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How to Improve Your Sleep Quality on the Go with a Travel Sleep Mask
How to Improve Your Sleep Quality on the Go with a Travel Sleep Mask

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Wine tours in Italy. Lions on an African safari. A great night’s sleep in a 4-star hotel. Ah...our vacation bucket lists.

For the unseasoned traveler, vacation is all about the places you’ll go and the things you’ll see while awake. It’s rare to see a travel bucket list that includes sleep as a must-do activity. 

But more and more people are incorporating the idea of rest into their vacation itineraries.

Have Silk Sleep Mask. Will Travel: The Truth About Vacation Zzz's

Many people go on vacation partly because their bodies need a recharge, which requires sleep. That’s one of the biggest ironies of sleeping while traveling. You have everything you need for a luxury sleep—the right PJs, a cushy sleep mask, and nowhere to be for 2 weeks. Yet, sleep can often be elusive on vacation.

This is particularly true for those who try to sleep on a plane or train on their way to their destinations. It's too many hours spent without a good sleep position and the complete darkness that makes for a good night's rest.

Why You Need More Time With Your Eyes Behind Sleep Masks

mask to block unwanted light during travel

There is an unfortunate meme going around social media that says, I'll sleep when I'm dead. The gist of this is that now's the time to work. Sleep can come later, like when making your way through the heavenly realm.

Aside from straddling the boundaries of poor taste, the joke represents one of the great untruths of the modern age.

It implies that going without the proper amount of sleep for long periods (that's at least 7 to 9 hours) comes with few side effects, other than puffy eyes and the need for a quadruple-shot espresso the next morning.

Yet the National Heart, Lung, and Blood Institute points out that the side effects of lack of sleep go way beyond that. People who don't get enough sleep suffer heart issues, high blood pressure, obesity, kidney disease, and depression.

Researchers also associate chronic sleep deprivation with a greater chance of accidents and injuries. Aside from being responsible for 16% of all fatal car crashes (per Science Daily), some big disasters, including the Space Shuttle Challenger explosion in 1986 and the Exxon Valdez oil spill in 1989 (per Somnology), have been attributed to a lack of proper sleep.

In the latter case, not getting a restful night's sleep often means falling asleep at the wheel or on the job with very real consequences.

Conquering the Bedroom Battle at Home and Abroad

travel sleep mask that fits all head sizes

The Healthy suggests that good sleep comes from having the right sleep environment. Two primary elements contribute to this:

  1. How warm it is in the room you're sleeping
  2. How much light you're exposed to while sleeping

At home, this doesn't pose as much of a problem. You have control over your bedroom's temperature. You snooze on your own bed, complete with silk pillowcases that keep you cool and a memory foam mattress that keeps you comfortable.

Light-blocking curtains allow you to fall asleep when the ambient light is still too bright. Or if you must sleep at odd hours during the day.

If you need total darkness to fall asleep, you can also get a sleep eye mask with an adjustable strap to minimize any light leakage from the windows and bedside electronics. In short, you have a lot of control over the amount of light that seeps into your room.

Bedtime bliss outside your air-conditioned New York City apartment or house in the 'burbs is harder to obtain. While you can generally assume that if you vacation in the US, you'll have access to temperature control in your room.

That's not always the case when you travel abroad, where air conditioning is sometimes almost non-existent. In that case, a silk hair tie, a handy silk pillowcase that keeps sweat away from your neck, and a sheets-only night can be your best friends.

Further reading:

How to Choose the Best Sleep Mask for Travel

Getting total darkness during sleep is easier to control on the road if you know what kind of sleep mask to pack in your bag. Here are some eye mask tips to help you get a good night's sleep.

three masks in different colors

The best travel sleep mask blocks light completely

Your sleep mask should apply only light pressure to the eye area. There should be no gaps where light can seep in. The unwanted pressure that comes from wearing a too-tight sleep eye mask keeps you awake.

A sleep mask with an elastic strap works around all kinds of nose shapes, making it easier to fit snugly on your face. (That goes ditto for the face and head shape.

Elastic works best because it can adjust to different head circumferences.) You'll likely nod off faster because you've eliminated many of the things that make sleep uncomfortable.

Choose a sleep eye mask made of a soft, quality fabric

Silk keeps your eye area and long eyelashes looking lovely because it's super lightweight and easy on the skin around the eyes. It won't tweak your eyelashes in funny directions or leave creases on your skin in the morning. Other masks, even soft cotton ones, don't do for your skin what a silk eye mask will.

Bring a variety of sleep masks with you

If you're on a special trip, like your honeymoon, blocking light is only one of the reasons why you want an assortment of different sleep masks in addition to your regular sleep mask. From an I'm-feeling-pretty standpoint, having multiple masks in multiple colors allows you to accessorize your eye masks with the rest of your sleepwear.

As one of our regular customers, Sandra M., pointed out, "I love these masks! [...] I now have a travel mask for travel and one for home. I could have one in every color."

Bringing 2 or 3 masks with you ensures you have plenty of sleepwear fashion variety at bedtime. It's one of the benefits of Blissy Sleep Masks. You have a wide variety of styles to choose from.

Select a sleep eye mask you can move in

If you're among those who never move during the night, even if a freight train were to barge through your hotel room, this section probably isn't for you.

However, if you count yourself among those who are side sleepers for a few minutes, then back sleepers, and finally, tummy crawlers, then you know how easy it is to get tangled up with ill-fitting PJ's and unsecured sleep masks.

A sleep eye mask that can accommodate different sleep styles by keeping the mask on your head, no matter your face shape, lends itself to a better night's sleep.

Aside from having perfect light-blocking superpowers, the eye mask should be able to accommodate a variety of head shapes, be super soft—yet not so soft it moves around when you do—and not cause undue eye pressure because the adjustable elastic strap is too tight.

Basically, you want to ensure that the entire mask stays in its proper place and fits your face and nose bridge comfortably, yet snuggly. Otherwise, it'll move around when you turn over.

Other Snooze Hacks Besides Sleep Masks

While eye masks play a big role in helping you get some sleep while you're on the road, there are some other travel hacks you should know and items you should put into your travel bag.

adjustable head strap mask and melatonin tablets

Pack some melatonin

WebMD points out that sleeping in a new place hinders your rest, at least for the first night. Just as it's difficult to fall asleep in a new apartment for the first couple of days, the same is true of hotels, Airbnb, and the works.

Being slightly "awake" is a defense that lets us know if the sound we just heard came from the house settling or something more ominous. That knee-jerk reaction calms down after a day or so. Until then, melatonin can help a bit.

Pack some earplugs

Some environments coax the Zzz's out of us better than others. For those living in the suburbs, the first night or two in a big city, like London or Berlin, may be too noisy for sleep. A chic sleep mask plus some earplugs solves that problem. 

Consider adjusting your diet

It's easy to get dehydrated when you travel. According to The Sleep Foundation, airplane cabins suck the moisture out of your skin and body. While you can't bypass that if you're flying to your destination, you can mitigate the effects.

Eat light meals instead of heavy ones. Forego caffeine if you can. This helps to offset feelings of bloating and discomfort that ruin your sleep. 

Minimize your pre-trip stressors

Doing everything at the last minute ensures that you'll be stressed by the time your trip commences. Too much pressure to get to someplace on time when you haven't packed properly or taken care of things with the housesitter makes for an uptick in stress.

This negatively affects your sleep. All the eye masks in the world won't help you get the calm you need to induce sleep if you're stressed out.

Final Thoughts on the Best Sleep Masks for Traveling

Choosing the right sleep mask for your next trip makes getting some quality Zzzz's much easier. Blissy has done away with the features that make an eye mask uncomfortable, making travel sleep one of the best parts of your vacation.

 

View Sources

  • Carrick, E. (2023, February 2). What Flying First Class Is Really Like and How to Decide If It's Worth It. Travel + Leisure. https://www.travelandleisure.com/travel-tips/guide-to-flying-first-class
  • Cirino, E. (2018, November 27). Headache from Lack of Sleep? Here’s What to Do. Healthline. https://www.healthline.com/health/lack-of-sleep-headache
  • Dong, C. (2023, March 23). These Are the Biggest Travel Trends of 2023, According to the President of American Express Travel. Travel + Leisure. https://www.travelandleisure.com/top-travel-trends-of-2023-american-express-travel-president-7370758
  • Harvard Health. (2020, July 7). Blue light has a dark side. https://www.health.harvard.edu/staying-healthy/blue-light-has-a-dark-side
  • Hogan, L. (2021, September 22). How to Sleep Better While Traveling / On a Road Trip. WebMD. https://www.webmd.com/sleep-disorders/features/how-to-sleep-better-traveling
  • How Long Does Jet Lag Last? It Depends on a Lot. (2022, July 18). https://www.risescience.com/blog/how-long-does-jet-lag-last
  • Jet lag disorder - Symptoms and causes - Mayo Clinic. (2022, November 19). Mayo Clinic. https://www.mayoclinic.org/diseases-conditions/jet-lag/symptoms-causes/syc-20374027
  • McInnis, K. (2023, March 1). How to Sleep on a Plane—Even If You’re in the Middle Seat. Condé Nast Traveler. https://www.cntraveler.com/story/how-to-sleep-on-a-plane
  • Mpa, L. F. (2023, January 6). These Are the 2 Biggest Factors That Affect Sleep When You Travel, Says an Insomnia Specialist. The Healthy. https://www.thehealthy.com/travel/sleep-quality-travel/
  • Sleep deprived people more likely to have car crashes. (2018, September 18). ScienceDaily. https://www.sciencedaily.com/releases/2018/09/180918082041.htm
  • Somnology. (2021). How Sleep Influenced 5 Major Disasters. Somnology MD. https://www.somnologymd.com/2019/11/disasters-caused-by-lack-of-sleep/
  • Suni, E., & Suni, E. (2023). Travel and Sleep. Sleep Foundation. https://www.sleepfoundation.org/travel-and-sleep
  • Tigar, L. (2022, December 16). Can Never Sleep on an Airplane? Seasoned Travelers Spill 14 Snoozing Secrets. Reader’s Digest. https://www.rd.com/list/how-to-sleep-on-a-plane/
  • What Are Sleep Deprivation and Deficiency? | NHLBI, NIH. (2022, March 24). NHLBI, NIH. https://www.nhlbi.nih.gov/health/sleep-deprivation

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