Lack of Sleep and How it Affects Eyesight

Sleep is very important for your health, specifically for your eyes. The connection between sleep and eyesight becomes more apparent when you don’t get a good night’s sleep.

Sleep Deprivation and its Negative Side Effects 

Some side effects of sleep deprivation can be mild while others may become serious.

One of the less harmful side effects of sleep deprivation is having dark circles underneath your eyes. When you don’t get the sleep you need, your eyes have dark circles underneath and look puffy. 

Skipping out on sleep can lead to eye spasms and twitching. This can make it difficult for you to read, focus, do your work, or even drive safely. 

A more serious negative side effect of sleep deprivation is having dry, itchy, bloodshot eyes. Dry eyes can be painful and cause irritation. This can mean your eyes aren’t getting enough lubrication to stay healthy. You may also notice vision problems like sensitivity to light or blurred vision.

The other problem with having dry, itchy eyes is it can cause eye infections. Lack of sleep weakens your immune system, and you are more vulnerable to those infections.

Because lack of sleep is detrimental to your health, it can eventually lead to more serious eye problems. Glaucoma is one example. This is a condition where too much pressure builds up inside the eye and can lead to vision loss. Getting enough sleep every night gives your eyes a chance to replenish so that they can stay healthy.  

9 Tips for Getting a Good Night’s Rest   

What can you do to get a good night’s rest? The following tips will help you get the sleep you need: 

1.       Dim the lights in your home about an hour before bed to signal to your body and mind that it is time to wind down. 

2.       Exercising regularly can help you sleep much better, just be sure to get your workout in earlier in the day. Exercising within three 3 hours of trying to get to sleep can make it difficult to wind down. 

3.       Do your best to go to bed and wake up at the same time each day, even on the weekends. Having a regular schedule will help your body regulate your sleep and your energy levels. 

4.       Keep your bedroom as dark as possible. Even a tiny bit of light can interfere with your sleep. Use blackout curtains on the windows, cover up any glowing buttons or lights, and consider using an eye mask if there is still light you cannot black out. 

5.       If you live somewhere with a lot of outside noise, sleep with a fan or another source of white noise in your bedroom. This can help you get to sleep and minimize distractions so you stay asleep. 

6.       Keep your room cool. In most cases, people sleep better if the temperature is between 65- and 68-degrees Fahrenheit. 

7.       All light can interfere with sleep, but light from screens is particularly problematic. Avoid looking at screens for about two hours before bed. The specific blue wavelength light from your computer, TV, phone, or tablet can interfere with the production of melatonin, which is a chemical that helps you get to sleep. 

8.       Avoid eating within 3 hours of going to bed. Digestion takes a lot of energy and can make it harder to stay asleep. 

9.       Contact your doctor if you’re having serious trouble sleeping. You could have sleep apnea, or another condition that is interfering with your rest. 

Don’t put your eyesight in jeopardy. Treasure it. Getting the sleep you need is just one part of maintaining proper eye health. You should also visit your eye doctor regularly for checkups to prevent and treat problems early before they become worse.

This article previously appeared on VSP, Delta Dental of Tennessee’s DeltaVision partner.

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