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The Healthy Benefits of a Good Night’s Sleep

How your body operates at night has a major affect on how you operate during the day

It’s rather obvious that not all facets of good health revolve around the eyes. However, I think it’s safe to assume that most facets of good health help the eyes (and the heart, and the lungs, and the brain, etc.). It all pretty much ties together.

Now it’s definitely in our best interest to keep eye problems at a minimum. But the main idea is total body health because we operate at our best when everything is working properly.

On a typical day, most of my time is spent on patient eye care. At the same time, there can be several underlying reasons (unrelated to the eyes) for problems I encounter. Being that most of the body operates under the same principals, my advice sometimes goes beyond eye care. If the problem is out of my jurisdiction (so to speak), I’ll make a proper referral.

We’re All Creatures of Habit:

The human body is an extremely mechanical organism. In plain speak, we’re all creatures of habit. We can intend to do things differently tomorrow, but most times we automatically revert back to what we did yesterday. Like clockwork.

For instance, I can plan to wake up early on a Saturday morning, eat a healthy breakfast, avoid caffeinated products, and get to the gym before 10AM. But if I don’t change my surrounding environment, I’m stacking the odds against myself. I could start by making small, subtle changes like sleeping with my cell phone far away from my bed, or getting the junk food out of my fridge, or laying out my clothes the night before.

If I don’t give myself a chance to succeed against… myself, I’ll probably hit the snooze button several times in the morning. Then groggily check a bunch of emails. Maybe watch a couple shows on Netflix. Then reluctantly roll out of bed and throw on whatever clean clothes I can find. And maybe skip breakfast too.

But I’m not done yet because Saturday morning is the perfect time to check out that new coffee shop that opened up down the street. I’ll go there and down an ice coffee without even thinking. Maybe I’ll even catch up on social media for a couple minutes.

Then a couple minutes turn into a couple hours. It’s now past noon. I skipped the gym. And I’m right back to where I was yesterday. Like clockwork.

Improve Poor Sleep Habits:

Eye problems aside, most people want a “magic bullet” or a “quick fix” to obtain proper health. But few people realize the hard work it takes to get there. If your basic routine is out of whack, it’ll take a lot of effort to change. And incorporating change can be very difficult.

How your body operates at night has a major affect on how you operate during the day. Think about it for a second… Have you ever noticed that one person who shows up to work bright and early? Is this person more productive than the person who wanders in ten minutes late with messy hair, and dirt on his tie, and excuses? I’ll leave you to ponder that question on your own.

Some other questions to ponder:

  • Do you go to bed at a reasonable/consistent hour?
  • Do you have trouble getting out of bed in the morning?
  • Do you suffer from low energy during the day?
  • Are you dependent on boosts from caffeine (or something else)?

Each of these questions should be answered honestly and addressed properly. And it doesn’t always mean you need to get more sleep at night. But you may need to improve your quality of sleep.

Consequences of Poor Sleep Habits:

Poor sleep quality can be linked to nearly every disease under the sun. First and foremost, it’s linked to obesity. It’s also linked to the inability to lose weight, even while eating healthy and exercising. If you’re not getting proper sleep at night, it may be the one thing that’s holding you back.

Poor sleep habits can also lead to the following diseases:

  • High blood pressure
  • Diabetes
  • Stroke
  • Heart disease
  • Heart attack

Further risks associated with poor sleep habits:

  • Impaired judgment
  • Increased risk of accidents/injury
  • Memory loss
  • Irregular heartbeat
  • Low testosterone (in men)
  • Depression
  • Anxiety
  • Poor skin health
  • Lack of sex drive

Poor sleep habits also contribute to eye problems, which can include:

  • Eye spasms (or twitch)
  • Eye strain
  • Redness
  • Dry eye
  • Inflammation
  • Blurred vision
  • Dark circles (or bags under the eyes)

In closing, I’m completely aware that most of us have different needs on a daily basis. Some people have no choice but to get up very early and go to work. Some people work irregular hours during the day. Some people work the night shift. And some people spend a lot of time behind the computer.

I’m sure you’ve heard it before, but you should prioritize sleep no matter what your schedule demands.

In my next post, I’ll go over a simple bedtime routine which may improve the quality of your sleep.