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Is Dry Eye disturbing your Sleep?

Dry eye and sleep - Person sleeping under the covers

Don’t let your dry eye spoil a good night's sleep

Dry eye can be a nuisance throughout the day, and is known to cause emotional as well as physical distress, but if it starts stopping you from getting a good night’s sleep as well it is a whole new ball game. There has long been an association between dry eye disease and disturbed sleep, the incidence level has been quoted as high as 40%.

A published scientific study suggested that reduced tear production at night, which is associated with saltier tears, could be the reason for elevated dry eye symptoms and loss of sleep quality. Their findings revealed a significant link between poor sleep and the severity of your dry eye. The researchers concluded that with dry eye comes a higher risk of poor sleep habits compared to those without dry eye – and the worse your dry eye symptoms are the more likely you’ll have impacted shut eye. In fact, when it comes to sleep disruption dry eye ranks higher than rheumatoid arthritis, Crohn’s disease and even obstructive sleep apnea syndrome.

But whatever the underlying cause it is clear that to keep on top of your dry eye you need to be looking for solutions both day and night. Dry Eye Zone has consulted its expert team to put together some easy-to-follow and simple remedies.

Read on to find out more about caring for your dry eyes as you sleep – and getting a restful night too.

Make sure you are getting enough sleep

Dry eye and sleep - Unmade bed

This might seem obvious but do not underestimate the power for positive health outcomes that getting enough sleep can have. With or without dry eye you will feel a great deal better if you are getting over seven hours sleep a night. Scientists have shown that sleep deprivation disrupts the lacrimal or tear production system which can then induce dry eye disease. So if you already experience dry eye symptoms too many late nights are really going to make things a lot worse. A further study by a Canadian team of scientists concluded that the correlation was so significant that it may be well worth considering sleep in the clinical management of dry eye disease - so make sure you are getting enough shut eye.

Eye drops have been shown to do the trick

Dry eye and sleep - Hydramed helps with dry eye

A study looking at the use of eye drops and sleep quality concluded that dry eye sufferers who were using eye drops reported improved sleep. To get the maximum effect consider switching to a more viscous and long-lasting solution before you go to sleep. You may find that using an ointment will help even more as these are especially formulated to act as a barrier to moisture loss which helps protect your eyes while you sleep. Dry Eye Zone recommends HydraMed Night Sensitive as part of its best-in-class portfolio.

Stay hydrated

Dry eye and sleep - Drinking water helps with dry eye

It seems like common sense but make sure your bedroom is not too warm, this will help combat additional evaporation of tears from your eyes and avoid dehydration. You can also help matters by drinking plenty of water throughout the day, right up to bedtime. The environment will be further enhanced with humidifiers if you have them. All these measures collectively will create a cooling, restful environment which is conductive to comfortable eyes and a good nights’ sleep.

Treat yourself to a warm eye compress before sleep

Dry eye and sleep - TearRestore warm compress for dry eye

A warm compress before bed can help to get those natural protective oils or meibum flowing to alleviate dry eye symptoms as you sleep. It can also help relax you ready to sleep. And for the first time, thanks to the new open-eye warm compress TearRestore you can read a little (but no screens) while your heat therapy gets to work. You can learn more about this new innovation here

It is clear that poor sleep quality is a serious problem for dry eye sufferers but like so many things it is not always easy to fathom: scientists have shown poor sleep causes dry eye signs such as saltier and less stable tears, but it is equally clear dry eye symptoms disrupt sleep. We hope these simple pieces of advice from Dry Eye Zone help you to break this cycle and give yourself a much deserved better night’s rest.

If you are experiencing dry eye symptoms then you should ask the advice of your eye care professional. Why not book your next eye examination with an independent optician today.


Almutairi R, Algezlan S, Bayamin R, Alrumaih S, Almutairi R, Alkahtani R, Almazrou AA. The Association Between Dry Eye and Sleep Quality Among the Adult Population of Saudi Arabia. Cureus. 2022 Mar 1;14(3):e22736. doi: 10.7759/cureus.22736. PMID: 35386485; PMCID: PMC8969758.

Ayaki M, Toda I, Tachi N, Negishi K, Tsubota K. Preliminary report of improved sleep quality in patients with dry eye disease after initiation of topical therapy. Neuropsychiatr Dis Treat. 2016 Feb 16;12:329-37. doi: 10.2147/NDT.S94648. PMID: 26937189; PMCID: PMC4762466.

Li S, Ning K, Zhou J, Guo Y, Zhang H, Zhu Y, Zhang L, Jia C, Chen Y, Sol Reinach P, Liu Z, Li W. Sleep deprivation disrupts the lacrimal system and induces dry eye disease. Exp Mol Med. 2018 Mar 2;50(3):e451. doi: 10.1038/emm.2017.285. PMID: 29497171; PMCID: PMC5898890.

Tang L, Wang X, Wu J, Li SM, Zhang Z, Wu S, Su T, Lin Z, Chen X, Liao X, Bai T, Qiu Y, Reinach PS, Li W, Chen Y, Liu Z. Sleep Deprivation Induces Dry Eye Through Inhibition of PPARα Expression in Corneal Epithelium. Invest Ophthalmol Vis Sci. 2018 Nov 1;59(13):5494-5508. doi: 10.1167/iovs.18-24504. PMID: 30658033.

Au NH, Mather R, To A, Malvankar-Mehta MS. Sleep outcomes associated with dry eye disease: a systematic review and meta-analysis. Can J Ophthalmol. 2019 Apr;54(2):180-189. doi: 10.1016/j.jcjo.2018.03.013. Epub 2018 Jun 7. PMID: 30975341.

Morten Schjerven Magno, Tor Paaske Utheim, Harold Snieder, Christopher J. Hammond, Jelle Vehof,

The relationship between dry eye and sleep quality,The Ocular Surface,Volume 20,2021,Pages 13-19,



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