Why should you sleep with a sleep mask?

Sleep trackers, eye massage masks, dietary supplements, weighted blankets… Some are ready to do anything to sleep better and at any cost. And yet, a new study published in the journal sleeping shows that a very simple, non-invasive and inexpensive way could ensure a better night’s sleep: wear an eye mask at night.

In addition to improving sleep, the sleep mask may improve memory, productivity, and alertness the next morning. “Ambient light can influence the structure and timing of sleep”, the researchers said. “Better learning could improve academic and professional performance, while faster reaction times could help in sports, driving, or other situations where quick responses are essential.”details Viviana Greco, lead author of the study.

To reach these conclusions, the researchers recruited 122 people and conducted two different experiments. The first brought together 94 people aged 18 to 35: for one week, they wore an eye mask before being deprived of it the following week (or wearing a mask with holes in order to study the possible discomfort of the mask wearing.In tests conducted on the last two days of each week, researchers found that participants performed better during a word association task.

Ditto during the second experiment: 35 volunteers aged 18 to 35 were fitted with an eye mask and a headband measuring brain activity during sleep. If the group was once again able to better associate words with each other after having slept with their eyes covered, the researchers also found that, without lengthening the total duration of sleep, wearing the mask increased the deep sleep phase, an essential phase. for the restoration of memory and body.

Efficient and economical behavior

This suggests that wearing an eye mask while sleeping is an effective, cost-effective, and non-invasive behavior that could benefit cognitive functions and have measurable effects on everyday life.“, concluded the researchers.

While these results are interesting, they are not surprising. Indeed, previous studies had shown that sleep in complete darkness protected health, in particular by reducing the risk of diabetesheart disease or even overweight andobesity. “Disruptions to our circadian rhythm, such as exposure to light at night, can impact memory and alertness. In addition, it is widely recognized that a good night’s sleep is beneficial for cognitive functions.“, adds Viviane Greco.

What are some tips for getting the best possible sleep? Close the shutters at bedtime to eliminate all natural light, but also track down small artificial lights that could harm your health. And finally invest in a night mask.

Source :

  • Wearing an eye mask during overnight sleep improves episodic learning and alertness, Sleep, March 2023

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