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I Got A Weighted Eye Mask And I Haven't Slept The Same Since

Is it worth it?
Trying weighted eye mask and how that affected my sleep
PHOTO: COURTESY OF IDA ALDANA
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I can’t remember the last time I went to bed and immediately fell asleep. My day-to-day schedule pre-pandemic used to include driving for hours to get to work when I was in Manila. When I was attending graduate classes in New York, I used to walk and commute to get to class. Then the full day was spent working or studying and I’d have a couple of nights out with friends.

Now, I get up from bed, walk a few steps to my desk, get to work, walk back to my bed, and try to fall asleep—keyword being “try.”

For more than a year now, I’ve been attending my New York-based classes and internship online from Manila, which is 12 hours ahead. That means all our video calls are scheduled in the middle of the night or early in the morning. But while I’m studying and working in New York time, I’m still physically living in Manila time, meaning, everyday activities like eating and working out still have to be in sync with people at home. I’ve essentially been living a double life in two different time zones.

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The problem isn’t that I’m not exhausted—I am. But with the drastic changes in my routine and my heightened anxiety from everything going on, my body has been overwhelmed. I would toss and turn all night—or rather, in mornings when everyone was just starting their day.

My eyes would feel heavy but
I just couldn’t seem to keep them closed.

I tried everything. I would use scented candles and diffusers; I worked out and ate more regularly; and I’d even take melatonin and eventually prescribed pills just to get to sleep. Some of them helped, but I never felt physically comfortable before falling asleep. My eyes would feel heavy but I just couldn’t seem to keep them closed. Even though I’ve turned off all my lights or tucked my head under my blanket, the daylight would distract me from getting some shuteye.

I started seeing more people posting about weighted blankets online which led me to weighted eye masks. I’ve used eye masks before and what I loved about them was that they put actual, physical pressure on my eyes to stay closed. And so weighted eye masks seemed like a natural thing for me to try. After researching and comparing price points and design, I bought The Blankery’s Weighted Moonmask for P1,990.

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Experience with weighted eye mask
COURTESY OF IDA ALDANA

What is a weighted eye mask?

Weighted eye masks use the same science behind weighted blankets. According to Applied Behavior Analysis, Deep Touch Pressure Stimulation uses “firm but gentle” pressure that makes your body switch from the “fight or flight” sympathetic nervous system to the “rest and digest” parasympathetic nervous system. When this happens, your muscles start to loosen up and relax, your heart rate slows down, and your circulation improves. Simply put, the pressure from the additional weight calms down your nervous system to make you feel and sleep better.

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One of the things that convinced me to go for The Blankery’s Moonmask is its sleek design. It turns out that it’s also “specially designed to contour the eye area,” which means that it evenly applies just the right amount of Deep Touch Pressure Stimulation in the right places around your eyes. It weighs 0.8 pounds or around 368 grams, which isn’t too heavy. After all, you wouldn’t want your eye mask to fall off every time you change your sleeping position.

The Moonmask is also made of Micro Plush Fabric aka that velvety cloth that you can’t touch without saying, “OMG it’s so soft.” You can also adjust the fit of the mask with the velcro strap. The mask comes with a drawstring pouch that’s mildew-resistant so you can store it properly without it getting dirty—which is important because it comes in direct contact with your face.

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Are weighted eye masks worth it?

Before investing in a weighted blanket (which costs around P4,000 to P10,000), I first wanted to see if Deep Touch Pressure Stimulation would work on me. A weighted eye mask seemed like the perfect choice because I didn’t have to shell out more than P2,000 and I got to experience the comforting weight everyone was talking about.

The weight also puts me in a mental disposition to get some rest and signals my body that it’s time to sleep.

I’ve been using the weighted eye mask for around two weeks now and it helps with lessening the distracting daylight when I try to sleep. It doesn’t completely block out the light but what’s important for me is that it literally puts pressure on my eyes and keeps them closed. I often have the urge to check my phone even when I’m trying to sleep and having an eye mask on keeps me from doing so. The weight also puts me in a mental disposition to get some rest and signals my body that it’s time to sleep.

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What I didn’t expect to enjoy is its portability since there are days that I’d sleep in my condo and not at home. Even if I did have a weighted blanket, it wouldn’t make sense to lug around 15 pounds every time I went from one place to another. I could easily stash the less-than-one-pound eye mask in its pouch and put it in my bag.

How a weighted eye mask affected my sleep
COURTESY OF IDA ALDANA
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I’d usually wake up with the mask off my head and buried under my pillow but that might say more about how fidgety I am when I sleep than the mask’s wearability. I’m more thankful that it doesn’t get stuck in my hair like other velcro products. I’ve also started sleeping an hour longer than usual.

I think it’ll be a while before I can easily fall asleep again but the weighted eye mask has reduced the time I need before dozing off and added to the overall comfort I feel when I get into bed. If we can spend on making ourselves more productive, I think it’s just as worth it to spend on making sure we get quality rest—which, in this case, would be getting a weighted eye mask.

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