How to reduce anxiety and alleviate sleeping problems
Nearly one-third of New Zealand adults are reported to have trouble sleeping by a study done at Massey University – that’s a lot of Kiwis! Adults need at least 7 hours of sleep each night, with most people reporting around 8-9 as a the magic number (but of course this varies person to person). Issues like light, stress, and anxiety are major factors in sleep disturbances, and repeated nights of poor sleep can intensify the sleeping problems and add up quickly.
Anxiety disorders are almost just as common and said to be at a rate of 15% at any one time. People may turn to methods such as medication, oils, and yoga to help, but sometimes it is not enough, and you may be searching for how to reduce stress and anxiety naturally, which in turn can help you sleep better.
So, what to do if you’re looking for a way to solve your sleeping problems and reduce stress in one go? Let’s talk about the science behind weighted eye masks and why you need one now.
#1 DPS: Deep Pressure Stimulation
You may have heard about weighted blankets but been hesitant to take the plunge and spend the $$ (they are not cheap!) without knowing if it will work for you. Similar to heavy weighted blankets, weighted eye masks implement DPS – deep pressure stimulation – in order to provide its therapeutic benefits by hugging your face.
Eye masks are only weighted just enough to provide DPS and not be too heavy on your eyes. This firm tactile sensory input provides immediate relief to many anxiety sufferers as it has a calming effect to relieve stress. DPS is the major difference between ordinary sleep masks and weighted ones.
You may also hear this referred to a "touch therapy" or "deep pressure touch/DPT". Although the heavy weighted blankets were originally developed to help children with autism or sensory processing disorders, this therapy method now sees marked improvements in test subjects for other issues like chronic pain and PTSD which prevent restful sleep.
Other methods of DPS include hugging, weighted vests, swaddling, and pressure with objects like mats or yoga balls.
#2 Light Blocking for Sleep
Our bodies are programmed with an impressive internal clock that depends on the light and darkness cycle of the sun. It impacts both our sleep and alertness and you may have heard of it before - our circadian rhythms. The light around you can help train your circadian clock to know when to wake up and when to go to sleep in the future. It helps your body signal when to be alert and when it's time to rest up and relax. That's why it's important for you to:
- Dim your lights at least 2 hours prior to your desired bedtime
- Block out the light around you at bedtime
- Keep it blocked out if you want to stay asleep until morning
This is where an eye mask can come in handy if you share a room, need to go to sleep before the sun goes down completely, or don't have window coverings that 100% block out the light that can come in from outside light sources. Failing to block out this light could be a major source of any sleeping problems you are having.
#3 Lavender Aromatherapy for Relaxation
Ahh... when you think of the scent of lavender it may bring you into a calm mindset or pleasant memories. Lavender has been long known for its benefits for whole body health and even medicinal values by many cultures worldwide. It has been used for those with trouble sleeping or as a disinfectant in war times (both the Romans and in World War I). This miracle flower grows with limited attention if done correctly, so is often a hardy plant.
Not all eye masks harness the power of aromatherapy, but if lavender is used inside of a weighted eye mask, you can expect the effectiveness of your mask to increase. Linalool (an alcohol) and linalyl acetate (an ester) are both found inside of lavender and the key ingredients which bring the relaxing feeling we all know and love.
In one study, a mere 20 minutes of aromatherapy with lavender over a 12 week period was enough to reduce heart rate variability and improve sleep quality in a selection of women with insomnia. The benefits of lavender are so wide-reaching, but for the purposes of this blog just remember that lavender inside of your weighted eye mask is a great way to reduce stress and anxiety and improve sleep.
Also, consider using an eye mask for mid-afternoon naps or to unwind after a long day out with the kids or at work. Whenever you need a brief moment to yourself.
#4 Cooling and Heat Therapy
It's well-known that hot and cold therapy work for a variety of physical conditions - muscle recovery, soreness, relaxation just to name a few. This is another way to level-up your eye mask game by opting for one that can be subjected to the freezer or microwave in order to provide warming comfort or cool therapy. Migraine sufferers especially - pay attention.
Everyone requires different temperatures, and while one person may enjoy a hot bath to relax at the end of the day, others might find icing their sore joints is the perfect way to unwind. If you select the right weighted eye mask, you can play around with both cooling and heating your product depending on your needs for the day.
Many headache and migraine sufferers turn to temperature control to find relief as well. Direct application of a cool item around the temples can be a miracle worker, while a warm press around the sinuses can relieve tension.
Cold therapy also is used for de-puffing eyes in the morning, an added beauty benefit! It will invigorate and awaken your face in the morning. We recommend trying a warmed mask in the evening to calm and relieve stress, and the cool mask in the morning. Give the cycle a try and see what you think.
#5 Fall Asleep Faster (and STAY that way!)
Tossing. Turning. Distractions. Light. Stress. Headaches.
We've already named a few benefits above that weighted eye masks can offer, now let's talk about why you want those things. If you're having trouble falling asleep or staying asleep, it's time to do something about it. Not only will you have a chance to relieve insomnia and stress, but it can be quicker than other methods and should assist in keeping you asleep through the night. Just grab your mask and drift away.
And in regards to light, what if your partner turns on the light or needs to wakeup before you do? A car passes by at 4AM and shines light into your bedroom window. The sun is up before you are, and you deserve a sleep in! Boom, your sleep cycle is broken and now you have to fall asleep all over again, or get up and be sleepy.
These pesky sleeping problems are all considered and can be remedied by adding a weighted eye mask to your sleeping routine. We are diurnal animals and the light of the day suppresses all the natural melatonin - the sleep hormone we need and crave.
Block that light out. Wake up feeling refreshed and ready to start your day.
#6 Affordable No-Pill Option
If you suffer from stress, anxiety, insomnia, headaches or other related issues, sometimes prescriptions and over-the-counter medicines seem to be the only remedy that works.
Unfortunately, if you have trouble sleeping, then sleeping pills are simply a band-aid as they are not recommended for more than a few weeks of use. Insomnia medications such as sedatives or antihistamines have other long-term effects and drowsiness can linger the next day. It can get costly as well.
Maybe it's time to ask your doctor about alternative methods such as weighted eye masks if you've never tried them before. (We're not doctors, so please check with them before making any changes). If it's the right time for you and you're ready to try them out, weighted eye masks are affordable and last for years if taken care of properly.
No pills. No excessive fees and doctor visits. Just natural, immediate results that anyone can achieve.
You've identified a problem and want to fix it. Now what?
Weighted Eye Masks come in various styles, linen or silk, scented or unscented, natural or polyester filled. You need to think about what is most important to you and if you want to consider the environment and local economy with your purchase.
Chances are you can find one online and it will easily pay for itself quickly once you start benefitting from better sleep and less stress. Know what you want before starting your search in order to get the perfect product for you.
Ready to look at options? You can head over to our natural Weighted Eye Mask page first to find out more and start your journey into relaxation and relief.
If you are a little lost reach out to us directly on our contact page for some guidance to see if our products are right for you.