You know that sleep is important to your health, but did you know it is also important for your eyes? Skipping your beauty rest can be detrimental to your appearance, but more importantly it can interfere with your health and damage your eyes. Keep reading to learn more about the connection between sleep and your vision.
The Negative Side Effects of Sleep Deprivation
Sleep deprivation can take a hefty toll on your eyes. Some side effects are mild, while others can become quite serious.
One of the less dangerous side effects of sleep deprivation is having dark circles underneath your eyes. When you don’t get the sleep you need, you may notice that your eyes look puffy or that you have dark circles underneath your eyes. This makes you look tired and older.
Skimping on sleep can also lead to eye spasms and twitching throughout the day. This can become incredibly frustrating and make it difficult for you to read, do your work, or drive safely.
A slightly more serious negative side effect of lack of sleep is having dry, itchy, bloodshot eyes. Dry eyes can be painful and cause irritation, but this can also mean your eyes aren’t getting the lubrication they need to stay healthy. You may also notice that you are sensitive to light or that your vision is blurred. The other problem with having dry, itchy eyes is that you are more likely to rub them, which could cause eye infections. Being sleep deprived also weakens your immune system, so you are more vulnerable to infections when you don’t get enough rest.
Because lack of sleep is detrimental to your health, it can eventually lead to more serious eye problems such as glaucoma. Glaucoma is a condition where too much pressure builds up inside the eye. Eventually glaucoma can lead to loss of vision. Sleeping each night gives your eyes the chance to rest, heal, and replenish so that they can stay healthy.
Tips for Getting the Sleep You Need
You know that sleep is important for your health, your appearance, and your eyesight, but what can you do about it? The following tips will help you get the sleep you need:
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.
Exercising regularly can help you sleep much better, but be sure to get your workout in earlier in the day. Exercising within 3 hours of trying to get to sleep can make it difficult to wind down.
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.
Keep your bedroom as dark as possible. Even a tiny bit of light can interfere with your sleep. In some cases the light may not wake you up, but it can worsen the quality of your sleep. Use blackout curtains on the windows, cover up any glowing buttons or lights, and use an eye mask if there is still light you cannot black out.
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 stay asleep.
All light can interfere with sleep, but light from screens is particularly problematic. Avoid looking at screens for about two 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.
Avoid eating within 3 hours of going to bed. Digestion takes a lot of energy, and can make it harder to stay asleep.
Contact your doctor if you’re having serious trouble sleeping you could have sleep apnea, or another condition that is interfering with your rest.
Your eyesight is precious—don’t put it at risk. Getting enough sleep is just one crucial step to protecting your eye health and vision. It is also crucial to visit your eye doctor often for checkups. This can help you treat problems before they become worse and prevent problems from developing in the future.
This post originally appeared on VSP DIrect.