What happens to our eyes while we sleep?

When we are awake we are aware of the state of our eyes, we feel their tiredness, their itchiness, their fatigue, etc. But ... What happens when we are asleep?

Did you know that the eyes continue to function while we sleep, that is, that the retina continues to send visual information to the brain during sleep? And that we spend on average 2,920 hours sleeping, that is, a third of our lives? But despite being resting, our eyes and brain are active.

During the day, the muscles of the eye work continuously, such as the ciliary muscle, which allows us to focus on distant or near objects, or the muscles that regulate eye movements and those that control the opening of the pupil by regulating the light that enters.

The eyes during the stages of sleep
On the other hand, at night, depending on the sleep phase, our eyes will behave in one way or another:

  • Phase I: we wake up more easily, the eyes move slowly and the movements of the muscles slow down.
  • Phase II: we enter a deeper sleep in which no eye movements are made.
  • Phase III: deep and restful sleep
  • Phase IV: we rest deeply, both body and mind. 
  • REM or Rapid Eye Movement phase: the eyes move very quickly. At this stage you do dream and although the eye does not receive visual information, it processes images of the visual cortex.

Exercises to relax your eyes
One of the main problems that affect our eyes during the day, due to the visual demands we put them on, is dryness. In addition, spending a lot of time in front of a screen and, especially, before going to sleep, causes eyestrain and can affect our circadian rhythms and the quality of sleep. And as you can see, sleep is essential for the health of our eyes and our rest! It is also important for concentration and responsiveness. If you don't get enough sleep, your eyes can become puffy.

For this reason, eye relaxation is very important; we recommend muscle relaxation exercises while you work and before bed. Here are some very simple guidelines that will help you rest your eyes:

Relaxation exercise: place the palms of the hands over the eyes when sitting and with the arms on a flat surface, placing the palms of the hands over the eyes keeping you in the dark. Take deep breaths for two minutes. You can also take the opportunity to massage the orbits of your eyes with your thumbs, gently and making circular movements.
Four Direction Exercise: With your head straight and sitting, look as far up, down, left and right as you can. The important thing in this exercise is to repeat it three times and move your eyes and not your neck.
To prevent dry eyes: look straight ahead relaxing all the muscles of the face, jaw and tongue. Open and close your eyelids consciously at least twenty times, gently.

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