep cycle. Your circadian rhythm, the body’s natural sleep-wake cycle, is extremely important and getting in sync with it will result in much better sleep.
This means you will feel and function on a greater level when you are awake. To synchronize with your circadian rhythm, we suggest that you go to sleep at the same time every day and wake up at the same time every day.
Try to avoid sleeping in, as this can cause your sleep-wake cycle to go out of tune and throw everything off. Napping is excellent, but doing it too long or too frequently will result in more harm than good. Lastly, that feeling of wanting to sleep after dinner should be fought vigorously, and you should never give into sleeping right after dinner. Try to stick to the above suggestions and you should establish a pretty good circadian rhythm, which will help your overall health and wellbeing.
Exercising during the day can also do wonders for how well you sleep. Generally, those who partake in some sort of exercise during the day are usually able to stay up with relative ease and also sleep much better than others. If you want to further improve your quality of sleep through exercise, remember that the more vigorous of a routine you partake in, the higher your quality of sleep will be at night.
Keep in mind that exercising towards the end of the day is usually not a good idea. Physical activity forces your body to speed up your metabolism and stimulate various hormones which generally keep you awake, so exercising in the evening when your body is getting ready to go to sleep can be counterproductive.
Your diet also plays a huge role in the way you sleep. Keep a keen eye on the amount of caffeine you consume and the timeframe of consumption, and avoid drinking it in the afternoon. The same should be said about nicotine, as it has a tendency to disrupt your sleep, especially if you partake in smoking close to bedtime. Drinking and eating a lot before going to bed is also a big mistake.
Instead of resting and healing your body, big meals or large amounts of liquid will result in your body trying to digest everything throughout the night instead, and might even result in forcing you to wake up frequently to use the bathroom. Alcohol in the evening and sugary foods throughout the day should also be limited, as both of these can trigger restlessness at night.
Improving your sleeping environment and clearing your head before you go to bed will also improve your sleep. Make sure that your bed is comfortable and the temperature in your room is cool. If you can keep it around 65oF, this is the optimal temperature for the best quality of sleep.
Eliminate as much noise as possible and remember that your bed is there for you to sleep in. Refrain from eating, watching TV, using your computer or mobile devices, or any other daytime things in bed. This will ensure that you associate your bed with sleep, which will in turn result in much better quality of sleep.
What About Eliminating Light?
Perhaps one of the most important things you can do for your body when you sleep is eliminate as much light as possible. Eliminating light increases the production of melatonin, a naturally occurring hormone which regulates your sleep and wakefulness. There are many different ways for you to increase or reduce the production of melatonin to ensure that your circadian rhythm is perfectly balanced.
When you wake up, we strongly suggest exposing yourself to bright sunlight. This will stop the production of melatonin dead in its track and give you an opportunity to fully wake up. Think about having coffee or your breakfast outside. Try to spend enough time outside during the day, as this will ensure that your melatonin production is halted and you are fully awake and ready to function. Increase the amount of natural light in your office as much as possible.
At night, we need to do the opposite. Avoiding bright screens for about 2 hours prior to going to bed will greatly increase your melatonin production and help you get a nice deep level of sleep that you can benefit from. Cutting off that TV early in the evening will also help.
Devices that have backlit screens should be avoided 2 hours before sleep as well, as they usually emit blue light which can stop melatonin production. Ensure that your room is as dark as possible when you go to sleep. If you do have to wake up at night for any reason, make sure to keep the lights dimmed to reduce the interruption of melatonin production.
How About A Sleep Mask?
Eliminating all light at night can sometimes be extremely difficult. Add in your life partner who keeps checking their phone for a new tweet late at night, and sleeping in complete darkness becomes a practical impossibility.
Luckily, we have a glorious invention named the Sleep Mask to help us. It does exactly what it is supposed to in order to help you sleep. The key objective of all sleep masks is to eliminate light and help you sleep as long as possible and as deeply as possible.
If you have difficulty sleeping at night or during the day, depending on your work schedule, then purchasing a sleep mask is a possible way out of this predicament. The best part is that you can use them during any time, even for a quick nap during the day to refuel on energy and get back to productivity.
Alternatively, you can also use them during traveling, like those long flights overseas for pleasure or business. We all know how difficult it can be to get some shuteye while on a plane, bus, or train with a few dozen other people and light everywhere.
Generally, sleep masks are used for getting quality sleep at night. While some are designed for travel, most are designed to be left on your bedside table to be used when you go to sleep.
One of the biggest differences between most sleep masks is the type of material used on the inside of the mask, which usually determines the level of comfort you will experience. However, there are a few other factors that play a role in whether a sleep mask will be comfortable or not.
Which Sleep Mask Is Best For You?
Unfortunately, there isn’t any way to say which sleep mask is the best one for everyone, but there are a few that we have come across which stand out amongst all of them. Keep in mind that not all people are the same, and just because one sleep mask has amazing reviews and many people have had a positive experience with it doesn’t necessarily mean that it will suit your needs.
We have looked at many different sleep masks and determined the following few to be the best choices. Read on and see which one is the best fit for you:
1. Bedtime Bliss Contoured & Comfortable Sleep Mask
One of the most talked about and purchased sleep masks on the market is manufactured by Bedtime Bliss. They have managed to create a sleep mask that is not only made from one of the most soothing materials out there, but is also perfectly contoured to fit most people’s faces. Additionally, this mask also comes with ear plugs and a carry pouch for those who have loud partners or travel frequently.
The inside of the mask is made out of polyurethane foam, which helps keep everything nice and soft to the touch. The outside of the mask is manufactured with the use of polyester interlock knitted fabric, which ensures that you feel nothing but pure bliss when using this mask.
Bedtime Bliss ensured that everyone is able to use their mask and decided to include a countered nose bridge to keep the mask from applying pressure onto your eyes. This ensures that you are able to fall asleep quickly and effortlessly with comfort.
Adjustable Velcro straps also ensure that many different customers are able to use the mask no matter which size is needed to fit them perfectly, although we did find a few comments about hair getting caught in the Velcro, which was somewhat of an inconvenience.
Overall, this is one of the best masks we have ever seen. It has an enormous amount of reviews by former customers; over 9,000 users have left feedback about this sleep mask, with an average score of 4.3 out of 5 stars.
The two major complaints that we have run into was that sometimes your hair can get caught in the Velcro straps, as we mentioned above, and depending on what temperature you like to set your thermostat to it might get a bit hot around the eyes. Otherwise, with a current price tag of $12.90 on Amazon, this mask is definitely a steal.
2. Alaska Bear Natural Silk Sleep Mask
When we think about bears, sleep and comfort is the absolute last thing that comes to mind. However, the company Alaska Bear has quickly changed that thought with their wonderful product, the Natural Silk Sleep Mask.
Alaska Bear has managed to produce a phenomenal product with the help of 100% top quality 19 momme natural mulberry silk, which they decided to use on both sides of the mask.
Those who are unfamiliar with the momme weight system, in short 19 momme weight is usually considered the best weight to produce not only an excellent balance of aesthetics and affordability but a superb level of strength. This means your mask should last a very long time no matter how much you use it.
Unlike some of the masks out there, Alaska Bear decided to make their masks with a single adjustable headband, which will ensure that your mask stays in one place and hair is completely free of entanglement. The plastic adjusters have also been placed in the back of the strap to prevent pressure that would be formed on the side of the head if you are a side sleeper.
Alaska Bear is one of the only companies out there that guarantee 100% total satisfaction, and if you are not happy with your mask you can write to the company and either get a replacement or your money back without the hassle of returning the mask.
Although this mask doesn’t come with the extra ear plugs or carrying pouch, the use of mulberry silk as the key material for its production has certainly piqued our interest. This material is generally slightly more expensive than other, more widely used, materials in the sleep mask manufacturing world, but Alaska Bear has managed to incorporate it in their product and still keep the mask price very affordable at $9.99 on Amazon.
Furthermore, this product has received a huge amount of reviews, along with more than 8,000 customer feedbacks and an average score of 4.6 out of 5 stars. If you are looking for a mask that you will primarily use at home and have sensitive skin, we strongly suggest the Alaskan Bear Natural Silk Sleep Mask.
3. Sleep Master Sleep Mask
If you are looking for a combination of sleep mask and noise canceling all in one product? You may have found it. Sleep Master knew exactly what they were doing when they decided to make this sleep mask. This adjustable sleep mask will eliminate every single beam of light, all while muffling any outside noise. If you live in an environment with just enough noise to keep you up at night, then this mask is the perfect choice for you.
The outside material used for this mask is synthetic satin fabric which is very soft and cool to the touch. The mask itself is shaded in a dark “ocean blue” color, which makes it esthetically pleasing but is also claimed to eliminate the maximum amount of light. This mask is hypo-allergenic and very durable.
The inside of the mask is made out of cotton, and in the areas around the ears the padding is increased to allow for better noise muffling. Sleep Master stressed that the mask contains absolutely no latex.
Once again, Velcro is the material of choice when it comes to keeping this mask secure. However, unlike some of the other masks out there, the Sleep Master mask has thick Velcro strips in the back of the mask, a choice which generally is able to keep the hair from becoming tangled.
Additionally, the adjustable Velcro strips allow you to increase or reduce the amount of pressure this mask will put onto your eye lids, which will either inhibit or allow for you to keep your eyes closed or open while you sleep.
This mask has received fewer reviews than the others we have mentioned today, but it still boasts a reputable 2,400 reviews with a score of 4 out of 5 stars. The price tag is definitely on the more expensive side, and you can expect to pay around $25.90 for this mask on Amazon. Nonetheless, we completely understand why the price of this mask is much higher than others.
If you take into account the size of this mask and the materials used, including the extra padding around the ears, it’s easy to see that just the material costs alone are most likely much higher than those of other sleep mask manufacturers. With that said, if you need both sound muffling and complete blackout then this mask is an excellent choice for you.
Best Sleep Masks Conclusion
The masks we have listed today are just a few that we have come across, there are plenty more out there. However, we did make it a point to focus on some of the most purchased masks on the market with the most reviews we could find.
In our opinion, if you choose amongst these three sleep masks to fit your needs, then we are completely positive that you will enjoy your product for many years to come.