Even as we get older, some of us don’t like sleeping in total darkness.
Others can only rest when it is dark. These people may have trouble sleeping when the sun rises early in the summer.
Viviana Greco, a researcher at Cardiff University, is one such person.
When she moved to Wales from Italy, she found that her curtains weren’t darkening her room and she was waking up early in the summer.
As a sleep specialist, she decided to do some research.
In collaboration with a European and American team, she studied how wearing an eye mask at night affected people’s thinking the next day.
According to this study, wearing an eye mask at night can help us feel more alert and even improve our memory.
They conducted two experiments. In the first, 89 people spent a week – in the summer – wearing an eye mask at night.
After five days, the researchers ran tests to measure the participants’ memory and alertness.
They then spent a week sleeping without a mask and performed the same tests.
The results showed people were more alert and had better memory after a week of sleeping with the mask on.
Thirty-three people participated in the second experiment. The experience was similar, but this time they wore a sleep tracker.
The device showed that people had better memory when they spent more time in deep sleep while wearing a mask – but, interestingly, not when they spent more time in deep sleep without a mask.