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A Light Blocking Sleep Mask: The Nodpod Has Many Uses

Posted by Melissa Bamberg on

The Most Common Uses of a Light Blocking Sleep Mask

A light blocking sleep mask has many beneficial uses, not all sleep-related. In this blog post, we consider not only how a sleep mask improves sleep quality. We’ll also look at how blocking out light aids meditation, deep listening, and sensitivity to motion or light. Depending on its design, a sleep mask may also serve as a pillow. Our nodpod, a strapless elongated sleep mask that attaches to your pillow, is a prime example.

Sleeping Better

Darkness triggers the body’s conversion of serotonin to melatonin. This is an important part of entering deep sleep. A light blocking sleep mask aids this hormonal conversion, and is useful not only for falling asleep faster, but for fixing your Circadian rhythm—your body’s internal clock.

Being on call, exposing yourself to artificial light, and other aspects of work life throw off your Circadian rhythm. Melatonin regulates your body’s “daily night-day cycle” according to Wikipedia, so it’s crucial for healthy sleep. It’s even an antioxidant! More importantly, research shows a link between Circadian dysfunction and mood disorders, which means melatonin also plays a big part in your mental health.

An Alternative to Pills

All this talk of melatonin’s benefits might make you wonder about supplements. However, a 2005 MIT study found that commercial melatonin contained 10 times the effective amount of melatonin for restful sleep. At that high a dose, over-the-counter melatonin stops working after a few days.

Further, the study reports that high doses of melatonin are related to side effects like hypothermia. Therefore, sunlight to give you serotonin—and a light blocking sleep mask to aid the conversion of serotonin to melatonin—serves as a simple alternative to pills.

Contemplative Aid

Meditation is being in the present without distraction. While one ideal of contemplative practice involves being able to enter a meditative state regardless of one’s environment, beginners in meditation may find visual stimulation too distracting.

A light blocking sleep mask can work as a meditation aid for exercises that explicitly call for visual deprivation and concentration on your internal world. One example is the advanced Tibetan Buddhist technique "mun mtshams," or dark retreat. The monk secludes herself in total darkness from a few hours to a few decades, inducing hallucinations, which are visual experiences without light entering the eye, also known as phosphenes, or nimitta in Tibetan. In fact, a 2009 study agrees: sensory deprivation such as wearing a light blocking sleep mask does induce hallucination.

Another useful reason for blocking out distracting visual information is when listening to music. Research shows that listening to music without visual stimulus increases your emotional response, perhaps because your sight isn’t competing with the sound. Therefore, wearing a light blocking sleep mask can be a way of focusing your attention on the music.

Migraines

Common migraine symptoms include motion sickness and sensitivity to light. For the latter, the American Headache Society recommends that you “slowly increase the amount of light in your environment so that you are more tolerant of the light.”

The Society also notes that light sensitivity often occurs alongside sleep and mood disorders, which indicates that melatonin plays a role. Therefore, using a light blocking sleep mask for migraine relief can help you not only shut out visual stimulus during motion sickness, but gradually rebuild tolerance to light like the American Headache Society suggests.

Nodpod’s Many Uses

We’ve discussed the importance of melatonin in regulating your body’s sleep cycle and mood. As an alternative to melatonin supplements, a light blocking sleep mask induces the conversion of serotonin to melatonin. Your mask can help improve sleep quality, meditation, music listening, and migraine symptoms like light sensitivity and motion sickness. We hope this post has helped you consider the benefits of a light blocking sleep mask’s various uses.