How Healthy Vision and Great Sleep Are Connected

    A little nighttime reading

     

    How Healthy Vision and Great Sleep Are Connected

    We already know how important sleep is for overall health. Sleep is the time when our bodies relax and recharge; it helps our organs function properly, tissues to grow and repair themselves, and releases hormones to help us grow and develop. However, have you ever thought about how vision and sleep are connected? Practicing good eye health can help you sleep better at night and, getting a great night’s sleep can help you avoid negative effects on your eyesight.

    How Your Eyes Affect Sleep:

    Taking care of your eyes will help you get the best possible sleep. Your eyes absorb the light you see throughout the day to keep you alert and awake. Certain kinds of light, like blue light, can have harsh consequences on our ability to fall asleep at the end of the day. Blue light is a short wavelength on the visible light spectrum and is everywhere around us. Therefore, you should be aware of how this light can affect you and your health.

    Natural blue light is emitted from the sun and is actually what makes the sky appear blue! Artificial blue light is emitted from LED light bulbs and digital screens, like smartphones and laptops and signals our brains to produce cortisol to wake up and be alert, which helps regulate our circadian rhythm. The circadian rhythm is our internal clock that cycles our bodies between feeling sleepy and feeling awake.

    Our retinas are especially sensitive to artificial blue light when it’s dark out, like from LED light bulbs at night or looking at your phone before bed. Your sleep/wake cycle becomes confused because it signals your body to produce cortisol (the hormone that makes you feel awake and alert) when you’re likely trying to go to sleep. Furthermore, blue light can cause digital eye strain which is the physical discomfort we feel after extended use of digital devices. This can cause dry eyes, blurry vision, and headaches.

    To help avoid digital eye strain and too much production of cortisol at night there are a few things you can do. First, turn on night mode on your smartphone. You can set a time on your phone for the brightness on your screen to be reduced and it will encourage you to stay off your phone until the next morning with notifications. You can also purchase new eyeglasses with blue light filtering lenses for when you need to use your devices at night or during the day for an extended period of time. Finally, there is software for your computer and tablets, like f.lux, that adjusts the light on your device screen so it matches the light in the room you’re currently in. All of these things will reduce any strain you may feel from looking at your device screens.

    How Sleep Affects Our Eye Health:

    Just like how our eyesight affects our sleep patterns, sleep also affects our vision health. Not getting enough sleep can cause detrimental effects to our eyesight, just like it does other organs in our body. We need at least five hours of sleep for our bodies to replenish the necessary nutrients our eyes need to function properly.

    The most common effect of sleep deprivation on our eyes is spasms or involuntary twitches. These can be uncomfortable and dangerous if they occur while driving or operating heavy machinery. Lack of sleep can also cause dry eyes which can make you more sensitive to light, cause itchiness, or even blurred vision. All of these symptoms aren’t dangerous to our health if sleep deprivation isn’t a regular part of life and only happen every so often. However, it doesn’t mean that these aren’t uncomfortable and bothersome throughout your day. Plus, over time, sleep deprivation can lead to more serious eyesight issues like glaucoma which can lead to loss of vision. To help yourself get better sleep at night, there are many tips to utilize. Staying off your phone to avoid blue light for at least an hour before bed, using a noise machine, and sleeping on quality pillows can all help you sleep more soundly at night and get the recommended five hours for healthy vision.

    It’s important to be informed on how you can improve your sleep and how sleep can help boost your health! Taking action to ensure you get the proper amount of sleep at night, like being mindful of screen time and having comfortable bedding, can help your body recharge and work properly.