Poor Sleep Quality May Impair Cornea Regeneration
It’s common knowledge that (chronic) lack of sleep can lead to various health issues. A recent study used mice to examine how sleep deprivation may affect eye health. Among other things, it determined that short-term consequences of poor sleep may include different types of ocular discomfort, such as dry eyes, pain, itching, and redness.
On the other hand, one of the long-term consequences of insufficient sleep is an increased likelihood of developing more serious conditions, like dry eye disease. It is estimated that up to 50% of the world population might have this particular condition. In addition, previous research linked sleep apnea and other sleep disorders to a higher likelihood of developing dry eye disease.
Obviously, keeping yourself well-rested is essential. However, more than a third of adults do not get the recommended seven-to-eight hours of sleep a night. Lack of sleep may lead to many health problems, for example, higher chances of obesity or hypertension. One of the reasons that lack of sleep is such a widespread issue is that sleep disorders are extremely common. For instance, it’s estimated that 10%–30% of the world’s population suffer from insomnia.
While people suffering from one of these disorders might need specialized help, others should be able to ensure they are getting enough sleep just by trying to develop some healthy habits. For instance, they should try to fall asleep at the same time every night, stay away from alcohol, and avoid looking at screens for at least one hour before going to bed.
The research team examined how lack of sleep impacts the eye health of mice, or more specifically, cornea regeneration. The team reported a reduction in the corneal transparency of mice who hadn’t been getting enough sleep for two months. Fortunately, they also determined that damaged cornea in these animals can be healed with antioxidant eye drops.
Even though these findings might help us learn more about the effects of lack of sleep on humans, the study has several weaknesses. One limitation is that the mice were kept in cages partially filled with water. If one of them fell asleep, it would fall into the water and wake up. This method of keeping them awake might have been stressful enough to cause some of the noticed effects.
The reliability of its findings aside, this study is an excellent reminder that lack of sleep can lead to a wide range of health problems. Researchers stress the importance of nurturing good sleeping habits and taking any other steps needed to ensure you are consistently getting enough sleep.
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