The Importance Of Sleep For Eye Health

The Importance Of Sleep For Eye Health
Posted on 04/09/2019
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Your doctor may remind you to eat well and exercise regularly, but if you are not getting enough sleep every night, you may still have health issues that not only affect your whole body but also your vision. A new Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) study finds more than 40 million American workers get fewer than six hours of sleep per night- that’s about 30 percent of the country’s workforce.The eye doctors at Brass Eye Center want to make sure you understand the connection between adequate sleep and your eye health.

How Much Sleep Do You Need?

No matter how old you are, your body needs a certain amount of downtime to rest, replenish and get prepared for your next active day - including your eyes. The amount of recommended required sleep depends on your age and there’s evidence that genetic, behavioral and environmental factors can also be a factor. Generally, a minimum of seven hours of sleep is a good target. However, after a two-year research effort, the National Sleep Foundation recently published its sleep recommendations in its journal called “Sleep Health.” It breaks down recommended times by age as follows:

  • Older adults, 65+ years: 7-8 hours
  • Adults, 26-64 years: 7-9 hours
  • Young adults, 18-25 years: 7-9 hours
  • Teenagers, 14-17 years: 8-10 hours
  • School-age children, 6-13 years: 9-11 hours
  • Preschool children, 3-5 years: 10-13 hours
  • Toddlers, 1-2 years: 11-14 hours
  • Infants, 4-11 months: 12-15 hours
  • Newborns, 0-3 months: 14-17 hours

What Happens To Your Eyes If You Don’t Get Enough Sleep?

There is no doubt that continually not getting enough sleep can be a detriment to your overall health any many ways. It can affect your level of alertness, memory, relationships, stress level, quality of life and lead to negative health issues like diabetes, high blood pressure, heart attack, heart failure, stroke, and more. Studies have shown that the eye needs at least five hours of sleep per night to properly replenish. Without that time, eyes cannot work at their full potential. Not getting this sleep can negatively impact your eyes and vision in the following ways:

  • Dark circles. A surface appearance negative where dark rings and puffiness under your eyes making you look old and tired.
  • Eye spasms. Your eyes may have involuntary spasms, called myokymia, where your eyelid twitches. While they don’t affect your vision, they can be frustrating and make it difficult for you to read, do your work, or drive safely.
  • Popped blood vessels. Lack of sleep over time can cause eye strain which may lead to popped blood vessels in your eyes.
  • Dry eyes. Lack of sleep can cause tears to not form and lubricate your eyes which is needed for them to stay healthy. This can sometimes be painful and you may experience sensitivity to light, itching, redness, and blurred vision.
  • Infections. Rubbing your dry, itchy eyes can lead to an eye infection. And, generally not getting enough sleep weakens your immune system which makes you even more vulnerable to infections.
  • Glaucoma. This serious eye disease is a condition where too much pressure builds up inside your eye. It can lead to a partial or complete loss of vision.

Tips For Getting The Sleep You Need

Just like you need to make time to exercise and plan for healthy meals, you need to make time for sleep. Make sleep a priority by following some of these helpful tips:

  • Set a regular schedule for bedtime and wake-up time to help your body regulate its sleep patterns and energy levels.
  • Regular exercise can help you sleep better at night, but be sure to exercise at least three hours before bedtime.
  • About an hour before bedtime, dim your lights at home as a signal to your body to wind down.
  • Blackout all light in your bedroom. Even the tiniest bit of light can interfere with your sleep like a glowing alarm clock or streetlight that streams in through your curtains.
  • Try white noise in your bedroom to block out any outside noise.
  • Set your thermostat between 65 and 68 degrees. People sleep better in this cool temperature setting range.
  • Unplug about two hours before bed. The distinct blue wavelength light from your computer, TV, phone, or tablet can limit the production of melatonin, a chemical that helps you get to sleep.
  • No eating at least three hours before bedtime. Your body will stay awake trying to digest your late-night snacks.
  • Always contact your doctor if you are having serious and ongoing problems with sleep.

Contact Brass Eye Center For More Information

Being able to see is one of the greatest gifts you have. Don’t put your eyesight at risk by not getting the sleep your eyes need to rest, heal, and replenish. If you would like to learn more about the connection between sleep and your vision, contact Brass Eye Center today. We offer a comprehensive list of services for our patients. Our eye doctors are here to help you maintain the best possible vision and we are happy to answer any of your questions. Another great way to keep your eyes healthy is with a regular checkup and screening with your eye doctor at Brass Eye Center. Make your appointment today at our Latham or Clifton Park offices and let’s make sure that your eyes are in great shape! Call 518-782-7827 now!