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What Do Your Eyes Do When You Sleep?

We can never say it enough: sleep is vital to help your body stay healthy and energized. Sleeping helps keep your brain alert and can help your body maintain a healthy immune system. Also, getting enough sleep is as vitally important for your eyes: it is the perfect time for them to recover from your daily activities. 

Eye Hydration
During the night, while your eyes are closed, the natural lipid layer will restore and will help the humidity level of your eyes to be optimal. This is why sleeping approximately 7 to 9 hours per night can help treat eyestrain and can help reduce the feeling of dryness our eyes feel after a long day. 

Rapid Eye Movement
Nighttime is the natural recovery period for your eyes but they are not completely at rest during the night. While the rest of our body is motionless, the muscles of our eyes continue to work during a type of sleep called REM (Rapid Eye Movement), which starts when we are actively dreaming. The movements of our eyes during this sleep phase are the fastest movements produced by the human body, reaching angular speeds of 900 degrees per second! REM is a mysterious phenomenon that scientists are still trying to better understand. 

Blue Light and Your Sleep Cycle
Do you look at your phone before going to sleep? We bet you do: who doesn’t?  When we look at digital screens late at night, we are exposing our eyes to unnatural blue light that can disrupt our ability to sleep. With this is mind, it’s good for both our eyes and our entire body to limit screen time before going to sleep. Try to keep your eyes off all screens about 30 minutes before you go to bed to ensure your body and your eyes rest better during the night. 

Your eyes are still active while you sleep but they are nice enough not to bother your brain with this information in order to help your brain get some rest too. In fact, the connection between your eyes and your brain needs to reboot when you wake up. It can take up to 30 seconds for the brain to recognize that you are awake. That's why you don't see complete images right away when you wake up.

If you feel like your eyes always feel sore and dry, it might just be because of a lack of sleep or because they cannot get enough rest during the night. Do not hesitate to ask your optometrist at your local IRIS store for more information about other ways to help maintain good eye health. 

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