Where Do Our Eyes Go When We Sleep?

December 8, 2023

While a healthy diet and exercise are important to maintain good health, getting enough quality sleep is just as critical. A full night’s rest has many benefits for your body, including a clear mind and improved mood. If you suffer from sleep disorders or have trouble falling asleep, there are several techniques that may help you feel more rested.

One of the first things you notice when you fall asleep is that your eyes may roll back. This is called Bell’s phenomenon, and it happens when the eye muscles relax and are no longer synchronized with the edges of the eyelids. It’s thought that this occurs to protect the cornea from injury during deep non-REM sleep. It also helps prevent light entering the eye during REM sleep, where visual imagery is most likely to occur.

The rapid eye movements that take place during REM sleep have been linked to the occurrence of dreams. However, the meaning of these eye movements is still under debate. The movement of the eyes may reflect a change in scene in a dream, or it could simply be a signal that you’re about to wake up. In addition to eye movement, the pupil is also dilated or constricted during different sleep phases.

Some people have difficulty closing their eyes while sleeping due to conditions such as paralysis or weakness of the muscle that closes the eyelids, orbicularis oculi. If you struggle to keep your eyes closed, contact a doctor to discuss possible treatment options, which can vary depending on the cause.

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