The importance of sleep for your eyes


With World Sleep Day coming up on 19th March (the Friday before Spring Vernal Equinox of each year) we thought it was a perfect opportunity to explain some important issues related to types of sleeping and your eyesight. 

Why is sleeping important for your eyes?

Getting a good night’s sleep is great for physical and mental health as we already know…but did you know it is important for your eyes too before you started reading this blog? Well, let us explain. 

It is important for your eyes to get a good quality of sleep because it helps them recover from eye strain and blurry vision from reading driving, scrolling on your phone or working on your computer, and dry eyes from air-conditioning in offices and cars. The benefits of sleeping are that it gives your eyes time to rest and to rehydrate with moisture from natural tears. A lack of sleep can cause burst blood vessels in your eyes which gives them a red and bloodshot appearance and discomfort.

Stages of sleep

When you go to bed in the evening you are getting your eyes ready to enter the NREM (Non-Rapid Eye Movement) stages of sleep. Stage 1 is when your eyes start to roll slowly and open and close. Sleeping stage 2 and 3 are when your heart rate slows, your body temperature drops and the muscles of the body starts to relax. The 4th stage of the sleep cycle is called REM (Rapid Eye Movement), which is when you enter a deeper sleep and start to dream. This is a busy time for your eyes because whilst your body is still, your eyes are moving rapidly which actually helps stretch and relax the eye muscles.

How to get a good sleep at night

We need to aim to get at least 5 hours of sleep per night (7-8 hours is more ideal) so here we have some tips for keeping your eyes healthy by getting some good quality sleeping time under your belt.

  • Limit your screen time and access to blue light/artificial light before bedtime (ideally 2 hours before bed) so your eyes can prepare for the change in light/time of day and can get ready for sleep.
  • Exercise regularly to help your body unwind at the end of the day.
  • Avoid eating 3 hours before you go to bed, this is because the digestion of the food takes time and energy to do.
  • Avoid alcohol before bed as it will give you a poor quality sleeping pattern.
  • Introduce good sleeping habits such as going to be and waking at the same time so your body gets into a healthy sleeping routine.

We hope that has helped you understand how sleep quality can have a positive effect on your eye health. Now we are off to have a nap! Writing this has made us want to have a deep sleep!