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How To Sleep With Your Eyes Open

Many of us have heard the legend that it’s possible to sleep with your eyes open but don’t know whether it’s true. Is it even possible?

I’m going to let you know if it is, and how to sleep with your eyes open, if it is possible. So, keep on reading to find out all about the science behind sleeping with your eyes open to determine if it is possible…

How To Sleep With Your Eyes Open

Why Do We Close Our Eyes To Go To Sleep?

When it’s time to sleep, shutting your eyes helps signal your brain to prepare for rest. Closing our eyes minimizes distractions, making it easier to drift off to sleep.

This simple act creates a form of sensory deprivation, allowing your mind to focus inward and let go of external stimuli. Closed eyes offer a variety of benefits, such as:

  • Protecting your eyes: Sleeping with our eyes closed helps keep them moist and prevent dryness, providing much-needed lubrication for our corneas.
  • Blocking light: Darkness stimulates the production of melatonin, the hormone responsible for regulating our sleep-wake cycle. Closing our eyes helps block out light, prompting the release of this essential hormone.
  • Reducing energy consumption: Our brains use a significant amount of energy to process visual information. When we close our eyes, we reduce the amount of visual stimulation, conserving energy for other bodily functions during sleep.

It’s also worth noting that humans, as well as many animals, have evolved to close their eyes while sleeping as a natural response.

This behavior offers protection from potential predators by concealing our vulnerability during sleep, allowing us to fall into a deep and restorative rest.

Why Do Some People Sleep with Their Eyes Open?

You might be surprised to learn that there are many people who sleep with their eyes open. This phenomenon is not as uncommon as you might think, and there are several reasons why it can happen.

As you may have guessed, it’s not the same as being completely awake – these individuals are indeed asleep with their eyes open! Let’s explore the reasons behind this occurrence.

One of the reasons why some people sleep with their eyes open is due to a condition called nocturnal lagophthalmos, which affects the ability to fully close the eyes during sleep.

This can be caused by various factors, such as facial nerve damage, incorrect eyelid structure, or weakened eye muscles.

In these cases, the open eyes during sleep may not be a conscious choice but rather a result of a medical condition.

Another reason could be linked to certain sleep disorders, such as REM sleep behavior disorder, sleep apnea, or narcolepsy.

These disorders can cause changes in sleeping patterns and sometimes lead to sleeping with open eyes.

Consult a sleep specialist if you’re experiencing any sleep-related issues to get the appropriate help and treatment.

Lastly, some individuals may adopt the habit of sleeping with their eyes open as a defense mechanism, especially in situations where they need to stay vigilant and alert.

In such cases, though sometimes sleeping with open eyes might not provide the deep sleep needed, it allows for a quicker response to potential threats or danger.

The Science Behind Nocturnal Lagophthalmos

The Science Behind Nocturnal Lagophthalmos

Nocturnal lagophthalmos, or sleeping with your eyes open, may seem like a strange concept. However, there’s actually a scientific explanation for its occurrence.

One of the primary factors contributing to nocturnal lagophthalmos is the inability to completely close your eyes during sleep.

This can be related to issues with your facial muscles or facial nerves. For instance, conditions such as Bell’s palsy can weaken or paralyze the muscles responsible for blinking, making it challenging to keep your eyes closed while resting.

Another cause of sleeping with your eyes open is the occasional incomplete blink. While blinking is a natural and essential function that keeps your eyes moisturized and free from debris, it’s possible for some individuals to have partial blinks during sleep.

This can result in eyes remaining partially open, allowing external factors to dry your eyes and potentially cause blurred or blurry vision upon waking.

Various medical conditions can also cause nocturnal lagophthalmos. These include conditions that affect your facial nerves or muscles, trauma or injury to the eyelids, or certain genetic factors.

Sleep apnea has been linked to nocturnal lagophthalmos, as sleep apnea sufferers tend to sleep with their mouth open, which may also cause the eyes to remain partially open.

Side Effects of Sleeping with Eyes Uncovered

One common issue you might face is dry eyes. Since your eyes remain open, they are more prone to becoming dry, as there is increased exposure to air.

This can lead to discomfort and can cause more serious issues like vision loss.

Sleeping with uncovered eyes can also disrupt your sleep quality. Our bodies are programmed to rest when our eyes are closed, so keeping them open could result in sleep disorders or other difficulties in falling and staying asleep.

Poor sleep quality may lead to other health issues, including weakened immune function, memory problems, and reduced cognitive abilities.

Some medical conditions might be exacerbated by the practice of sleeping with your eyes open.

For example, individuals with a history of dry eyes, allergies, or eye infections might find their symptoms worsen when trying to sleep this way.

To ensure you maintain good eye health and sleep quality, consider the following tips:

  • Be mindful of your eye exposure to air while sleeping: use a humidifier to keep the room air moist, or simply close your eyes.
  • Make sure your room is dark and comfortable for sleep, even if your eyes are open.
  • Avoid sleeping with your eyes open if you have a history of eye problems or medical conditions that could negatively affect your eyes.

Symptoms of Sleeping with Eyes Wide Open

Sleeping with your eyes wide open, also known as nocturnal lagophthalmos, can appear bizarre, but it’s more common than you might think.

One key symptom is being asleep with your eyes wide or partially open. When you are in a state of deep sleep, your eyes may not close completely, resulting in a partially open appearance.

This can be disconcerting to those around you and might even affect the quality of your sleep.

Another symptom you may experience is difficulty focusing your eyes when you wake up.

After having your eyes partially or fully open throughout the night, you might find it challenging to regain their normal focus in the morning.

This can be particularly noticeable if you try to read or concentrate on something immediately after waking up.

As you continue sleeping with your eyes open, you may also notice dryness and discomfort in your eyes.

Due to being exposed to air without the usual level of protection and lubrication, your eyes may become dry, itchy, and even irritated upon waking.

This could lead to disturbances during your sleep, leaving you feeling less rested in the morning.

Lastly, while not a symptom specific to this condition, sleeping with your eyes partially open can result in a lack of deep sleep.

Your eyes and their surrounding muscles may remain engaged, preventing you from entering a truly restorative sleep stage.

What Causes Someone to Sleep without Eyes Closed?

What Causes Someone to Sleep without Eyes Closed?

There are several reasons why you might find yourself sleeping with your eyes open. One common cause is eyelid issues, which could lead to a person not being able to close their eyes completely while asleep.

It’s not uncommon for some individuals to have a condition known as lagophthalmos, which is the inability to fully close the eyelids.

Another possible cause for sleeping with open eyes is facial palsy. This is a condition where the facial muscles become weak or paralyzed, including those controlling the eyelids.

In such cases, eyelid weights can be a helpful solution to keeping the eyes closed during sleep.

External eyelid weights are small devices that can be attached to the outside of the upper eyelid, providing extra force to help keep the eye shut.

Sometimes, medical treatments or surgeries can result in a loss of function or tone within the eyelids.

Eyelid surgery, such as blepharoplasty (eyelid lift), can sometimes lead to the inability to fully close the eyes while resting.

If this is the case, a follow-up or corrective procedure might be necessary to ensure the eyelids can close properly during sleep.

How To Sleep With Your Eyes Open

Sleeping with your eyes open might sound like an impossible feat, but it’s an ability some individuals possess.

Here are some tips and techniques that can help you adapt to this unique sleeping routine and the benefits it may bring.

To sleep with your eyes open, you need to train your body to keep your eyes partially closed and relaxed.

One way to do this is by practicing keeping your eyes as still as possible while staying conscious. With time and practice, you’ll likely be better able to keep your eyes open during sleep.

Here are some tips to help you sleep with your eyes open:

  • Create a comfortable environment – Ensure that your sleeping space is quiet, dark, and comfortable. You might consider using a white noise machine, blackout curtains, or earplugs to minimize distractions.
  • Relax your eyes – Before attempting to sleep with your eyes open, practice relaxing your eye muscles. Close your eyes for a few moments, then slowly open them while maintaining a relaxed state. This may help you to fall asleep more easily with your eyes open.
  • Rest during the day – Taking short naps during the day can help reduce the pressure for a full night of sleep with your eyes open. This way, you’ll feel more rested and gain experience in falling asleep in various positions.

Can You Train Yourself to Sleep With Eyes Wide Open?

Can You Train Yourself to Sleep With Eyes Wide Open?

Yes, it’s possible to train yourself to sleep with your eyes open! While it may sound odd, some people actually sleep with their eyes wide open or even partially open.

This might be helpful for people who find it uncomfortable to close their eyes for extended periods of time or those who can’t close their eyes completely due to a medical condition.

To begin with, practice keeping your eyes open for longer periods. Start in a relaxed, seated position and work your way up to lying down.

You might find it challenging at first, but as you practice, you will notice your eyes staying open longer and longer. Ensure to rest your eyes frequently and use artificial tears to prevent eye dryness.

Next, try moving your eyes gently from side to side without straining. This might help trigger the initial stages of sleep, making it easier to nod off while keeping your eyes open.

Slowly work your way up from a lying down position to more challenging poses like sitting or reclining.

Of course, sleep might not happen instantly. It’s typical for people training to sleep with their eyes open to take several days or even weeks to fully adapt.

As your body grows more accustomed to staying open, you will find it easier to drift off to sleep.

It’s even possible to sleep through the night with your eyes open once you have mastered the technique.


Consulting a Certified Sleep Expert – When to Seek Professional Advice

Sleeping with your eyes open can be an interesting skill to learn, but consider your sleep quality and overall health.

If you’re struggling to achieve good sleep or deep sleep, it might be time to consult a certified sleep expert.

A sleep expert can provide guidance on whether it’s safe to sleep with your eyes open and how it might affect REM sleep.

They can also explain the sleep science behind the practice, ensuring that you understand the potential risks and benefits.

Your eyes might become dry and uncomfortable while sleeping with them open.

To prevent your eyes from drying, a sleep expert may recommend using eye drops before bedtime, or moisture goggles to maintain a more comfortable environment for your eyes.

If your sleep quality doesn’t improve, or you experience ongoing discomfort, it’s essential to seek professional advice.

In some cases, a sleep expert may advise against sleeping with your eyes open or suggest alternative methods for improving your sleep, such as adjusting your sleep environment or routine.


To sum it up, sleeping with your eyes open is definitely possible. It’s a skill that some individuals can master, while others may find it difficult due to medical conditions or other factors.

If you’re interested in this practice, start by creating a comfortable sleep environment and practicing keeping your eyes relaxed and open while awake.

If physical issues arise or your sleep quality decreases, consult a certified sleep expert for personalized advice on how to get the restful sleep you need.

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