Resources for Individuals

How Your Sleep Affects Your Sight

Apr 1, 2020 2:44:26 PM / by Erik Soderborg

Here it is. The article you've been waiting to forward on to your significant other that will settle your debate and justify your desire for a few more minutes (or hours) of sleep.
 
In a recent vision article we put out, we referenced a study showing 84 percent of respondents listed vision as the most important sense. Well, getting enough sleep plays a significant role in your overall eye health. So when one of your children comes crashing into your room at 5 a.m. to wake you up, you can calmly ask them if they want you to go blind. Surely they'll understand, quietly return to their rooms, allowing you to get your much-needed rest. (Results are not guaranteed.)
 
Sleep gives your eyes an opportunity to rest, recover, and heal after a long day of eye strain. Think about this: how much of your day is spent looking at a screen? Research by Nielsen shows that the average adult in America spends more than nine hours per day staring at a screen and just over 11 hours per day consuming media.
We put our eyes through a lot of stress. They deserve a break.
 

5 dangers of sleep deprivation

We'll start with the less serious and move our way up.
  1. When you are sleep deprived, dark circles can form underneath your eyes. Your eyes can also look puffier, giving the appearance that you are more tired and older.
  2. When you don't get enough sleep, your eyes are more prone to eye spasms and twitching. From personal experience, this is incredibly annoying and distracting as you try to read, work, have a conversation, or drive and can even make it more difficult to sleep, continuing an unpleasant cycle.
  3. Sleep gives the eyes an opportunity to rest and repair. A lack of sleep can lead to itchy, dry, bloodshot eyes. On top of the strange appearance factor, these symptoms can lead to further eye damage if they cause you to continually rub your eyes.
  4. Sleep deprivation weakens your immune system, making you more at risk for sickness and infections.
  5. Finally, a lack of sleep can lead to glaucoma. Glaucoma is a serious eye condition caused by increased pressure in the eye. Increased pressure leads to cells becoming overworked and dying, leading to gradual permanent vision loss.
Now that you are armed with the scary problems that can come with sleep deprivation, we're going to give you some tips on what you can do to improve your sleep routine.

Special sleep space

The setup

Getting a good night's sleep is all in the setup. Where you sleep and what you do leading up to hitting the hay will have a significant impact on how quickly you fall asleep and how well you rest through the night.
  • Light: Sunlight helps our bodies regulate our internal clocks, meaning we should try to get some sunlight during the day. Once nighttime rolls around, our bodies will experience better sleep in a dark environment. Try blackout curtains or sleep masks to keep any visible light from reaching your eyes while sleeping. Turn off your TV, computer, or other light-emitting appliances before you get in bed. This could include your clock, if it emits light.
  • Noise: Sirens, neighbors, that dog that won't stop barking, any noises can prevent you from falling asleep quickly and staying asleep. If your home or apartment is in a noisy area, try ear plugs or a white noise machine.
  • Devices: Keep your devices out of the bedroom. The light emitted from our electronic devices excites the eyes and keeps our brain alert, which can make it harder for our brains to wind down and fall asleep. Watch your show, send that last email, respond to that text before you go to bed, not in bed. We'd even recommend charging your devices somewhere outside your bedroom.
  • Temperature: Keep your room cool. Most people tend to sleep better when the surrounding temperature is between 60 and 67 degrees Fahrenheit. Adjust your thermostat accordingly.
  • Your bed: This one is pretty obvious. Your mattress, pillows, and bedding can make a big difference when it comes to joint support and temperature regulation. Your mattress and pillows can help prevent back and neck pain. Your mattress and covers are your temperature regulators. Try out a few to see which suits your body best.

The routine

Establishing a bedtime ritual trains your body to recognize when it is time to sleep. Try to go to bed and wake up at the same time each day. Schedule your sleep just as you would a meeting or any other event. Here are some other bedtime routine tips that will get you waking up energized and ready to roll.
  • Diet: What you eat and when you eat make a difference in your sleep quality. Try to avoid stimulants. Coffee, tea, energy drinks, and sodas containing caffeine stimulate your body, increase your blood sugar, and make it difficult to fall asleep. Certain types of alcohol and nicotine will have the same stimulant effect. The food you eat before bed can also affect your sleep. Sugary, acidic, and fatty foods can cause indigestion. Also, digestion itself uses a lot of energy, so try to eat at least three hours before you go to bed. Be sure to drink enough water before you go to sleep that you don't wake up thirsty.
  • Exercise: Establish a consistent exercise routine to burn calories, stay healthy, and make your body tired, so that it is craving a good night's rest. The American Sleep Association recommends exercising before 2 p.m. each day, while others recommend working out at least three hours before bedtime. Exercise causes the body to produce endorphins that stimulate our body and brain. Make sure your exercise routine gives your body time to relax and calm down before you lie down to rest.
  • Bedtime habits: Some habits that may help relax your mind and body before bed could include a warm bath, guided meditation, or listening to calming music. Avoid stimulation activities that could cause worry, stress, or critical thinking.
If you've tried everything above and still can't seem to fall asleep quickly or sleep through the night, you may want to talk to your doctor. Insomnia or sleep apnea could be keeping you up and may require different treatment options.
We hope you find these tips helpful and that you can find more time for a more restful sleep and keep those eyes healthy. If you need some great vision insurance, remember EMI Health is the best vision insurance provider (in our humble opinion), and we offer several vision plans for both individuals and families. In addition to eye care coverage, we offer individual and family dental plans and Federal Marketplace dental insurance for those in need of dental coverage.Contact us today to learn more by calling 1-800-662-5850 or by visiting www.emihealth.com.
 

Tags: vision, individual

Erik Soderborg

Written by Erik Soderborg

Erik is the Marketing Guy at EMI Health. He is passionate about people, tennis, and reading. He has a dry sense of humor and dabbles in the dark art of table tennis.