Updated at: 18-06-2022 - By: Jane

How many times have you hoped that it were possible to sleep through a tedious meeting, lecture, or bus journey without anybody noticing? That’s actually a possibility, as it turns out.

It is possible to fall asleep while keeping your eyes open. There are individuals that are inquisitive about the technique for those times when they need a little extra alertness, but many others simply doze off without realizing it.

It is possible to fall asleep while keeping your eyes open. The possible causes and consequences of this will also be discussed.

Why Do We Sleep with Our eyes Closed?

Sleeping with our eyes closed is a common occurrence, but have you ever wondered why this is so? We can block out light by closing our eyes, which is the first reason for doing so. Besides being distracting, light stimulates our brains, prompting us to stay awake rather than go to sleep. Keeping the eyelids shut at night for lubrication and protection is a second key factor. Aside from keeping away foreign objects that could hurt the eyes, the eyelids also help to keep the eyes from drying out.

Illustration of a Lady Sleeping on Her Side

Can Humans Sleep With Their Eyes Open?

The medical word for being unable to keep one’s eyes closed while trying to sleep is “nocturnal lagophthalmos.” This is something that many individuals may not be aware of and only discover when someone else does so. Nocturnal lagophthalmos, according to Cleveland Clinic, is usually the result of weakened facial nerves or muscles, which can be caused by a variety of ailments.


When a blood artery in the brain ruptures or becomes clogged, the brain is cut off from crucial nutrients and oxygen. As a result, a stroke may occur. Strokes can cause a wide range of health problems, including damage to nerve cells. Hemorrhagic and ischemic strokes are the two most common forms. There are two types of strokes: transitory and permanent. A transient ischemic attack (TIA) is the latter.

Bell’s Palsy

Bell’s palsy occurs when a person suddenly loses the ability to move their facial muscles. For up to 48 hours, the seventh cranial nerve is damaged, which causes these episodes. Pregnant women and those with diabetes, the flu, a cold, or an upper respiratory illness are at the highest risk for Bell’s palsy.

Tired Pregnant Lady Struggling to Fall Asleep


At night, it may be difficult to close one’s eyes after blepharoplasty, or eyelid surgery. This treatment is frequently used to tighten sagging skin above or below the eyes that has become too lax due to aging. Some people select this operation to look younger, while others may require it due to visual problems caused by sagging skin. One of the drawbacks is the difficulty in closing the eyelids.

Neuromuscular Diseases

An estimated 1.5 million Americans are afflicted with neuromuscular illnesses each year. A person’s capacity to move, including the ability to close their eyes, can be affected by a nerve disorder.

Head or Facial Trauma or Injury

Lagophthalmos can also be caused by a serious head or facial injury. Wearing a helmet when riding a bike or playing football is a good way to protect your head from injury. Other important safety precautions include always wearing a seat belt, not texting while driving, and never driving while impaired by drugs or alcohol.

Struggling To Fall Asleep Illustration


When the thyroid produces too many hormones, this condition is known as hyperthyroidism. Hyperthyroidism can cause muscle weakness, rapid heartbeat, increased appetite, shakiness, weight loss, diarrhea, and hair loss in addition to muscle weakness.

Using Alcohol or Sleeping Pills

It’s possible that drinking beer or taking sleeping drugs will make it harder to shut your eyes at night. Reduce your alcohol consumption if this is the case. Consult your doctor if you are on prescription sleep medicine and develop nocturnal lagophthalmos.

Illustration of a Sleeping Pill Addicted Woman


Sleepwalking or shouting out loud in your sleep are examples of parasomnias. The Cleveland Clinic says that a person suffering from parasomnia may be aware of their surroundings. Parasomnia does not cause the eyes to stay open all night; rather, it causes them to stay open only while it is occurring.

How to Sleep with Your Eyes Open

When you need a quick nap but don’t want to draw attention to yourself, keeping your eyes open while you sleep may be an option. If you’re curious and want to give it a shot, here’s a method for teaching oneself to sleep open-eyed.

Let Yourself Relax

Relax your body and mind by keeping your eyes open but not tensing any other muscles. Work your way up from your feet and toes, starting with the bottoms of your feet.

Breathe Normally

Breathe in and out while you concentrate on your movement. Inhale and exhale slowly and deliberately via your nose. To get the maximum effect, give at least one-second intervals between each sound.

Illustration of a Woman Sleeping on Her Side with Her Eyes Open

Focus on One Spot

While indoors, keep your attention fixed on a single point or, if you’re outside, look far away. To maintain your concentration, keep your gaze fixed on the same location. Avoid bright colors since they may interfere with your ability to focus.

Let Your Thoughts Wander

Ultimately, the idea is to clear your thoughts. Start by daydreaming about a nice experience, such as a forthcoming or former vacation. You may fall asleep without anyone noticing if you start thinking about nothing at all!

Other Techniques

Napping without Being Noticed

A frequent nap in public may be an option if you don’t have the time to practice sleeping without shutting your eyes. Make sure that the spot where you plan to take a nap is private, such as a car trunk, a closet, or a bathroom. Sit in the back of a crowded room if you can’t get away to a quiet corner. To hide the fact that your eyes are closed, you can use sunglasses. There’s also the added bonus that they’re a great way to get some shut-eye. To avoid slouching, sit up straight and preferably at a table or desk. Raise your chin with your other hand while keeping your elbow flat on the surface. You’ll appear alert and engaged.

Animated Image of a Family Having a Meal Together Where a Father Falls Asleep at a Table - Mobile

Meditating with Your Eyes Open

Although most people meditate with their eyes closed, doing so with your eyes open can help you learn to fall asleep faster. Start in a dimly lit, quiet place. Sit comfortably in a chair or on the floor, depending on your preference. But don’t let yourself get comfortable on the ground. Try to keep your attention on more than one thing at a time. Look at something on the left side of the room with your left eye, and then switch to the right side with your right eye. Focus on deep, steady breaths for the next step. Open-eye meditation can be practiced in public once you’ve mastered it at home.

Illustration of a Woman Meditating Before Bed

Practice Lucid Dreaming

This type of dreaming can only be described as lucid if you are aware that you are dreaming. There is no guarantee that you will have a lucid dream if you follow these guidelines. The seed must be sown. Reading about lucid dreaming has been shown to enhance the occurrence of one. Read a few pages of a book on the subject before you go to bed. Make sure that you get adequate sleep.. Lucid dreaming can occur during the rapid eye movement (REM) stage of sleep. To go into this state, the body need a lot of rest. A dream diary is a good idea. Make a note of anything you can recall about your dreams as soon as you wake up. Keep your journal next to your bed so you can write in it as soon as you wake up. Declare to yourself that you desire a lucid dream as a goal. A lucid dreaming app, on the other hand, will sound an alarm or buzz to let you know when you’ve entered a dream state. With repetition, your subconscious will come to associate that sound with dreams.

Possible Side Effects

Catnaps with your eyes open might replenish your batteries, but they can also have detrimental side effects. As a result, regular use of this method of rest is not recommended. Because the eyelids cannot close and lubricate the eyes when you sleep, this is an issue. You may notice dryness, inflammation, redness, impaired vision, and sensitivity to light as a result of this.

When To Talk to Your Doctor

On your own, it can be difficult to identify nocturnal lagophthalmos (night blindness). You may not be able to see whether someone is watching you while you sleep if you have very small eyelid holes that are covered by eyelashes.

Dry eye that becomes worse in the morning may require specialized examination by a doctor if you’re experiencing persistent symptoms. In addition to disrupting your sleep, nocturnal lagophthalmos can harm your eye health. You’ll be able to sleep better at night if you receive an accurate diagnosis and a personalized treatment plan.

Illustration of a Lady Looking at Dark Circles over Her Eyes in the Mirror


Is sleeping with your eyes wide open safe?

Eye dryness and discomfort are two of the most common negative effects of sleeping with your eyes open, as previously discussed. Avoid this if you suffer from dry eyes, since it could exacerbate the problem rather than alleviate it. However, in certain circumstances, people unintentionally sleep with their eyes open overnight, which might cause eye problems. If this is the case, you should consult with your doctor, who can assist diagnose and treat the underlying cause of your nocturnal blindness.

Can you achieve a deep sleep while doing it?

It is possible to fall asleep with your eyes open, but deep sleep is uncommon since you are more susceptible to interruptions. Research has shown that nocturnal lagophthalmos is linked to a lack of restful slumber. Because of this, you may want to avoid sleeping in this position on a frequent basis.

How do you treat nocturnal lagophthalmos?

The Cleveland Clinic recommends therapies for people who can’t keep their eyes closed while they sleep. Before performing any of these exercises on your own, you should speak with your doctor first. Eyelid tape is a simple first option. At night, close your eyelids with a piece of first-aid tape. The application of eyelid weights is the next therapy option. It is possible to put the weights on your eyelids and use them while you sleep. Eye closure may be made easier with the extra weight. An oil gland treatment is available to patients who wish to enhance their own eye’s natural oil gland function. Another choice is to use medicated gel drops. When applied to the eyelids, it can assist to keep them closed and protect their delicate skin from the sun’s rays.

What are the pros and cons of sleeping with open eyes?

Our advice is not to go to sleep with your eyes open because it isn’t normal. It’s possible that it’ll cause problems sleeping because of the dryness in your eyes. Seeing a doctor may be a good idea if you have trouble falling asleep because you can’t shut your eyes at night. Because it doesn’t interfere with their sleep, some people may go to bed with their eyes slightly open without even noticing it. You don’t need any medical attention for that.

Is lagophthalmos a dangerous condition?

Even if lagophthalmos isn’t life-threatening, seeing a doctor can help diagnose the underlying reason and prevent additional vision loss. Doctors may prescribe eye drops to lubricate the eyes to encourage tear production and alleviate dryness if it is the cause of the problem.

Surgical tape or an external eyelid weight may be prescribed by your doctor if you have trouble keeping your eyes closed at night. Surgical intervention, on the other hand, may be necessary in some cases. For lagophthalmos, the most common surgical procedure is to introduce an implant made of gold in the eyelid. It aids in the closure of the eyelids and safeguards the cornea without impairing eyesight.

Is sleeping with open eyes hereditary?

Even while sleeping with one’s eyes open may run in the family, most youngsters outgrow the habit. It is possible that mild cases of nocturnal lagophthalmos that have no apparent explanation are inherited. A tiny study published in 2009 on ScienceDirect found that 5 of the 102 patients studied had a family history of nocturnal lagophthalmos.

What causes Bell’s Palsy?

We don’t know what causes Bell’s Palsy. Facial muscles and eyelid motions can become inflamed due to a viral infection, which may be the cause of this condition. Regardless of one’s age, anyone can be affected by Bell’s Palsy, which is also known as facial palsy.

Can you sleep deeply with your eyes open?

No. Keeping your eyes open when you try to sleep makes it harder to get a good night’s rest. You may have trouble sleeping if your eyes become dry, which can lead to dry eye syndrome. Deep sleep is thwarted when there are interruptions in your line of vision.

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