What Experts Say on How to Sleep With Your Eyes Open

What Experts Say on How to Sleep With Your Eyes Open, woman sleeping with eyes open

Do you sleep with your eyes open? It may sound strange to people who have never experienced it but sleeping with your eyes open is more common than you’d think. The causes can range from medical conditions like lagophthalmos to psychological states like recent trauma. Other causes may include weak or paralysed nerves or muscles.

Of course, if you have a condition like this then there are concerns you’ll have to address. For example, irritants like dust, dryness from the lack of lubrication, or even just the regular difficulty of trying to sleep with nothing to block light entering the room. So, here are a few expert tips to help you learn how to sleep with your eyes open.

1. Eye Lubricants

Eye lubricants, woman with eyes tired applying eye drops

Every time you blink your lids coat your eyes with necessary oils and mucus. This constant lubrication is essential for your retinal health. And without it you put yourself at risk of multiple offshoot issues like an irritated cornea. The solution of course is to treat your eyes with high quality artificial lubricants like tears and ointments daily.

While getting a doctor’s prescription is always the best option you can also purchase over the counter drops. The GenTeal Severe Dry Eye and Refresh Celuvisc both come highly recommended. If you’re making this decision on your own keep in mind that eye lubricants come with and without preservations.

Some drops like Eye Relief and Soothe Long Lasting are good options for people looking to treat irritation and stop bacterial growth. However, these are not suitable for severe conditions. In your condition long for drops without preservatives like Refresh and Systane Ultra.

2. Allergy Drops

If you’re having trouble sleeping with your eyes open because they feel irritated and watery you may be having an allergic reaction. When you have a condition that prevents your lids from fully closing while you sleep you’re more exposed to things like pollen, dust, molds, and pet dander. For people with prior conditions this case causes those allergies to flare up.

Others find themselves developing allergies they didn’t previously have. So if you have itchy eyes or a runny nose it's a good idea to keep allergy drops on hand. Suitable antihistamines will bring you some much needed relief making it easier to sleep. Stay on top of developing allergies and pay careful attention to any symptoms you’re facing because ignoring them will only make the matter worse.

3. Eye Masks

Eye masks or eye patches serve multiple roles. They help block out light making it easier to sleep. And they also keep out dust and other irritants that can enter your eyes and cause infections. While eye masks can help most people, they’re especially necessary for individuals suffering from conditions that require them to sleep with their eyes open.

A sleep mask can provide that necessary barrier that the eye lid would normally offer. Often doctors will suggest putting on your night time ointment before using an eye mask. That way you won’t be tempted to rub your eyes and you’ll also get a more peaceful and relaxing sleep.

Hibermate sleep mask, woman sleeping peacefully with Hibermate eye mask

However, you need to make sure you’re keeping the mask in an extremely sanitary place since it will be in direct contact with your eyes. There are multiple types of masks available so find one that suits you. Look into the steps you need to take to safely sanitize it daily, as well as casing to protect it from bacteria and dust.

4. Gold Weight

Attaching a gold weight to the top of your eyelid is a good way to weigh it down. While you can get it implanted surgically as a more permanent solution you don’t need to. Simply use medical grade tape to attach it and gravity will work in your favour so you can get a full blink. This is an especially useful tool for people who sleep with their eyes partially open.

You should consult an expert before you purchase one though, because these gold pieces come in a range of weights and sizes. So you have to find one that suits you best. This may take some trial and error. You can also look into alternatives like platinum weights and eyelid springs to find the most preferable option for your condition.

5. Scleral contact lenses

Contact lenses when sleeping with open eyes, two contact lenses on wet surface

You always hear about how you shouldn’t wear contact lenses to bed because it dries up your eyes and causes infections. However, scleral contact lenses or corneal gas permeable lenses are different from your ordinary eyesight improving tool. They form a layer over your eyeball, including the entire cornea, which protects the surface from exposure to dirt and other particles.

These lenses are custom designed to fit the wearer perfectly so you’ll have to visit a specialist to get these made. The process can include wearing trial lenses for a period of time which will help the doctor decide which parameters need adjusting. Of course, that makes this a slightly expensive option, with certain high customizations going up to $4000 per lens. However, the details vary on a case by case basis.

Other steps to take

While certain products and medical items can help you improve your quality of sleep, learning how to sleep with your eyes open often has a lot to do with the habits you incorporate into your routine to alleviate some of the psychological stressors. So if you’re looking for tips on how to improve your sleep try meditating.

Start by setting up a dark and comfortable space to rest in. Now spend some time focusing on your breathing and loosening muscles. Meditation is a good way to get yourself in the right headspace for sleep. Once you’re feeling relaxed and calm you’ll find that sleep comes a lot easier.


At the end of the day, these are all just short-term corrective measures to help you get some much needed rest. However, you still need to consult your doctor to treat your underlying condition. That can mean getting gold weight implants or even corrective surgery to repair nerves. Because sleeping with your eyes open is not a sustainable habit in the long term.