For those who have used a weighted eye pillow, also known as a dream pillow, either in a yoga class or in meditation,
know how soothing they can be! These DIY eye pillows are quick to make, and to share as wonderful gifts.
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WHY USE WEIGHTED EYE PILLOWS
The utilization of eye pillows may very well be the greatest tool we have available to us to heal, calm & balance our nervous systems. WHY? The vagus nerve. The vagus nerve is one of twelve cranial nerves that runs from the brain down the back of the neck into the heart and lungs and then on to the abdomen and digestive track.
According to a review from Front Psychiatry in 2018, “Vagus Nerve as Modulator of the Brain-Gut Axis in Psychiatric and Inflammatory Disorders“, the vagus nerve is largely responsible for the modulation of our parasympathetic nervous system and responds favorably by light acupressure on the eyelids.
– Review NCBI
The vagus nerve represents the main component of the parasympathetic nervous system, which oversees a vast array of crucial bodily functions, including control of mood, immune response, digestion, and heart rate.
It establishes one of the connections between the brain and the gastrointestinal tract and sends information about the state of the inner organs to the brain via afferent fibers.
This light acupressure on the eyes creates a reflex of lowering the heart rate. This reflex is known as an Oculocardiac Reflex or the Aschner-Dagnini reflex. According to an article in Open Anesthesia, “Oculocardiac reflex: afferent path“, the definition & history of this term was developed in 1908.
– Open Anesthesia
In 1908, Aschner described a decrease in heart rate as a consequence of applying pressure directly to the eyeball. This phenomenon would eventually be termed “the oculocardiac reflex” and is defined clinically as a decrease in heart rate by 10% following pressure to the globe or traction of the ocular muscles.
BENEFITS OF USING AN EYE PILLOW
The gentle acupressure from the weight on the eyelids stimulates the vagus nerve which in turn creates a deep sense of relaxation and ease within the body & the mind. The relaxation achieved through eye pillow use extends to relieving anxiety, depression & fatigue.
Weighted Eye Pillows Ease Insomnia!
The deep relaxation created through the continued use of eye pillows, lays the foundation for a restorative sleep, allowing you to wake feeling refreshed and energized.
Weighted Eye Pillows Soothes The Eyes!
When your eyes are feeling itchy, tired & strained from over-use or extended screen time, relief can be had by placing the weighted eye pillow on for ten or more minutes.
Eye Pillows Reduces External Stimuli!
Dream pillows or weighted eye pillows effectively curtail all external stimuli. Bright lights & any visual stimuli are blocked, allowing the senses to turn inward and fully relax.
WHY CHOOSE FLAXSEED FOR YOUR WEIGHTED EYE PILLOW
Flaxseed creates the perfect weight needed to stimulate the vagus nerve via the eyelids. Flax also holds temperature very well, both warm & cold. By placing a cooled or gently heated eye pillow over the eyes, relief for headaches & migraines, pain, high stress, and sinus pressure can all be relieved.
LAVENDER BENEFITS WHEN MAKING EYE PILLOWS
The benefits of lavender essential oil are many. Not only is lavender considered to have antiseptic & anti-inflammatory properties, but it’s aromatherapy benefits include treating insomnia, creating a sense of relaxation, treating restlessness, depression, and anxiety. And if that weren’t enough, it just plain smells amazing!
HOW TO MAKE WEIGHTED EYE PILLOWS
FIND THE PERFECT MATERIAL
I find the hardest part of creating an eye pillow is finding the perfect material! I made these two pillows as gifts this past holiday. I love using contrasting material for the two sides giving the pillow a bit more dimension. My go to fabric for eye pillows is silk/silk blend. I find this material to be cooling & soft when resting on the eyes.
BREAK OUT THE SEWING MACHINE
My finished pillow measures 8.5 inches by 4 inches. I find this size to be perfect for most face sizes. You can always adjust your sizing as needed. Working with silk/silk blends can be a bit tricky as the material is so slippery & soft, it wants to shift easily. With this in mind, give yourself a good 1/2 inch seam allowance all the way around. Therefore, add 1 inch to your desired finish size.
Once you’ve decided on the material, time to break out the sewing machine and supplies needed to stitch one up! You will need a rotary cutter or scissors, a cutting mat if using a rotary cutter, and a ruler.
I cut a rectangle for the “top” and the “bottom” measuring, 9.5 x 5 inches. Again, once stitched with the seam allowance this will leave me with an end size of 8.5 x 4 inches.
Many prefer to line their pillows with an additional layer of cloth. I find this an unnecessary step and when I have tried that, the pillows are not as pliable and soft. Therefore, I only use the two rectangles per pillow. As you can see in the above right photo, I am making two pillows.
With right sides of your material facing each other, stitch around all sides, leaving a 2 inch opening on one end of the pillow. Trim your corners to remove bulk. Turn right side out and gently use a pencil to push the corners out.
GATHER YOUR FILLING INGREDIENTS
For the filling, mix flaxseeds, dried lavender, and lavender essential oil. I am able to grow my own lavender & dry it (I love using my own as it makes the pillow extra special when giving as a gift). If you are not able to grow your own, it can be purchased here. The lavender essential oil I display in the picture is no longer available, but another recommended brand can be found here.
I recommend using a large bowl with a pour spout, and I generally estimate the amounts. For these two pillows, I used a little more than one 16 oz bag of flaxseeds and approximately 3 oz. of dried lavender flowers. Add 10-15 drops of lavender essential oil, or to your “
FILLING YOUR DIY EYE PILLOWS
Remember that 2 inch hole we left at one end of the pillow when stitching? Insert the funnel end into the hole & fill the pillow approximately 3/4 way full with the flax and lavender mixture or to your desired weight. Remove the funnel and blind stitch the hole shut.
Don’t have the time or desire to make your own restful eye pillow? IMSL offers made to order eye pillows for your convenience. Click the button below & see our beautiful products and organizational tools!
Have you made them? I would love to see your pictures & hear about your process! Comment below & be sure to subscribe to receive my monthly newsletter, “happenings on the hill”.
I have a sewing ministry called Threads of Love, we make baby gowns for the babies in the NICU. When I came across this I was thankful. I love lavender and it helps when the sinuses acting up with the headache. Anyway, I started making this for the Ladies Guild Bazaar but as I was packaging these, I thought what a treat for my Threads of Love Ladies! They were thrilled and couldn’t wait to us them. So easy to make and the flaxseed and lavender you can buy on Amazon. Thank you so much for posting this.
Thank you for sharing! I love that you are able to share & give these as gifts!
I made a bunch of these to go in a self care gift bag for a girls weekend! Do you have a label for them?
So glad you were able to make them. Hopefully you found the tutorial easy to follow! I don’t have labels created as of right now, but great idea!
One thing you need to be aware of, is the weight can cause blurred vision in some people. You should distribute the seed so the main weight is supported by the bone structures ‘around’ the eyes, your forehead (3rd eye) etc, & not the eyes themselves. Most people don’t get effected, but one of my sound bath customers had blurred vision for a couple of hours. A little research found that people with glaucoma shouldn’t use them, as it’s added pressure on their eyes. All very interesting, because I’d only ever heard of ‘benefits’. Definitely a good thing to know & advise others on. Can also happen with a sleeping eye mask that is too tight apparently. I personally LOVE my weighted eye pillow & have never had a problem.
All great information, Kylie. Thank you for sharing. The weight in these are distributed throughout the pillow, not just on the eyes themselves. However, individual responses to any therapy can vary greatly. Thank you for stopping by & sharing your wisdom.
This sounds great! I’d like to order 10 of them.
I can’t wait to try this: a weighted eye pillow seems like it would be so soothing!
What a great gift to make. I have made neck pillows with lavender and rice, but not a weighted eye pillow with flax seed. Love this idea. I love to sew and have a bunch of leftover material that would be perfect for this. Thanks!
This really intrigued me and now I want one! The fabric you used is really beautiful and they look so luxurious. I can’t wait to make one!
Wonderful, Sarah! Please be sure to stop back and share your end results! Happy Sewing!!
I am just coming across this post and can’t wait to make one! Would it be the same to use ground flax seed? I just bought some for smoothies and wondering if I could just use it for this as well or if it may leak out. Thank you!! 🙂
I would not recommend using ground flaxseed. Once the oils are released from the flaxseeds it needs to be kept refrigerated to keep it from going rancid. Another thought, I would think it would not rest as well on the eyes. Hope you can acquire some whole flaxseed and give it a try. Be sure to come back and let me know how it came out!
I’ve been given eye pillows at spas etc., and they are always so relaxing. I never thought about making one – what a great idea, Suzan! Thank you for sharing this wonderful post with the Hearth and Soul Link Party. I’m featuring it at this week’s party as part of a feature on Health and Wellness. I appreciate your support of the party, thank you! Have a beautiful week!
Thank you, April, for reading & for the feature! Happy to support such a great party as yours!
I love the use of flax seeds in these and the character the contrasting materials gives them! Thanks for sharing this with us at the Homestead Blog Hop!
This looks amazing. I bet it smells that way too. I need to get around to making one for myself. Thanks for the instructions!
It smells divine!! Hope you can make one, they work wonders.
I have made some eye pillows and hot and cold packs before, and I love how yours are made out of flax. Thanks so much for sharing.
Thank you for reading, Chas! I find the flax “settles” with a nice weight when being used.
Hello!! Love your post, just wondering about cleaning them? I use them in yoga and am often sweating by the end of class. Thanks!
You can do one of two things. Make a liner using the same method as described with your filling. Then make a second, outer cover adding a zipper option to one end making for easy cleaning of the zippered case. The other option you can do is take a tissue or two and lay that over the area of the pillow that will be covering your eyes. Hope that helps! Thanks for reading.
Great information! I am going to try these. I have made ones for the neck filled with rice in the past, but these eye pillows sound lighter and relaxing. Sometimes I have issues with my heart racing, so I am excited to try this on my eyes.
I’m glad you enjoyed it and hope you can make one for yourself. Any questions, let me know 🙂
Hi – I’ve made hundred of eye pillows using herbs and a light grain called millet. Millet produces a moist therapeutic heat that is light enough that it’s not claustrophobic to migraine sufferers. I use several herbs that I researched that are beneficial to pain and inflammation relief as well as easing congestion, flu and cold symptoms and allergies
I Love how thorough you are with your explanation on how eye pillows are beneficial. Thanks so much for posting. I will be saving this info and studying it closely. =D
I am a new reader from GivingNSharing – i’ll be back. I’m looking for a good “carmex” recipe. I had one a couple years ago and can’t find it anywhere and now with a early winter I need it.
Welcome! Always a pleasure to have new readers!
That’s the beauty of these…so versatile. Use any grain or filling you want. I have not had any issues with migraine sufferers complaining of feeling claustrophobic with my pillows, but definitely something I will inquire about.
I have not made anything as involved as a carmex to date, but do make a wonderfully simple lip balm that I will be sharing in upcoming posts.
If you have not already, be sure to subscribe to receive periodic emails with additional tips, recipes, and special promotions only available when subscribed. I look forward to connecting!
Can I add essential oil after the aroma is non longer coming from the pillow ?
Hi Molly. You could, but I would recommend taking a seam ripper and releasing the 2-inch hole that was stitched up last in the tutorial. Add your essential oil directly to the flaxseed and then stitch the hole back up. Hope that helps!
These are amazing! I diffuse lavender essential oil at night. I suffer from insomnia, so I will be making these to hopefully help with that. Thanks for the great idea!
You are most welcome, Anitra! Be sure to stop back and show me your pillow!
This is perfect. A few weeks ago I saw eye pillows being sold for $20 and it being expensive for a small eye pillow I did not buy it. Now I can make my own for very cheap. Thank you for sharing.
That’s wonderful, Jessica! Be sure to come back and show us your pillow 🙂
Great post! What an awesome way to not only relax but to stimulate the vagus nerve at the same time. I’m in love with the pillow you showcased. It’s beautiful…and my favorite color!
Thank you, Kristi! These are my colors as well 🙂
Can this be warmed up in a microwave? If so what happens to the silk part? Or do you warm it up but mindful of the timer.
Yes it can be, Maria. Thanks to the natural oils in the flax seed. I do not own a microwave, so I have never heated mine. I would be careful of the silk and be mindful as you suggested until you can determine an appropriate time. Also, be sure that your silk is 100% silk and does not contain any synthetic fabrics in the mix.
Does the flaxseed go out of date over time, or does it need to be changed after a certain period of time? 😊
Hi Kathryn ~
I have never had an issue with the flax seed expiring or needing to be changed. Thanks so much for the question and taking the time to stop by!
These would make great Valentine’s Day gifts for relatives can’t eat chocolate!
They sure would, Lee! Love to see yours if you make one!
Time to grab myself a sewing machine! honestly though – i have little lavender satchets around my home already, why not make it into an eye pillow! great idea.
Hi Ashley ~
Absolutely! Love to see yours when you’re done!
What an informative and healthful DIY! I had to share. I have set it to reblog on my blog for Monday morning at 8 🙂 . I will definitely be making one of these for my husband. Thanks for such a detailed and thorough tutorial.
Thank you so much for the wonderful response & link Vicki! I’m so glad you enjoyed it and cannot wait to see your final pillow!