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Posted on 12-18-2016

Why Mask You Ask? Possible Benefits of an Eye Mask

Eye Mask

Here at HBR, we usually focus on the health and well-being of your actual eyeBALL, but with the stress of the holidays upon us, and winter roaring in, we thought it be might be worthwhile to share with you some of the possible health and wellness benefits of using an eye mask.  

Masks themselves come in a variety of shapes, sizes, and materials.  Some are made of gel-filled plastic, while others are herb-filled silk, or even just plain old cotton.  Some may only cover your eyes, but most will also cover your temples and the upper portion of your cheeks.  “Eye wholes” may or may not be part of the design, depending on how the mask is supposed to function, but almost all of them fasten around your head in some way, to keep the mask in place during use.  

Eye masks serve three primary functions: 

  1. Reduce swelling:  Whether it’s lack of sleep, stress, allergies, or a cold, a soothing, cooling eye mask can help reduce swelling of the skin around the eyes.  (Translation:  the bags under your eyes may be less…baggy.)  You can store a gel-filled mask in the fridge and pop it on whenever you think your eyes could use a little refreshing.  Usually 10 to 20 minutes (or until the gel no longer feels cool) will do it.  As an added bonus, choose a mask with a relaxing and rejuvenating herbal fragrance such as lavender. 
  2. Relieve sinus pain:  Pain from sinus congestion can sometimes be alleviated with heat and/or pressure.  Like reducing swelling in reverse, you can heat a gel-filled mask in hot water, and then place the mask against your sinuses.  (Well, not directly, but you get the idea…)  However, if you have sinusitis as a result of going from a cold, wet environment to a warm one, it’s best to use a cold mask while lying down with your head slightly elevated.  It may seem counterintuitive , but it’ll provide the best relief.  
  3. Keep out light:  If light often interferes with your sleeping habits, try using a light blocking mask at night.  Your body responds to dark and light—light signals that it’s time to wake up, which can be a problem if you’re trying to sleep.  In fact, a 2010 Chinese study found that ICU patients who slept in a light blocking mask and ear plugs had higher levels of melatonin, a hormone that helps your body achieve and maintain deeper sleep, with fewer periods of restlessness or wakefulness. 

So, whether it’s the stress, the weather, or the roommate who keeps leaving the hall light on at all hours, a sleep mask may help you care for the areas around your eyes.  As for your eyes, themselves, we’ve got you covered.  

Source:  livestrong.com 

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