One of the worlds most famous insomniacs.
If Marilyn Monroe were alive today, she’d be the first to tell you, beauty sleep is important. She knew better than anyone the restorative power of sleep even though, sadly, it eluded her for a great deal of her adult life.
When I was much younger, burning the midnight candle had an element of excitement about it. Getting stuff done 5 minutes to midnight or 3 am, depending on the project.
Pulling an all-nighter? No problems. Clubbing ’til dawn? Fresh as a daisy.
But wait, this is not insomnia. This is just a lack of sleep.
Unlike Marilyn, I never had any trouble with sleep.
And despite the sleepless habits of my youth, as I began to take life more seriously, the blessed oblivion of a restful night of sleep became the preferred way of spending my evenings.
Call it what you like, but we need our beauty sleep. Our body needs deep uninterrupted sleep, and if you have insomnia, then you know only too well how much sleep you really need.
No matter what you tell yourself, you are not at your best without sleep.
Mentally on edge, not on your game, clear thinking and reaction times slow down, and emotions are easily frayed.
Without sleep, memories that are laid down by the hippocampus for future recollections don’t happen.
Your body, your skin and definitely your mind are all impeded when sleep is lost.
For some, those of us that are lifelong insomniacs learning to cope with less sleep can become a self-anointed superpower of sorts. If your insomnia becomes chronic, it might be easier to believe it’s possible to function with less sleep. But this just isn’t true.
Or we’re just too busy—no time for sleep.
What are we busy doing? Where are we rushing to? What would happen if we just stopped trying so hard? What if we stopped wearing our busyness and lack of sleep as a badge of honour?
So many what if’s. And then. COVID19. Suddenly, those days of intense busyness? Gone.
In 2020 we were able to reassess what it meant to be busy and ask ourselves why productivity had become the measure of success rather than the actual quality of the work?
Never was this more apparent than when millions worldwide set up home offices and reluctant bosses were forced to trust their employees.
Nothing like an emergency to catapult us into a better way of doing things. Many thought, myself included, this new way of doing work was long overdue.
But, with the stress of a long commute on hold and alarm clocks reset to a more civilised time, did we get better at switching off at the end of the day? Were we sleeping better?
Well, probably not as COVID19 brought with it new stress, too many to list here, and you know better than anyone what kept you up at night.
It’s not a problem until the day it is.
Personally, sleep had never been a problem for me until the day that it was.
And then, it became a real problem.
Circadian rhythms are suddenly out of whack. Too many devices quietly buzzing in the background. Too many hours absorbing the blue light of my computer screen.
Late nights turning into early mornings as worry dominated my thoughts. Too hot or too wired to sleep.
What was that noise? And why is that crack of light bothering me so much?
Another sleepless night. Oh, the dread. How will I get through tomorrow with so little sleep?
There are so many reasons why insomnia becomes a problem. Some of us know the cause, an inability to switch off or manage stress or an underlying medical condition.
The sweet symphony our hormones play in our body can, at times, skip a few notes and betray us. For me, insomnia had become just another symptom in a very long list triggered by menopause.
Trouble falling asleep and staying asleep became the norm, and what was once taken for granted went a little haywire. Insomnia became my world.
If you have insomnia or trouble staying asleep through the night, you know this is not a happy situation.
Visit your doctor.
Don’t roll your bloodshot eyes. If sleep disturbance goes beyond the occasional night of sleeplessness, then you should check in with your GP. I’m not suggesting they’ll have answers for you; in fact, being told to turn off devices and other sleep hygiene practices can feel a little frustrating when you’ve tried everything, and you suspect it might be something else.
In my opinion, very few general practitioners will solve the problem you’re having with insomnia; even so, they can look for other underlying medical conditions that may be causing your insomnia or recommend a sleep or behavioural specialist.
This is important. Ruling out medical or other health conditions will take you one step closer to finding solutions to your insomnia.
What everyone will tell you.
Everyone has a solution. Everyone! Calming lavender, soothing essential oils, sleep-inducing valerian, and so many other herbs. A device-free zone. An eye mask to block out the slightest crack of light. Melatonin, Mindful meditation. Breath in, hold, breath out…
I’ve read enough articles on insomnia to know, most of these self-soothing practices don’t really work. Of course, they may be great for short-term bouts of insomnia. But, if you have a long-term sleep problem, you’ll need to look deeper for solutions.
Putting up with poor sleep should not be an option. Just accepting a life of insomnia will eventually hurt your health, and like choosing a life partner, you probably shouldn’t settle!
Consider finding a way to solve your insomnia as essential to your overall wellbeing. Work towards getting eight hours of sleep every night and then go brag about it.
Sleep disrupted by menopause?
If, like me, menopause was a trigger, then speak to your GP about it. Hormonal replacement therapy can help; progesterone, in particular, helps induce sleep and can break the cycle of sleepless nights. If your doctor seems reluctant or not up-to-date on HRT’s, then find a doctor who is. Don’t let them fob you off!!!
Wearing a sleep mask.
I started wearing a sleep mask at night when my corporate career meant many sleepless nights in hotel rooms. And while a sleep mask can help block out light, it’s never been an answer to chronic insomnia suffered due to menopause.
Could the sleep mask be innovated?
Yes, it appears it can and like all great innovations, it’s all so obvious once it’s invented.
Recently I was given the opportunity to try a sleep mask claiming to reduce wrinkles and improve relaxation.
Created by Dr Harris, a well-known cosmetic doctor in the UK. A long haul flight, the catalyst for finding a solution to relaxation, sleeplessness, and the muscular contractions that can lead to lines and wrinkles on the forehead.
The mask is promoted as an anti-wrinkle sleep mask. You can wear it for 15 minutes at a time to relax the muscles that cause a frown while improving emotional relaxation.
The Anti Wrinkle Mask by Dr Harris is said to smooth your lines as it soothes your mind.
Either way, honestly? I think this unique sleep mask may change my life!
Okay, maybe I’m gushing too soon, but I’ve worn this sleep mask consistently for the last week, and I’ve slipped into blissful oblivion every night and managed 8 glorious hours of undisturbed sleep!
If you have insomnia, then you know the joy I’m feeling!!
So how does the sleep mask work?
The Anti Wrinkle Sleep Mask employs small raised silicone dots to reduce frown lines while promoting emotional relaxation.
The secret seems to lies in the raised silicone dots that allow the mask to gently but firmly grip the skin across the face, providing micro pressure to the mechanoreceptors; the tiny nerve endings in the forehead to relax muscular tension and induce emotional relaxation.
What about some evidence-based science?
A randomised, controlled comparative study between the silicone eye mask versus a regular eye mask was conducted to measure the reduction of glabellar (frown) lines and promote emotional relaxation.
The method used for the study?
The peer-reviewed double-blind, randomised controlled trial was conducted on 30 subjects with mild to severe frown lines caused by repetitive contraction of the glabella muscle.
Subjects of the trial in the experimental group were instructed to wear the silicone eye mask for 15 minutes, while those in the control group were instructed to wear a regular eye mask for 15 minutes.
Changes in frown lines were assessed by expert grading and image analysis of digital images of each group’s faces.
Emotional relaxation was measured by subject self-assessment.
The silicone eye mask significantly improved the appearance of glabellar lines after 15 minutes compared to the regular eye mask, with comparable benefits at around 5 hours. The silicone eye mask group also showed a greater tendency toward emotional relaxation.
The silicone eye mask can significantly improve the appearance of frown lines while promoting emotional relaxation. If you’d like to read the full study, you’ll find it here.
If you’re keen for more information on this innovative sleep mask, you’ll find it over at CurrentBody, the beauty device experts and the exclusive stockist of the Anti Wrinkle Sleep Mask by Dr Harris.
Or, if you’d like more support in relaxation and meditation, you might like The Meeting Of Minds, created exclusively for CurrentBody, which takes the relaxation benefits from the Anti-Wrinkle Sleep Mask by Dr Harris to the next level with a meditation practice from Andrew Johnson.
So, I was gifted this mask for trial and review, and this article is based on my opinion. However, this is not a paid sponsorship with CurrentBody or Dr Harris. And while there is no doubt the Anti Wrinkle Sleep Mask has helped me, this is my personal (albeit extremely positive), experience and the results may differ for you.
But for me, it could be a game-changer in getting a good night of sleep.
It’s also worth noting in the clinical trials; there was a 64 per cent reduction in wrinkles. While it does not replace the powerful effects of botulinum toxin muscle relaxing injections, it’s an impressive result.
If you’d like to know more about my experience with the Anti Wrinkle Sleep Mask by Dr Harris, you can reach me here. Or if you think this article could help someone else, why not share it on your socials.
See you next time,