Dry eyes can wake you in the middle of the night as quick as anything and thus lead to insomnia. (Discussed on pages 12-13 of In Pursuit of Sleep.) When we dream our eyes flash back and forth rapidly, which is called rapid eye movement (REM). REM can be painful if your eyes are dry. We go through REM five times every night, and if your eyes are dry, it will wake you. If you don’t do something about your dry eyes, you may not be able to get back to sleep. This condition can lead to insomnia. But dreaming itself is important and having it terminated early can contribute to depression.
So what do you do about it?
Even though your eyes may tear, the tears may not contain the necessary lubricating oils. I have this condition, and I keep an eye lubricant on the nightstand. I use it two or three times every night. My left eye is particularly bad. But I have it mostly during the night and rarely during the day. Solving this problem helped some with my insomnia, but it certainly wasn’t the whole cure. Your dry eyes may wake you, and even if you solve that problem immediately with eyedrops, you still may not be able to get back to sleep.
What do you do then? Well, that’s the subject of In Pursuit of Sleep, Chapter 4 Charging the Gates of Slumberland. Hint: It involves the use of something called the Transition Trek.