How Sleep Affects Your Eye Health

It is very rare to find someone who doesn’t enjoy their sleep. Our bodies all require long periods of sleep for it to be able to rest, grow muscle, repair tissue and synthesize hormones. It also gives your brain an opportunity to sort and store the information of the day, as well as hopefully switching off and enabling you to relax without overthinking.

Exactly how much sleep we need varies depending on our age and research has shown that adults need 7 or more hours of sleep in every 24-hour period for the best health and wellbeing. Despite this fact, our busy and hectic lifestyles mean that very few of us actually get the recommended amount of sleep each night. In fact, as many as 35% of Americans don’t achieve a regular 7 hours of sleep each night and a whopping 97% of teenagers get less than the recommended amount of sleep. 

Unsurprisingly, a lack of sleep can be detrimental to our general health. Not only does being overtired cause us to feel irritable and have a shorter temper than usual, even just two nights of missing sleep can make it difficult or impossible to carry out day to day tasks. However, it may surprise you to learn that sleep can also have a significant impact on our eye health too. 

All parts of our bodies need adequate time to rest and recuperate whilst we sleep, and our eyes are no exception. We generally rely on our eyes from the moment we wake until we finally fall asleep at night. This means that they are working hard for at least two-thirds of the day – usually longer! Studies have found that our eyes need at least 5 hours of sleep every night in order to properly replenish so that they can function properly the next day.

Some of the most common eye problems that can occur if you don’t have enough sleep include:

Eye Spasms:If you have ever experienced a twitchy eye, chances are it is because you didn’t get enough sleep the night before. These involuntary spasms, called myokymia, aren’t painful, but they can be annoying and make it difficult to carry out your usual activities.

Dry eyes: Dry eyes are another common problem experienced by patients who don’t get enough sleep. Your eyes may also be bloodshot, itchy, irritated and painful, and these symptoms are caused by a lack of lubrication. Other, more serious symptoms of this condition include blurred vision and light sensitivity.

Increased risk of infection: Sleep deprivation has been shown to weaken the immune system. This puts you at greater risk of developing an infection that affects your eye. In serious infections, your vision could come under threat.

Increased risk of serious eye conditions: Some studies have also found that patients who are sleep deprived are at greater risk of developing some serious, sight-threatening diseases, with one of the most prominent being glaucoma.

Getting a good night’s sleep can be easier than it sounds, but with these tips, you will have the best possible chance at securing enough rest to keep your eyes healthy and functioning perfectly.

  • Lower your lighting. Bright lights are more likely to keep you awake whilst dimmed varieties will help your brain realize that it is time to unwind and relax ready for bed.
  • Avoid screen time for at least an hour before bed. Blue light emissions from screens have shown to play a crucial role in making it harder to fall and stay asleep. This is because blue light produced by the screen can interfere with the production of melatonin – the chemical needed to help you get to sleep.
  • Get enough exercise. Exercise has been shown to help people’s bodies feel relaxed and calm.
  • Keep your bedroom cool.
  • Stick to a schedule so that your body knows what to expect.
  • Attend regular check-up examination appointments with our expert team.

If you are concerned that your lack of sleep is affecting your sight, don’t risk it deteriorating unnecessarily. Schedule an assessment with our knowledgeable and dedicated eye associated today.