During this busy holiday season getting enough rest is often a challenge. But even when you do find some much needed time for a good night’s sleep, there’s a part of your body that never stops moving, sometimes reaching upwards of over a 1,000 degrees of movement in one second.
While you may be asleep at night, your eyes continue to move during cycles of what is known as “Rapid Eye Movement” or REM sleep. We usually have 3 to 5 periods of REM sleep each night and the majority of our muscles “shut down.” Despite all the movement, it’s still unknown if the activity helps keep the eye muscles toned.
What is known is that the periods of REM sleep are closely connected to dreams and your ability to remember them when you wake up. Non-REM sleep is associated with a deeper, more relaxing sleep, with dreams a person can’t recall upon waking. REM sleep, while lighter, provides the dreams you usually can remember.
The ability to remember your dreams isn’t the only significant thing about REM sleep. A lack of sleep, especially the much needed REM cycles, can contribute to all sorts of eye problems. And getting enough sleep during this busy time of year isn’t always easy.
Prolonged lack of sleep can lead to eye difficulties such as swelling of the optic nerve, loss of vision in one eye upon waking up in the morning, eye irritation or even vision deterioration.
Everyone has periods of lesser sleep than usual and most eye problems associated with lack of sleep can be corrected by getting back to a fairly regular sleep schedule.
According to the Mayo Clinic, the sleep recommendations are 7 to 9 hours for adults, 10 to 11 hours for school age children and 12 to 14 hours for infants and toddlers.
A lack of sleep is often associated with stress, which is often associated with high blood pressure, which is often associated with vision problems. You get the idea.
Amidst all the demands of the holiday schedule, make sure you find time to get the rest you need to keep enjoying all the season has to offer. A full night’s sleep isn’t just important for your eye health, it’s crucial for your overall health.
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