Posted by: Eye Health Northwest in General Eye Health on November 20, 2012
In today’s fast paced and hectic world it is very common to miss out on getting enough restful sleep each night. The challenge of balancing proper rest with everything else that needs to get done in a day can be very tricky. However, many are not aware that not getting enough rest can wreak havoc on your eyesight. While it’s obvious that lack of sleep can cause dark circles to appear under your eyes, not getting enough rest can interfere with your eye health.
Vision Problems Caused By Lack Of Sleep
Studies have shown that the eye needs at least five hours of sleep per night to properly replenish. Without enough time to revive themselves, your eyes cannot work at their full potential. A common side effect associated with lack of sleep is eye spasms. Have you ever had one of those mysterious twitches in your eye that just won’t go away? Those eye twitches occur when you have an involuntary spasm in your eyelid. These involuntary spasms are known as myokymia. While eye spasms are not painful and actually do not damage your vision, they can be very aggravating and disruptive. Lack of sleep is one of the leading causes of eye spasms. Thankfully, they are not a serious problem and can easily be corrected by making sure you get enough quality rest each night.
Over time, however, lack of sleep can lead to many different consequences, including popped blood vessels in the eye due to eye strain. For example, a shortage of sleep can cause dry eye. When tears do not adequately lubricate your eyes, dry eye can set in and you may experience some pain, light sensitivity, itching, redness, or even blurred vision.
Extended amounts of sleep deprivation have also been attributed to other serious eye conditions such as Anterior Ischemic Optic Neuropathy (AION). This usually occurs in middle aged to elderly individuals who suffer from a history of sleep apnea. This condition is an inflammatory disease of the blood vessels that occurs especially with aging. Over time, damage to the optic nerve from insufficient blood supply to the eye can eventually cause vision loss.
Suggestions For Better Rest
As studies have shown not getting enough sleep can cause serious eye health problems. To avoid complications associated with insufficient rest, make sure that you make sleep a priority. If you have difficulty finding time for shut-eye, it’s suggested to make a plan to schedule your sleep and stick to it. If you find that falling asleep at night is the problem, there are various options to use to remedy the situation. One thing you can try is drinking a cup of chamomile tea shortly before you plan to go to bed. This is a great way to relax. Another method that works for many is reading a book in bed until you become drowsy. Some other suggestions include not exercising before bed, reducing stress levels, and limiting caffeine intake during the day.
It’s important to remember that your eyes are kept busy all day long and sleeping is the only time they have to really get a break and replenish themselves, so make sure they get their rest so you can continue to have healthy vision.