I suffer with morning anxiety, but in recent weeks I’d started to suffer with bedtime anxiety too. Intrusive thoughts would come over me: “what if this or that happens in my sleep?”, and would cause me to overthink as soon as I settled under the duvet – even if I felt no anxiety moments prior to going to bed. It’s like lifting the covers opens up a world of anxiety suddenly, it’s bizarre. Of course, all that overthinking then causes difficulty getting to sleep, then I’m exhausted come the morning, then my morning anxiety is worse…the cycle is never-ending. So, as I do with many things, I searched, “how to ease anxiety for sleep” and all sorts of products and practices pop-up – a weighted eye mask being one of them. So, I popped this one by Rest Easy Sleep Better on my birthday wishlist and my brother kindly gifted it to me!
So, let’s talk about how a weighted eye mask might help ease your anxiety at night.
Blocks out light
Black-out blinds or curtains don’t always do the trick, so how else can you make sure you get total darkness for optimal sleep? A standard eye mask will work well, but my weighted eye mask submerges me into a total blackout. I often forget how well it blocks out the light when I wake up, as I’ll take off the mask and it’ll be broad daylight and I’d have never known!
Helps keep you grounded
A weighted eye mask has the additional benefit of deep pressure stimulation (DPS) which helps decrease what’s known as our sympathetic nervous system. This system is responsible for our ‘fight or flight’ stress response, so if you’re known to struggle with heightened anxiety, this could truly help. The added weight of the eye mask can help to make you feel grounded, like a weighted blanket would, which helps to ease anxiety and encourage calmness and relaxation.
Any product out there will affect everyone in different ways. For me, the weighted eye mask helps me get to sleep faster, enjoy higher quality sleep, and leaves me feeling more refreshed in the morning. But, in my experience, I also notice that because I’m in a much deeper sleep when using this eye mask, I dream a lot more; this includes the occasional nightmare. The difference being, normally when I dream or experience nightmares, I wake up feeling tense and my heart racing. If I’m wearing my eye mask however, and wake up during a dream or nightmare, I’m much calmer and can easily drift back to sleep with little issues and without the need to be pulse-checking for the remainder of the night.
I don’t use this every night, just the nights where I find myself struggling to get to sleep. I don’t want to get too used to a product where I almost depend on it, so I like to sleep without it when I can. But I highly recommend trying one out to see how it could ease your anxiety.
Have you tried a weighted eye mask before? What are your thoughts?