Can People Sleep with Their Eyes Open?

sleep with eyes open

It may seem unusual, but more people than you think can sleep with their eyes openClose to 10% of the world’s population does it. However, it is not the healthiest habit to get involved in. It may seem cool or interesting, but it can lead to some serious health complications. Why do people sleep with their eyes open? Well, it’s actually for a number of reasons.

If you ever feel like you wake up with your eyes feeling extra crusty and dry, there’s a chance you’ve been sleeping with your eyes open. It can literally feel like there’s sandpaper around your eyes. This condition is medically known as nocturnal lagophthalmos. It is typically caused by issues relating to your facial nerves or muscles. These complications make it difficult for your eyes to stay fully closed through a full night’s sleep.
The symptoms can range.

Symptoms include:

  • Irritation
  • Dryness
  • Redness
  • Poor sleep
  • Sensitivity to light

Unfortunately, you might not be aware of this habit unless someone lets you know. However, if you are consistently waking up with symptoms relating to eye dryness, then you should definitely consult your doctor.
The causes of these symptoms can also vary. Nocturnal lagophthalmos is a muscle or nerve issue with special focus given to the orbicularis oculi, which is the muscle that controls the movement of your eyelids.

This can be caused by:

  • Physical trauma
  • Stroke
  • Tumor
  • Neuromuscular disease
  • Bell’s Palsy

Sleeping with your eyes open can also be caused by an infection. These include:

  • Mumps
  • Polio
  • Botulism
  • Leprosy
  • Chickenpox
  • Lyme disease

Basically, your eyes need some rest. Without the lubrication they receive overnight, your eyes can be damaged or scratched. The tears that flow while your eyelids are closed help keep your eyes moist. Your tears also work to keep your eyes clean of bacteria and debris.
Treatment for this can include an ointment or artificial tears to help maintain the moisture in your eyes. You can even try sleeping with a sleep mask. They sometimes can solve the issue.
Hopefully, by now, we’ve answered “why do people sleep with their eyes open?” Just remember not to leave the issue unattended.

If it’s an especially serious case, you may even need surgery. Basically, you want to consult your physician immediately. As long as the problem persists, there is a serious risk of causing severe damage to your eyes. You also won’t be able to rest properly. Fortunately, most suffering from Nocturnal lagophthalmos don’t exhibit severe symptoms. It is mostly an annoyance, but it’s something that can lead to greater issues down the road.

Could you also be struggling with sleep deprivation? Find out more here.