As we lie in our bed, we rub our eyes when we wake up to find that they feel dry and itchy. In some cases, there is a lack of sleep, while in others the cause could be from allergies or an infection. Here are 5 surprising reasons why we rub our eyes when we wake up in the morning.
Many people have this ritual without even realizing it. We are conditioned to do this because it is often cloudy outside and because sleeping with eyes closed leads to more difficulty falling asleep.
Some people will even sleep with their hands behind their head so that they can rub away any itchiness or dryness. When you sleep on your side, you’ll naturally shift your head towards one shoulder which is why rubbing your eyes in that direction often relieves eye pressure.
Surprising Reasons Why We Rub Our Eyes When We Wake Up
When we wake up in the morning, many of us rub our eyes to relieve the itchiness or dryness. There’s a lot going on when we wake up and we often want to make sure that what’s going on with our eyes is okay. This doesn’t just include scratching away the dryness but also checking for any signs of infection.
But here are five surprising reasons why some people rub their eyes when they wake up:
It helps get rid of sleep-related swelling – This is an interesting way to relieve eye pressure which happens when you sleep on your side and shift your head towards one shoulder.
The brain is still asleep
When you rub your eyes, it’s because your brain is still asleep.
In fact, rubbing your eyes when you wake up is a sign that there are two sleep cycles left to go before the brain wakes up.
It’s not surprising then that people who rub their eyes in the morning often report feeling groggy or drowsy. In some cases, this may be due to a lack of sleep. If you’re having trouble falling asleep, try rubbing your hands and forearms as they’re closer to your eyes than they would be if you were sleeping on a normal pillow.
Itchy eyes lead to more sleepiness
If you wake up with itchy or dry eyes, rubbing them will help with the pressure and alleviate any discomfort.
But rubbing your eyes can also lead to drowsiness. You’re instinctively trying to get that relief from the itchiness and dryness, but in doing so, you’re going to become more tired as well.
When we wake up in the morning, our body is still not fully rested. Sometimes when we start sleeping on our side or close our eyes, our bodies are still struggling to go back into a restful state. Because we’re already tired, the last thing we want to do is put additional stress on our body by rubbing away those irritating itchy eyes.
What causes the dryness and itchy eyes?
Many people will rub their eyes when they wake up to make them feel better. In some cases, this is because they are experiencing dryness and itchy eyes due to allergies or an infection.
Another reason could be related to cloudy weather. When you sleep with your eyes closed, the air in your room can become dense, which sucks away moisture from the surface of your eyelids (2). That’s why rubbing your eye sockets often helps relieve these symptoms (3).
The lack of sleep can also contribute to eye discomfort. One reason for this is that during sleep, we produce a hormone called cortisol which encourages ciliary body movement. Cortisol also has a role in regulating blood pressure and inflammation levels (4). So if you’re not getting enough sleep, it can cause more fluid build-up around the eye and on the surface of the eyeball (5).
There are several other reasons why rubbing your eyes can help you fall asleep faster: The act of rubbing your eyes is relaxing as well as stimulating vagus nerve activity which works as a way to relax muscles and break up stress while inducing drowsiness (6).
How to reduce dryness and itchy eyes
A few steps you can take to help reduce the dryness and itchy eyes are as follows:
– Drink more water.
– Sleep with your head elevated.
– Use a humidifier in your bedroom.
– Put a cool cloth over your eyes before you go to sleep.
– Try wearing eye masks that are made specifically for rubbing away the dryness and itchy eyes (2).
Eye pressure relief
When you sleep on your side, you’ll naturally shift your head towards one shoulder which is why rubbing your eyes in that direction often relieves eye pressure. (1).
The act of rubbing your eyes can also help relieve stress by letting out some tension. This happens because the muscles in our face are relaxed. For example, when we rub our eyes, it helps to release any nervous energy that might be building up in our body and helps us relax for a little bit.
It could also be a subconscious way to stimulate the sleeper’s central nervous system, helping them stay asleep longer. When we’re sleeping, there is less activity within the body as opposed to waking up or staying awake so this type of stimulation helps keep the body still while they doze off. (2).
How to relieve your eyes
when they feel dry
If you wake up in the morning and feel like your eyelids are dry, try to keep your eyes closed as you rub them. This will help relieve some of the pressure on your eyes. If you have allergies or a cold, rubbing your nose may also relieve some of that discomfort.
Who rub their eyes in the morning?
There are many reasons why people rub their eyes in the morning. Some will have a dry and itchy sensation, while others have an infection or irritation from allergies. The most common reason is that we sleep with our eyes closed, so when we wake up it can be more difficult for us to fall back asleep.
It’s not surprising that this habit happens without us even realizing it. We are conditioned to do so because sleeping with our eyes closed leads to more difficulty falling asleep (2).
Most people will find themselves rubbing their eyes in the morning if they sleep on their sides, as this is where the pressure often builds. This motion helps relieve some of the pressure and it also helps break up any crusts or build-up on your eyelids (1).
Why do we have this ritual?
This ritual is often a reflex action. When we rub our eyes when we wake up, it removes the dryness or itchiness that may have caused us to wake up in the first place. It also helps to prevent any infections from spreading since rubbing itchy eyes is an effective way to wash away any germs (1).
This habit also helps with sleep as rubbing your eyes when you wake up after sleeping on your side can help you fall back asleep more easily. The more you rub your eyes, the better chance you will have of drifting off into sleep again without much effort on your part (1).
The other reason why we may rub our eyes when we wake up is because they feel dry or itchy. This could be due to allergies, sinusitis, or nasal congestion. Whatever the cause of this dryness and itchiness, rubbing away the discomfort often makes us feel better (1).
We have a lot of habits that have evolved over time; some of them are helpful and some not so much. One of those habits is rubbing our eyes when we wake up in the morning.
The reason why we rub our eyes in the morning varies. Some people do it to help wake the brain up a little while others do it to relieve eye pressure. But there are some surprising reasons as to why we rub our eyes in the morning, which may be helpful or not.