Insomnia can be challenging to overcome. Treatment involves medication, therapy, and lifestyle changes, all just so that you can sleep better at night. Our article on Hidden Causes of Insomnia reveals that a hormone imbalance, an unhealthy gut, and a congested liver are among the factors that may be contributing to your sleeplessness. All of these conditions keep your body working at night, preventing you from resting more fully.
However, there’s another factor for insomnia you may not have considered: dry eyes. In fact, dry eyes can even worsen insomnia over time. To find out how this works and what you can do to address it, keep reading below:
How can dry eyes worsen insomnia?
Dry eyes can prevent your eyes from closing properly
Your eyelids may not completely close without proper lubrication. The increased friction between your eyes and the inside of your eyelids can make it uncomfortable to close your eyes fully. Your eyelids may not slide down completely, letting light into your eyes and preventing you from falling asleep.
Your eyes produce fewer tears at night
The body rests and recovers at night. The Sydney Morning Herald’s circadian rhythm article shares that when the ‘darkness’ hormone melatonin kicks in, your digestive system slows, your heart goes into repair mode, and the mind calms down to prepare for sleep. Tear production is another thing that slows down at night, so dry eyes can occur or worsen. The discomfort and possible pain this condition causes may keep you awake or wake you during the night.
Waking more frequently
As mentioned before, dry eyes are not comfortable. Even when you manage to fall asleep, you can wake up because your eyes start hurting or stinging due to dryness. This can make it difficult to fall back asleep, meaning you’ll have to start your efforts all over again.
How to address dry eyes for better sleep quality
Switch from contacts to glasses
If you wear contacts, they may be keeping oxygen from entering your eyes, worsening dryness and potentially your insomnia. That’s why the first thing you can try is switching to glasses to facilitate better oxygen flow. If you enjoy using contacts, you might choose to shorten the time each day that you wear contacts to allow your eyes to breathe. If you are looking for new glasses, try the prescription glasses from Oakley. They are lightweight, durable, and highly customisable, depending on your daily needs. The Extender frames, in particular, have an ultra-thin design to prevent further discomfort.
Apply eye drops
If your dry eyes are caused by a lack of tear production, you can make up the difference by using eye drops. That way, your eyes are moist enough to close completely, ease your insomnia, and prevent further irritation. Eyedrops like Systane lubricant eye drops address moderate to severe dryness without using preservatives. That means they’re safe to use on sensitive eyes—even if you’ve previously undergone ocular surgery. Be sure to use them whenever your eyes feel dry and before you go to sleep for maximum effect.
Use a humidifier
Your environmental humidity can contribute to dry eyes. The Fred Hollows Foundation recommends using a humidifier if your bedroom has dry air to alleviate tired and dry eyes. This is the best option if you can’t open a window or your room has air conditioning, which can further dry the air. A quality humidifier prevents dry air in the home and relieves dry eyes for better sleep.
If you’ve been struggling with insomnia lately, dry eyes may be the reason why. Try the tips above to ease dryness and ensure this condition isn’t keeping you from getting some well-deserved rest.
This article is provided for informational purposes only and is not intended to be a substitute for professional medical advice, diagnosis, or treatment. Always seek the advice of your physician or other qualified health provider with any questions you may have regarding your sleep health or any other medical condition.