Hi. It’s me, a very tired mom. I’ll do you a solid and get straight to the point: If you’re having trouble feeling relaxed at night and banking some deep sleep, I know of something pretty simple that will help you: A sleep mask.
How can I be so sure? A few reasons: 1. The CurrentBody Dr. Harris Anti-Wrinkle Sleep Mask has third-party clinical studies proving its efficacy (more on that ahead); 2. I’ve been using it every night for the past four months and have seen a difference in how refreshed I look (and feel!); and 3. I gifted one to my husband Gio, who tracks his sleep via his Garmin watch and has seen a noticeable uptick in the hours of deep sleep he gets (before wearing the mask, his light sleep far outweighed his deep sleep on a regular basis).
All that said, I want to note that the mask falls is priced more like a beauty device than a sleep mask — it’s $125. The price is steep, but it might feel more reasonable if you consider the mask a non-invasive sleep- and skin-boosting treatment backed with loads of impressive science. Allow me to elaborate.
Why the Anti-Wrinkle Sleep Mask was created:
The patented CurrentBody Dr. Harris Anti-Wrinkle Sleep Mask, $125, was created by Dr. Steven Harris, one of London’s leading aesthetic doctors, after he found himself feeling super anxious on a flight. “I was on a plane feeling quite stressed and the attendants were handing out eye masks,” he explained, “but since I was feeling nervous, I found myself kind of frowning under the mask, so I started using my two fingers to try and separate the muscles [between my eyebrows] to help relax them.”
They then handed out those grippy socks and that’s when the idea came to Dr. Harris: Why not use grippy silicone nubs on the inside of the eye mask to provide resistance against the skin, keeping certain facial muscles in place. He brought the idea to CurrentBody, a site that specializes in facial devices, who helped him take it to the next level.
If you’re a skeptic like me, I know what you’re thinking: How are the silicone nubs from the bottom of socks going to make a difference in the fine lines and wrinkles on my face, much less help me feel more relaxed?
How the mask works:
I put my questions to Dr. Harris in a Zoom. Sure, I’d been using it for four months and definitely noticed a difference in my overall skin tone and fine lines, but it had been gifted to me and the price tag made me cautious about recommending it to friends. I needed to hear about the science.
“It works by stimulating the touch receptors in the skin, called mechanoreceptors,” he explains. “I positioned the dots on the mask to target a specific kind of mechanoreceptor that’s linked to the rest and digest system of the body, the parasympathetic nervous system. This mask triggers relaxation both emotionally and muscularly; it’s in that amplified relaxed state where fine lines and wrinkles can be affected.”
The silicone dots in the mask are pressed against your skin when you wear the mask, which keeps you from furrowing the glabellar muscles (the ones that create the “11” lines between your eyebrows). “I call it 2R technology: 1R = resistance 2R = relaxation,” Dr. Harris says.
Yes, there’s proven science behind it.
After Dr. Harris saw success with the mask himself and with the friends and peers he had asked to try it, he knew he had to do a trial. So, in a double-blind randomized controlled study in PRIME, a peer-reviewed journal, 30 subjects with mild to severe glabellar lines were tested. In the experimental group, 15 people wore the silicone eye mask for 15 minutes, while 15 people in the control group wore a regular eye mask for 15 minutes. The results? The silicone eye mask significantly improved the appearance of the glabellar lines after just 15 minutes in comparison to the subjects who wore the regular eye mask. The silicone eye mask group also showed a greater tendency toward emotional relaxation.
When to wear it yourself:
I’ve personally been wearing it all night, every single night for the past four months, and can attest that it puts me in a deeper sleep; honestly, even my face looks more relaxed when I wake up.
My husband has also been wearing his for about three months and, via his Garmin watch, has been able to clock in hours of deep sleep that he hadn’t seen before — like, five hours of deep sleep versus the two to three hours he got before wearing the mask.
Gio’s Sleep Tracker
Additionally, Dr. Harris told me that you can also wear the mask for 15 minutes after work to wind down, since it instantly begins to put you in a relaxed state — people have even told him they’ll meditate with it. He mentioned that it also can help when you start to feel physical symptoms of anxiety, as well as jaw-clenching. “Since all of the facial muscles are connected, it relaxes that muscle as well,” Dr. Harris adds.
How to care for your mask:
Dr. Harris recommends hand washing it and laying it flat to dry. Skip putting it in the dryer or ironing it, since the heat could alter the silicone nubs. Basically, treat it with care.
Is this mask worth it?
The short answer: Yes. Though it’s expensive, I wear this sleep mask every night because I’ve felt its effect on my sleep patterns and my skin. Because it’s silk, it won’t tug on your skin, and the large sizes allows it to cover more of your face than other sleep masks. But at the end of the day, it’s the technology and science that makes it worth the price tag.
Harris, S. Mathers, M. Don Other, M. Sabelus, S. (2016). Reduction of Glabellar Lines Using Silicone Eye Mask. Prime Journal. https://www.prime-journal.com/reduction-of-glabellar-lines-using-a-silicone-eye-mask
Knize D. M. (2000). Muscles that act on glabellar skin: a closer look. Plastic and reconstructive surgery, 105(1), 350–361. https://doi.org/10.1097/00006534-200001000-00056