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How many hours do you sleep a night? According to a recent study by the Center for Disease Control (CDC) over 40 million working Americans get less than 6 hours of sleep a night, which is about 30% of the country’s workforce. You may be aware that sleep deprivation can lead to all sorts of health issues and imbalances, but did you know it can seriously affect your eyes too?
Various studies have shown that your eyes need at least 5 hours of sleep a night to replenish and to work at their full potential. Lack of sleep can lead to eye spasms, inflammation, eyestrain, dry eyes, red eyes, itchy eyes, light sensitivity and even blurred vision.
Another reason to get more sleep goes beyond just helping your vision. Recent advances in the field of chronobiology have discovered a second purpose of the retina. The retina doesn’t only have rods and cones to see the world with, but also has other non-visual photoreceptor cells that regulate your mood and sleep cycles. Your retina picks up on long-term rhythms of light and dark to signal and set your internal clock, which tells you when to fall asleep, when to wake up, when your temperature rises or falls, and when hormones, like melatonin, should be circulated. There was a time when our internal clocks were in sync with the external world. We woke up when the sun rose and fell asleep when the sun set. However, our external world has surpassed the regular cycles and rhythms of nature, which has thrown many of our internal clocks off, which leads to irregular sleep patterns and even depression. You can either use lights more responsibly to reset your internal clock or you can use melatonin supplements to get your internal clock back into rhythm. So do your eyes a favor and give them the rest they need to see perfectly clearly!