You may wonder if sleeping with the eyes open is even possible. Sure, it is possible, but physicians don’t endorse it because it could be bad for your health in the long run. Even though falling asleep with the eyes open can help you calm down your body and mind, doing it often can harm your health.
Medical conditions make certain people need to sleep with their eyes open. Because their eyelids don’t close properly, they may sleep with one or both eyes open. In these situations, it’s best to get medical help as soon as possible.
We’ll show you all how to sleep with your eyes open in this article. We’ll also look at what can make this happen and what side effects it might have.
How to Sleep with the Eyes Open
If you need a quick nap but don’t want to draw too much attention to yourself, trying to sleep with your wide eyes or half-open could be a good strategy. If you are intrigued by the idea of sleeping with your eyes open and want to give it a shot, here is a way you may use to prepare yourself to do so.
1. Relax Yourself
Keep your eyes open, but relax every muscle in your body except for those in your eyes. Start with your feet and toes, and move your way up to your head and neck in a steady, organized manner.
2. Breathe Normally
Keep your attention on the way you are breathing. Take some slow, deep breaths through your nose and then out through your mouth. To get the desired effect, maintain intervals of at least one second.
Focus on One Spot
Keep your eyes focused on one point in the room or far away if you’re outside. Keeping the area motionless will allow you to maintain a steady gaze. Do not pick something too bright, as it may interfere with your ability to focus.
Let Your Thoughts Flow
To put it simply, you should try to empty your head. So, to start, let your mind wander to a more pleasant place, like a recent trip or one you hope to take. The next step is to let your mind wander until you can fall asleep undetected.
Medical Reasons for Sleeping with Your Eyes Open
In rare cases, a person may be unable to sleep because of an issue with their nervous system or a physical deformity. Some of these issues will likely improve independently, while others require medical attention.
You may have trouble closing your eyes at night if you suffer from nocturnal lagophthalmos. A total of 1.4% of adults are affected by this condition. It was from the Greek word “Lagos,” meaning “rabbit,” that the English name “Lagophthalmos” was derived.
Face, eye, and eyelid anomalies, as well as ingrown eyelashes, can all contribute to lagophthalmos at night.
This disease may also be caused by excessive dryness of the eyes. Keep a humidifier close by and spray water into your eyes before night to help keep them moist. We advise seeing a doctor if the condition continues to keep you from getting a good night’s rest.
Your doctor may recommend moisture goggles or eye medications if your eyes are dry, but these treatments will depend on the underlying reason for your nocturnal lagophthalmos.
Injured Facial Nerves
Vision problems might result when the nerves that regulate eyelid movement are injured in an accident or during cosmetic surgery.
Ptosis, which is the drooping of the upper eyelid owing to weak eyelid muscles, can be surgically corrected. Nerve injury might occur during the treatment, making it difficult to seal the eyes thoroughly.
Bell’s Palsy is characterized by a brief paralysis or weakness of the facial, eyelid, and neck nerves. A person suffering from this condition may have trouble sleeping since they can’t get their eyelids to shut. Treatment or no treatment, most persons with this illness get better.
However, seeing a doctor expedites healing and reduces the risk of further eye injuries. Bell’s Palsy is usually treated with medicine and rehabilitation from a physical therapist, and surgery is rarely necessary.
Facial and eyelid muscular weakness are symptoms of Guillain-Barré syndrome, an autoimmune illness affecting nerves. Those who suffer from this condition have trouble sleeping with their eyes shut.
If a blood vessel in the brain bursts or becomes clogged, blood cannot reach the brain, and vital nutrients and oxygen are denied to the brain. This raises the risk that the individual will suffer a stroke.
Strokes can devastate a person’s health, including the death of nerve cells. The terms “hemorrhagic” and “ischemic” describe two of the three main types of strokes. Unlike a stroke, in which brain cells are permanently damaged, a transient ischemic attack (TIA) causes only temporary impairment.
If you’ve ever had blepharoplasty or eyelid surgery, you know how difficult it may be to close your eyes at night. Frequently, this is a purely cosmetic operation performed to address excessive skin hanging around the eyelids.
Though some elect to have it done to seem younger, others may require it due to visual problems brought on by sagging skin. One of the hazards is having difficulty closing your eyelids.
An estimated 1.5 million Americans suffer from a neuromuscular ailment every year. A person can lose the ability to close their eyes if they suffer from a nerve disorder.
When the thyroid produces an excessive number of hormones, a condition known as hyperthyroidism occurs, muscle weakness is just one of many symptoms of hyperthyroidism, which also includes a racing heart, an increased appetite, trembling, a drop in weight, diarrhea, hair loss, and maybe other symptoms.
Using Alcohol or Sleeping Pills
In addition, the use of alcoholic beverages or pharmaceutical sleep aids has been linked to insomnia. Reduce your alcohol consumption; it may assist. Nocturnal lagophthalmos is a severe side effect of several prescription sleep aids and should be discussed with your doctor.
Examples of parasomnias include sleepwalking and talking while asleep. One symptom of parasomnia is that a person’s eyes may be open during the night, as the Cleveland Clinic reports. However, instead of sleeping through the night, the affected individual’s eyes will remain open for the duration of the parasomnia.
Consequences of Sleeping with the Eyes Open
Keeping your eyelids down when you sleep is typical since they prevent light from waking you up. It is essential for sleep that light from the outside be blocked from reaching the retina, achieved by closing the eyes. When the human body recognizes darkness, it creates the sleep-inducing hormone melatonin.
Eyelids protect your eyeballs from dust, grime, and irritants. When you blink, oils and mucus feed and moisten your eyes. Long-term eyelid closure during sleep keeps your eyes moist and allows them to rest as the body sleeps. Closed eyes improve sleep quality and eye health. Non-natural sleep lowers sleep quality and eye health.
Still, there are instances when you can catch a few extra winks by sleeping with your eyes open. You can do it occasionally to make good use of your time, but doing it frequently can cause issues like:
- Irritation of the eyes, such as redness or dryness
- Burning sensation
- The hazy vision
- Nighttime sleep disturbances
Cure for Sleeping with Eyes Open
The reason and degree of nocturnal lagophthalmos determine treatment. Correct any underlying problem if feasible. A person with neurological damage may see a neurologist, and a thyroid condition may require endocrine medication.
First, treating nocturnal lagophthalmos improves dry eye and prevents keratitis9. People with symptoms could be given eye drops and an ointment. In difficult situations, doctors may recommend eye tape or a goggle-like device that supplies moisture during sleep.
Changing your sleeping environment may help if you have nocturnal lagophthalmos. Keep the room dark to prevent awakenings. Using a humidifier or shifting your bed away from dry air can also help.
Limit alcohol or sleeping pills before bed if you have nocturnal lagophthalmos. Insufficient lubrication raises the chance of infection. Therefore keep your eyes clean. Individuals with nocturnal lagophthalmos may benefit from blinking more regularly and thoroughly during waking hours.
Nocturnal lagophthalmos may necessitate surgery. Skin grafting, stitching the eyelids together, or implanting microscopic gold weights are relevant surgical approaches. These severe treatments are well-tolerated and successful.
When Should You Consult Your Doctor?
Nocturnal lagophthalmos is not always easy to spot on your own. Even if someone else watched you sleep, it would not be easy to see tiny eyelid openings because of your eyelashes.
A dry eye that is worse in the morning is one symptom that should prompt a visit to the doctor if it persists over time. Untreated nocturnal lagophthalmos can have severe consequences for eye health and sleep quality. You can finally obtain the restful sleep you need by seeking medical attention and following a personalized treatment plan.
Frequently Asked Questions
Is it Safe to Sleep with Your Eyes Wide Open?
In addition to the risks already discussed, sleeping with the eyes open has been linked to dry eyes and discomfort. There is evidence that sleeping in this position can aggravate dry eye symptoms, so it’s probably best to avoid it if you experience this problem.
However, people sometimes sleep with their eyes open on purpose, which can also cause problems. If this is the case, it’s best to consult a doctor about what’s causing your nocturnal lagophthalmos so you can get it treated.
Is it Hereditary to Sleep with the Eyes Open?
Even if the tendency to sleep with eyes open runs in the family, it is usually outgrown by childhood. Cases of mild nocturnal lagophthalmos for which no other explanation can be found may have a genetic component. In a small study published in 2009 on ScienceDirect, 5 of 102 cases of nocturnal lagophthalmos were shown to have a familial history of the condition.
Is it Possible to Fall Asleep while Doing it?
You can probably fall asleep with your eyes open, but you won’t get much sleep since you’re more easily distracted. More importantly, according to the findings, nocturnal lagophthalmos is linked to sleep problems. Therefore, resting in this position is likely to harm your health.
Is it Better or Worse to Sleep with your Eyes Open?
We don’t encourage sleeping with your eyes open because it isn’t the norm. It can cause eye dryness, which can interrupt sleep. See a doctor if you’re having trouble sleeping because you can’t seem to get your eyes to close.
When it doesn’t affect their sleep, some people sleep with their eyes slightly ajar. That’s quite typical and doesn’t call for any medical attention.
Can Lagophthalmos be Harmful??
Lagophthalmos isn’t dangerous, but seeing a doctor can help determine what’s causing it and keep the eyes from getting worse. If dry eyes are to blame, your doctor may prescribe lubricating eye drops to stimulate tear production and alleviate the symptoms.
To keep your eyes closed while you sleep, your doctor may recommend using surgical tape or an external weight on your top eyelids. However, surgical intervention may be required in some cases.
It is common practice to surgically implant a gold weight into the top eyelid of patients with lagophthalmos. It aids in the closure of the eyelids, which in turn protects the cornea without interfering with your ability to see.
What is the Best Way to Cure Nocturnal Lagophthalmos?
The Cleveland Clinic suggests treatments for people who have trouble actively closing their eyes while sleeping. A doctor’s advice should be sought before attempting any of these.
The first option is to place tape on your eyelids. Try taping your eyes shut at night with first-aid tape to achieve this.
Eyelid weights are the following method of treatment. You can tape the little weights to your eyelashes and sleep with them. The additional load may make keeping one’s eyes shut less taxing.
When patients choose to have their oil glands treated, it can help their eyes produce more of their oil, reducing dryness. Alternatively, you can use eye drops made of a gel your doctor has prescribed. Gel has the dual function of shielding the eye’s surface and keeping the lids tight.
What are the Root Causes of Bell’s Palsy?
As of yet, Bell’s Palsy’s precise origin is unknown. Possible cause: viral infection leading to inflammation of the nerves that supply the muscles of the face and the muscles that move the eyelids. People of any age are susceptible to Bell’s Palsy, often known as facial palsy.
An easy way to unwind after a hectic day is to try sleeping with your eyes open. It’s tempting to try sneaking a nap with your eyes open in the name of adventure but do so at your own risk. But there are some downsides to sleeping with the eyes open, including potential damage to your eyes and a diminished quality of sleep.
Sleeping with your eyes open is not usually dangerous and can be treated with over-the-counter eye medications, lid weights, and humidifiers. Still, this may be only a sign of something else.
If you have problems shutting your eyes to sleep or if your eyes are inflamed throughout the day, you should see a doctor. Nighttime eyelid drooping should be treated before it worsens into a more serious issue.
Implant surgery is an effective and safe option for people who have trouble sleeping with their eyes open, even in extreme circumstances. It has a high success rate of 90%, and the implants can be withdrawn without difficulty.