Studies show that not getting enough sleep has many of the same effects on the mind and body as alcohol. There’s an interesting relationship between our quality and quantity of sleep and our eyes.
Sleep Deprivation Compromises Eye Health
Some symptoms of sleep deprivation (particularly over an extended period), include a weakened immune system, weight gain, high blood pressure, memory issues, and mood changes, but it also specifically impacts our eyes.
In order to replenish themselves and function well throughout the day, our eyes need at least five hours of sleep per night. This isn’t just about being able to keep your eyes open; the longer you go without enough sleep, the more you might notice symptoms like eye strain, twitchy eyelids, and dry eye.
Turn Off Blue Lights Before Bed
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!
Your eyes still find these high-tech devices very confusing. Laptop, tablet, or smartphone screens all put out a lot of blue light.
Because of this, browsing the internet right up until bedtime can make it much harder for our brains to go to sleep. Looking at bright screens in dark rooms also leave us more vulnerable to digital eye strain.
It is impossible today to completely avoid devices before bedtime. As with many things these days, there’s an app for that! Follow the link for some great app ideas: https://www.digitalinformationworld.com/2018/08/applications-which-help-reduce-harmful.html?m=1 If you absolutely must be online right before bed, take advantage of these apps or features that reduce the blue light emitted by the screen. Your tired eyes will thank you!
Wear Contacts? Don’t Sleep in Them!
Whether or not you remember to take your contacts out at night might not affect your overall health or your quality of sleep, but it does make things harder on your eyes. Our eyes get oxygen directly from the air. Contact lenses block air from reaching them, especially during the hours our eyes are closed for sleep.
Some types of newer contact lenses allow much more oxygen flow and are approved for extended wear. But, taking contact lenses out overnight will still be the healthier choice. In addition to letting your eyes breathe freely, it reduces your risk of eye infection. In any case, check with your eye doctor to make sure you’re only wearing them for the recommended length of time.
Prioritize Eye Exams
If you have any questions about the relationship between sleep and eye health, make sure to give us a call. Even if you are someone that has no questions, gets plenty of sleep, and remembers to take your contacts out before bed, we’d still love to see you on a regular basis to make sure your eyes are staying functional and healthy.
We wish all our patients a wonderful night’s sleep tonight!