What happens if you sleep with a face mask on?
Putting on face masks is foreign to the body. A mask encumbers breathing and compels one to inhale minimal oxygen than normal and also breathe back in some carbon dioxide. The mask can also protect the user from an infection, and all microbes that travel through the air such as dust, bacteria, or viruses. The government has made it compulsory to put on a face mask in public settings as a health mediation to reduce the transmission of coronavirus. Putting on of face masks is extensively discussed globally by professionals, putting on a face mask is one thing but there has been no precautionary fundamental analysis on the prospectively detrimental aftermath of such intervention.
Several pieces of research and analysis have formed the following postulations; here are some of the probable side effects of putting on masks for long periods; for instance overnight.
Decreased immune system
There are researches stipulate that low oxygen levels in the tissues; hypoxia can smother some facets of the immune response. Passably, it can also influence and feature other crucial functions of the immune cells. Scientific research has manifested that an extended declination of enough oxygen in the body can incapacitate the ability of the immune system to block infections. It is advised that during this period that putting on of face mask is mandatory, it is wise to take off the mask when away from people or maintain a distance of up to six meters. The aged and younger people wearing a mask are said more at risk.
Face masks make breathing more difficult; for people with chronic obstructive pulmonary disease: COPD, face masks are very unbearable to wear as it worsens their breathlessness. Besides, a fragment of carbon dioxide emitted is inbreathed at each respiratory sequence. The two situations shoot up breathing momentum and depth and automatically escalate the amount of inbreathed and emitted air. Now, this may aggravate the burden of the coronavirus if infected people putting on masks spread more polluted air. This may also intensify the clinical condition of infected people if the enhanced breathing pushes the viral heap down into their lungs. According to Lazzarino, face masks make breathing intensely aggravating for people with COPD that is a chronic obstructive pulmonary disease, which causes a minimized airflow thereby heightening their breathlessness. It is therefore a near-death sentence wearing a face mask to sleep, especially for individuals with underlying ailment although that is not to say it is healthy for others either.
It is best to moisturize your skin if you have dry skin before wearing a mask as this can help avert skin irritation at the point where the mask rubs your face. The type of fabrics used in making the face masks may cause itchiness, allergies, and redness on the skin. Through time, custom made cloth masks gradually become saturated with makeup, sweat, and beauty products, pollen, automotive exhaust, and any particles floating in the air. The allergic tendency is a side effect and that nullifies keeping the face mask on overnight absolutely because it will only heighten the state of skin irritation.
The impact of the coronavirus on the globe cannot be underestimated; give or take life has taken a different form. This impactful change will stay with us for a long while. After the spread of the new coronavirus all over the world, big organizations such as the World Health Organization made recommendations: wearing face masks; social distancing, and governments the world over implemented these measures compulsory. Though these measures are momentary requisitions, they have side effects. Wearing masks for an extended time frame has already been associated with breathing issues. However, a new side effect, referred to as ‘maskne’, is being affirmed by some individuals.
It is important to note that 'maskne' is NOT a medical term. It was fabricated currently to indicate to the acne being caused by extended wearing of facemasks. People who wear masks for too long or overnight, such as media experts, healthcare workers, or shopkeepers who deal with the populace throughout the day get all sweaty beneath their masks. This is what leads to the formation of acne on the skin, which is now being referred to as 'maskne'. Oily glands present on the surface of our skin release sebum, which is essential to provide the skin with water and defense. If these glands get highly stimulated, they give out excess sebum which stops the process of getting rid of skin cells thereby making these skin cells block the hair follicles, entrapping the sebum. It is the blocked pores that cause the growth of the bacteria that causes acne.
So, putting on a facemask for a lengthy period causes the face to get sweaty. The heat caused sweat along with the friction also caused by the mask translates to blocked pores. Moreover, the sweat that stays on the skin for long or all night encourages the growth of acne-causing bacteria because bacteria bloom in moist areas.
To avert such break out of skin allergies like acne, rash and other skin discomforts, make effort to do the following:
- Ensure to get 100% pure cotton face mask because the skin can breathe even while the mask is on.
- Regular laundering or washing of your face mask is advised to avert Coronavirus and also because the oil and dirt from your face will continue to accumulate on the mask and it is not healthy.
- Clean your face with a mild cleanser two times daily. Make use of an oil-free moisturizer for the skin health of your face to keep it moist.
- When staying at home, keep your face free so your facial skin can breathe.
- Ensure to eat healthily and avoid spicy or oily food because you tend to sweat more when you ingest such food thereby making your skin acne-prone.
Conclusively, putting on a face mask for an extended period whether during the hours of the day or overnight is not healthy either way but the risk to your overall health is higher when you wear it to sleep.
How to reduce your risk of contracting COVID-19
Want to reduce your risk of contracting COVID-19? To protect yourself, sleep more!
Getting a good night's rest is important especially during this stressful and uncertain time. It's an essential component of one's physical and mental health.
People are left wondering how best to protect themselves while sleeping. Some are asking the question, “Can I wear a face mask to sleep?”
It’s vital to understand why getting a night of good sleep is important, and when it's okay and not okay to wear a mask while sleeping. We’ll go over these things in this article.
Plus, we'll be sharing a couple of sleep hygiene techniques to help to improve your sleep routine.
Importance of Sleep during the COVID-19 Pandemic
People had experienced anxieties of all kinds brought about by the coronavirus outbreak. Continuously checking their screens for news updates, their social connections, and a lot more elevates stress levels. Several circumstances had made the ability to fall asleep less predictable, triggering insomnia.
Focusing on sleep instead of worrying is always a better way to care for our entire wellbeing. Health experts advise prioritizing sleep, given its influence on infection risk, as it plays a key role in one's health and well-being.
Poor sleep has been linked to physical and mental health issues, stress, and anxiety.
Here are three major benefits of sleeping regularly:
- Sleep gives the immune system a boost
Sleep is a natural immune booster. Combined with frequent hand washing, social distancing, and wearing masks, getting a good night’s rest is one way you can protect yourself. Adequate sleep is important in keeping your immune system healthy.
When you're in an overall healthy state, your immune system can have a strong defense against illnesses.
On the other hand, depriving ourselves of that much-needed sleep leads to negative effects. It weakens our body’s defense system and makes us more prone to contracting infections.
- Sleep keeps you functioning throughout the day.
It makes our minds work better. When we are well-rested, learning, memory, decision making, and even complex tasks become easier.
- Sleep improves mood and productivity.
Not getting enough sleep can give us a headache; make us irritable, depressed, and lethargic. When we get enough sleep, our overall energy and productivity improve. It regulates our mood and how we go through our daily tasks.
Can You Sleep With a Mask On?
This is a valid concern, especially with the fear of putting their loved ones or themselves at risk. If you live with someone who is sick at home, has tested positive for coronavirus, or is an immunocompromised individual.
Let’s take a look at the reasons why and when wearing a mask while sleeping is both okay and not okay.
When is Wearing a Sleep Mask Not Okay?
As noted in the first part of this blog, sleeping with masks has probable effects.
Wearing masks while sleeping isn’t comfortable and can restrict air movement. It can get dislodged from your ears. You’ll end up waking up without it especially if you keep turning while sleeping.
Thus, when you’re alone in your room, you don’t have to wear any mask at all.
When is Wearing a Sleep Mask Okay?
Sleeping with a mask depends on several factors. There are instances wherein one needs to wear a mask while sleeping.
One study shares that wearing a face mask while at home is a good idea if there is someone in the family who is under quarantine.
Sleeping with a mask (in certain situations) also provides benefits, including:
- It can combat sleep conditions especially for:
- People with sleep apnea - a condition associated with snoring and breathing problems at night.
- People who suffer from COPD (Chronic Obstructive Pulmonary Disorder)
- People with asthma or allergies
Wearing a nighttime face mask can help improve their energy levels.
- It provides additional warmth.
Wearing a mask during the cold season or winter while sleeping can keep the lower part of the face warm.
- It prevents dry throat.
When suffering from colds, one tends to breathe through the mouth. This leads to a dry throat. Wearing a mask while breathing traps moisture, so your throat stays moist until you wake up.
- It prevents moderate asthma or allergy attacks.
Wearing a mask helps filter out smoke, environmental odors, chemical scents, and other allergens present in your home or where you’re sleeping. It controls asthma or allergy attacks as it filters the entry of elements to your nose.
What else do you need to know?
You can also wear a mask when you’re traveling by airplane. Don’t worry as it’s safe to do so. Go over this article to better understand what happens when you sleep with a face mask on the plane.
When you wear a mask to sleep, avoid wearing it for an extended period. Change your mask when it gets wet or torn. If you’re using a reusable mask, make sure to wash them regularly.
Before you sleep with a mask, it’s recommended to consult your physician.
Sleeping Tips to Protect Yourself from COVID-19
Sleep is crucial, especially in these unprecedented times. It's vital to prioritize sleep and practice sleep hygiene.
You can change a few habits so you can sleep better at night.
Here are some tips and techniques to consider:
- Set a regular bedtime.
Create your sleep schedule. Establish a reasonable sleeping and waking time, and the number of hours you need. Train yourself to stick to this routine.
- Limit blue light exposure before bedtime.
Turn off your devices at least 30 minutes before bedtime. This includes your cell phones, laptops, tablets, video games, and televisions. Try to avoid reading in your bedroom as well.
- Make your bedroom a peaceful sanctuary.
Associate your bedroom for sleeping. Enhance your sleep environment to make it conducive to sleep. Keeping it comfortable, quiet, and dark can go a long way to helping you rest.
- Be mindful of what you eat and drink.
Better eat early as it would be hard to sleep when your body is still digesting food. Keep your dinner small and drinking to a minimum. Also, avoid taking alcohol or caffeine in the evening.
- Establish a relaxing bedtime routine.
Having a routine prepares your brain and your body for sleep. Try breathing exercises, meditation, praying, or journaling before bedtime. A warm, relaxing bath works too.
- Structure your daytime schedule
Do your daily activities at certain times of the day. You can also set an alarm to remind yourself that it's almost bedtime, then do so. If you have to nap during the day, keep it to a maximum of 30 minutes.
- Gain control over stress.
Find ways how you can cope up with stress. If you're too stressed, it would be harder for your body to relax. You can manage it by doing things you'd love like painting or photography. Talking with a loved one or a friend (even virtually) helps too.
- Find time for you.
You must give yourself a couple of minutes alone each day. Minimize calls and conversations during your "me" time. You can play soothing music as you take a hot bath or read a book.
Getting a Good Sleep in the Coronavirus Pandemic
COVID-19 has created strain in our lives. While sleep is not a cure for COVID-19, it's our best guard against it. It’s paramount to better health.
Until a vaccine is available, the key is to reduce one’s risk of infection as much as possible. Getting good quality sleep is more important now than ever.
Remember to just do your best to go to bed.
Have a good night’s sleep – with or without masks on!