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Posted by: Mitchell Refractive Surgery & Eye Center

How Can Getting a Good Night’s Sleep Help to Improve Eye Health

Our minds are so busy thinking and making decisions daily, but we must rest our bodies, minds, and eyes to be refreshed to succeed in daily activities. A full night’s sleep is the remedy, but we can definitely feel it when we don’t get enough sleep.

An interesting relationship exists between the quality and quantity of sleep we get and our eye health. We want to encourage better eye health with a restful night’s sleep and helpful tips.

Are You Sleep Deprived?

Some symptoms of sleep deprivation may include a weakened immune system, weight gain, high blood pressure, memory issues, and mood changes, all of which can also impact eye health.

Eyes need at least five hours of sleep per night to replenish and function well throughout the day. The longer you go without enough sleep, the more symptoms you might notice, such as eye strain, twitchy eyelids, and dry eyes. The good news is that our eyes can be part of the solution to getting better sleep!

Turn Off Blue Lights Before Bed

No matter how smartphone-savvy you are, your eyes still find these high-tech devices very confusing. Laptops, iPads, or smartphone screens all produce a lot of blue light. In nature, the only source of blue light is the sun, so when we see blue light, our eyes think it’s still daytime and that we should be awake!

Browsing the internet until bedtime can make it much harder for our brains to go to sleep, which cuts into the time we should be sleeping. Looking at bright screens in dark rooms also leaves us more vulnerable to digital eye strain.

It may be hard not to use your device right before bedtime to catch up on the latest news or view your favorite TV show, but there are solutions to help reduce blue light exposure before bed. Many apps exist, and some phones have a Night Shift feature in the settings. If you have to be on your digital device right before bed, take advantage of those tools or features that reduce the blue light emitted by the screen. Your tired eyes will thank you!

Give Your Eyes the Night Off! Remove Your Contact Lenses.

Not removing your contact lenses before bed makes it harder for your eyes. Your eyes get oxygen directly from the air, and contact lenses block air from reaching them, especially during the hours your eyes are closed for sleep.

Some newer contact lenses allow much more oxygen flow, but taking them out overnight will still be the healthier choice. In addition to letting your eyes breathe freely, it reduces your risk of eye infection from the bacteria that like to accumulate around contact lenses. In any case, check the labeling of the boxes your contacts come in to ensure you’re only wearing them for the recommended length.

Sleep Well, See Well

Healthy, uninterrupted sleep is essential for your overall health, including eye health. Sleeping helps your eyes get the moisture and lubrication they need. Also, during sleep, our eyes clear out irritants such as dust or allergens that may have accumulated during the day.

Make Your Eye Exam Appointment a Priority

If you have questions about the relationship between sleep and eye health, bring them to your next eye exam. In the meantime, get plenty of rest!  

Mitchell Eye Center
References: American Academy of Ophthalmology and the American Academy of Optometry. This newsletter provides information and discussion about eye health and related subjects. The content provided in this newsletter and any linked materials are not intended and should not be considered medical advice. If the reader or any other person has a medical concern, they should consult with an appropriately licensed physician.

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