Glaucoma Linked To Lack Of Sleep

Glaucoma Linked To Lack Of Sleep

Scientists have long been puzzled as to why humans and animals sleep. The common answer is that it may help recharge energy levels, mend neurotransmitters and discard unneeded cognitive information, yet there is no evidence of this as of yet. 

However, it makes sense when lack of sleep is associated with the degeneration of various health compromises including: Alzheimer’s disease, obesity, diabetes and cardiovascular disease, to name a few. 

Now, another condition that may be added to the list is how scientists have found glaucoma linked to lack of sleep. This eye disease is responsible for being one of the leading causes of blindness worldwide. Maybe a little solid shuteye could help get you by unscathed. 

Natural Early Treatment 

As you age, your chances of compromised vision increases. Your chances of avoiding ocular diseases such as glaucoma, cataracts and macular degeneration could be helped by preventative measures such as natural early treatment.

According to the American Academy of Ophthalmology (AAO),

“Glaucoma is a disease that damages your eye’s optic nerve. It usually happens when fluid builds up in the front part of your eye. That extra fluid increases the pressure in your eye, damaging the optic nerve. Glaucoma is a leading cause of blindness for people over 60 years old. But blindness from glaucoma can often be prevented with early treatment.”

Being proactive with scheduled eye doctor visits, a good exercise protocol, and clean plant-based diet has been proven to increase your chances of healthy vision well into your elder years.

When it comes to exercise helping diminish glaucoma, Medical News Today reported on a study by Victoria L. Tseng, M.D., Ph.D., of the University of California, Los Angeles which found that,

“When they analyzed the data, the team found a 6 percent reduction in the risk of developing glaucoma for every 10-unit increase in walking speed and steps per minute. They also found a 25 percent reduction in risk of glaucoma for every 10-minute increase in the weekly amount of moderate to vigorous activity.”

In a peer-based review titled Glaucoma: Lifestyles of the Antioxidant Rich and Famous, published by Review Education Group, it was cited that,

“A diet low in fruits and vegetables is associated with a higher prevalence of many chronic systemic and ocular diseases. Researchers believe this is due to the high concentrations of bioactive constituents called phytochemicals, a majority of which are antioxidants, in plant-based foods. Glaucoma patients in particular show a lower total plasma antioxidant level.”

Add in scheduled eye doctor visits and you should be well ahead of the glaucoma risks, that is unless your sleep patterns are erratic.

Slumber Responsibly

Lack of sleep can present in many scenarios. Job constraints, medical struggles, worry and stress all contribute to a compromised slumber. Although, as mentioned, there is no solid evidence of the repercussions lack of sleep can result in however  many statistics say otherwise including lack of focus and danger while driving. These two risks involve the eyes so researchers decided to study how the eyesight be affected by various sleep patterns. 

The Journal of Glaucoma published results from the National Health and Nutrition Examination Survey  titled ‘Association Between Sleep Parameters and Glaucoma in the United States Population’ (February 2019 – Volume 28 – Issue 2 – p 97–104). 

This survey involved a cross-sectional study that included 6784 glaucoma patients, 40 years old and above, from the 2005 to 2008. The subjects filled out a survey questionnaire that included ratings of: 

  • Amount of time slept
  • Difficulties falling asleep
  • Sleep disturbances (waking up during sleep)
  • Having diagnosed sleep disorders, including sleep apnea
  • Use of sleep medication
  • Problems with sleepiness during the day

After the results were correlated, it was concluded that, 

“This study revealed associations between glaucoma and abnormal sleep duration, sleep latency [never developing into real sleep], and daytime dysfunction; poor sleep parameters may be a risk factor for or a consequence of glaucoma.”

The Magic Number 7

The amount of hours you sleep each night is paramount when it comes to slowing or preventing glaucoma disease. It looks like a solid seven hours could be the magic number for optimal ocular health

Other notable citing in the study which compared sleep dysfunctions amongst glaucoma patients  included, 

  • People who slept for 10 or more hours a night were three times more likely to have glaucoma-related optic nerve damage than those who slept 7 hours a night.
  • People who fell asleep in 9 minutes or less, or those who needed 30 minutes or more to fall asleep, were twice as likely to have glaucoma than those who took 10-29 minutes to fall asleep.
  • The odds of having missing vision were three times higher among people who got 3 or fewer or 10 or more hours of sleep per night, compared with those who got 7 hours a night.
  • People who said they had trouble remembering things because of daytime sleepiness were twice as likely to have visual field loss than those who said they were not sleepy during the day and did not notice memory problems.
  • People who said they had difficulty working on a hobby because they were sleepy during the day were three times more likely to have vision loss than people who reported no problems working on hobbies and no daytime sleepiness

Quick Sleep Tips to Prevent or Slow Glaucoma

The studies and stats may be convincing but if you struggle with too little or too much sleep this data isn’t going to help much. Setting up a good sleep takes preparation, practice, and patience. These are some quick sleep tips that could help prevent or slow glaucoma without adding too much stress to your waking life. 

Safe Space – Successful sleeping requires that your mind feels it is in a safe space. This is why researchers believe many babies are born at night, when women are in their most secure environment. So make sure your area has whatever you need to feel protected like maybe locks, a dog, shades, or heavy blanket.

Keep Cool – Temperature is a huge factor for optimal sleep. A cool, not cold, environment is often recommended as it stokes your body enough to charge up warming techniques. When this happens your body can find the most optimal body temperature that keeps you steady the whole night. If you sleep with someone adjust accordingly with lighter or heavier sleepwear, different blankets/comforters, or a personal fan. 

Drown it Out – Sometimes maintaining a dark, quiet environment can be a challenge, especially if you live with others or have a noisy neighbor. Numbing your senses can work wonders for some. Try a sleep eye mask which comfortably wraps around your eyes blocking out unwanted light that can still penetrate eyelids. Some people are also able to sleep with headphones, earbuds or a sound machine/app that plays calming music like raindrops, ocean waves, or even white noise.

There are many more ways you can make your sleep more successful including changing your mattress, using essential oils such as lavender and investing in more comfortable sheets. Try some sleep tips and apply to a regiment that, over time, locks in a solid seven hours. If you can do this you may be able to keep away from glaucoma linked to lack of sleep.