How to Soothe Tired Eyes and Wake Up

Five Methods:Soothing Your EyesMoving Your Eyes and Body to Wake UpMaking a More Comfortable EnvironmentTalking With Your Optometrist and DoctorChanging Your Diet

Have you ever woken up and felt like your eyes weigh a ton? Or are your eyes tired or strained? There are some simple ways to increase alertness and soothe tired eyes. Contact an eye care or medical professional, though, if you have questions or think you may need to adjust your medication.

Method 1
Soothing Your Eyes

  1. Image titled Soothe Tired Eyes and Wake Up Step 1
    Wash your face with cold water. Splashing cold water on your face doesn’t actually wake you up directly. Instead, this initially causes constriction or narrowing of facial arteries, so you are actually decreasing the blood flow to your face. This lack of blood flow sets off a nervous system reflex to become more alert and fight to get out of this environment.
    • Reduction of blood flow to the eyes reduces inflammation to the eyes.
    • Natural tears are produced when your eyes are closed during this period of time. With prolonged periods of being awake, eyes can become dry and tired. Strategies that increase eye closure reduce dryness and spread tear film.
    • Test the water temperature before splashing. The water should be cold but not freezing.
    • Splash the water at least three times to get results. Keep in mind, however, that you will only get slight relief from this method. Too few splashes may cause no change at all.
  2. Image titled Soothe Tired Eyes and Wake Up Step 2
    Try submerging your face in bowl of cold water. Intensify your cold water wake-up by putting cold water in a bowl and putting your face into it for 30 seconds. Take a deep breath before submerging your face in the water. Take your face out of the water as soon as you need to get air.
    • If any pain or other symptoms occur, stop this method immediately and contact your doctor.
  3. Image titled Soothe Tired Eyes and Wake Up Step 3
    Apply a cold water eye mask. To revive your eyes, give your eyes a soothing treatment. This will also give you a chance to rest your eyes by keeping them closed for a few minutes.
    • Fold a small towel into the size of an eye mask that covers both eyes.
    • Run cold water over this towel.
    • Wring out the towel completely.
    • Relax on a bed or sofa and lay the towel so that it covers both eyes.
    • Take off the towel after 2-7 minutes.
    • Repeat as needed.
  4. 4
    Apply a warm, wet compress. A warm compress can help relax the muscles around your eyes. This can help relieve that tired feeling. To make a simple compress, moisten a clean washcloth or a few clean paper towels with warm (but not hot) water. Lay the cloth over your eyes for a few minutes until you feel soothed.[1]
    • You can also make a warm compress with a tea bag. Steep the bag in some warm water, then squeeze the excess from the tea bag. Apply the bag onto the tired eye.
  5. Image titled Soothe Tired Eyes and Wake Up Step 4
    Try lubricating eye drops. There are several eye drop varieties that may soothe eye strain. Lubricating eye drops work by soothing tired eyes. They also add natural tear elements that hydrate eyes.[2]
    • These require frequent applications. Follow the instructions on the packaging for correct use.
    • If you have a chronic condition that may be contributing to tired eyes, speak with your eye doctor to acquire a correct diagnosis for your condition.
  6. Image titled Soothe Tired Eyes and Wake Up Step 6
    Use antihistamine drops. These drops block histamine release from the body's natural defense against allergens. Many antihistamine eye drops are available over the counter.
    • Antihistamine drops can cause dryness of the eyes, mouth, nose and throat.
    • Follow the instructions on the packaging for correct use.
  7. Image titled Soothe Tired Eyes and Wake Up Step 7
    Use eye drops that constrict blood vessels. Eye drops such as Visine constrict blood vessels in the eyes, reducing red eyes. Some brands contain lubricating drops to help keep eye moist.[3]
    • These types of eye drops can cause rebound redness. Once the drops wear off, the blood vessels may dilate more than usual, making the redness worse.
    • Follow the instructions on the packaging for correct use.
  8. Image titled Soothe Tired Eyes and Wake Up Step 5
    Ask your doctor about cyclosporine (Restasis) drops. Restasis helps chronic dry eyes due to a disease called keratoconjunctivitis sicca by stopping certain immune factors. These drops are only available by prescription, so you should talk with your doctor about whether they're right for you.[4]
    • Side effects of Restasis may include burning, itching, redness, blurred vision, or sensitivity to light. It can cause an allergic reaction in some people.
    • Follow the instructions on the packaging for correct use.
    • Pregnant women should not use Restasis drops.[5]
    • Restasis may take up to 6 weeks (or longer, in some cases) to relieve your dry eyes.[6]

Method 2
Moving Your Eyes and Body to Wake Up

  1. Image titled Soothe Tired Eyes and Wake Up Step 8
    Try the 20-20-20 method. Every 20 minutes, look away from your screen at any object 20 feet away for 20 seconds.[7]
    • Set an alarm to remind you to stretch or rest your eyes.
  2. Image titled Soothe Tired Eyes and Wake Up Step 9
    Try watching an imaginary clock. Some exercises are designed specifically for eyes in order to strengthen various eye muscles. These exercises may soothe tired eyes. They may also stop your eyes from getting tired too quickly. Picture an imaginary clock in front of you. Find the center of the clock. Without moving your head, move eyes up toward the 12:00 hour. Then move your eyes back to the center point. Next, move eyes to the 1:00 hour and back toward the center.
    • Continue this exercise for 10 times.
    • This will help tired eyes focus better. It will also strengthen ciliary eye muscles, which help you focus your eyes.[8]
  3. Image titled Soothe Tired Eyes and Wake Up Step 10
    Write imaginary letters with your eyes. Picture letters of the alphabet on a distant wall. Without moving your head, draw these letters with your eyes.[9]
    • Imagine a horizontal figure eight or infinity sign in front of you. Trace the eight with only your eyes and don't move your head.[10]
  4. Image titled Soothe Tired Eyes and Wake Up Step 11
    Blink more often. Train yourself to blink more often to prevent dryness. Blink once every four seconds to spread tear film and to prevent tired eyes.
  5. Image titled Soothe Tired Eyes and Wake Up Step 12
    Get up and stretch. Sitting in front of a computer or monitor for long periods of time can cause neck and back muscles to stay tense. Without any treatment, these muscles can cause secondary soreness or stiffness of the neck, headaches, in addition to tired eyes. Stretching or meditating, specifically with eyes closed, reduce dry eyes by lubricating eyes with natural tear film. Also, the techniques relax muscles around the eyes.
    • Stretching increases blood flow and oxygen to tense eye muscles, allowing them to relax.
    • It also de-stresses your body when paired with meditative breathing techniques.[11]
    • Stretching decreases irritability and increases mood, and soothes tired eyes.
  6. Image titled Soothe Tired Eyes and Wake Up Step 13
    Get moderate exercise. Exercise moderately to increase heart rate. This will, in turn, increase oxygen circulation, which can increase blood flow to your eyes.
    • The increased blood flow is important for functioning eye muscles and tissues around the eye.

Method 3
Making a More Comfortable Environment

  1. Image titled Soothe Tired Eyes and Wake Up Step 14
    Turn off harsh lights. Producing a comfortable environment reduces tired eyes by allowing eyes strain to focus less. Harsh or excessive lighting requires more work for your eyes to adjust to. Long exposure to bright lights causes too much stimulation for our eyes and bodies, and will result in irritability as well as overall fatigue.
  2. Image titled Soothe Tired Eyes and Wake Up Step 15
    Remove fluorescent light bulbs. Start by removing fluorescent light bulbs as well as additional light bulbs that may not be necessary to achieve suitable lighting. Change the bulbs to “soft/warm” varieties.
  3. Image titled Soothe Tired Eyes and Wake Up Step 16
    Add dimmer switches to your lights. Install dimmer switches on your lights. This allows you to control the level of lighting, which might help relieve symptoms.[12]
    • This also provides more light choices for other family members.
  4. Image titled Soothe Tired Eyes and Wake Up Step 17
    Adjust your computer monitor. Changes to your computer monitor may be necessary if you work for long periods of time. This will make it easier to focus your eyes. You will also strain your eyes less frequently.
    • Make sure your monitor is an adequate distance away. This is about 20-40 inches from your eyes. Keep your screen at eye level or slightly below eye level.[13]
    • Reduce glare by closing blinds, as sunlight may be distracting.
    • Adjust your monitor so the brightest light in the room shines at a 90° angle with your monitor.
    • Adjust your monitor’s brightness and contrast levels.
  5. Image titled Soothe Tired Eyes and Wake Up Step 18
    Listen to music. Music as a whole usually puts people in better moods. Different types of music can "wake us up" in their own ways. [14]
    • Try dance music. Dance music can allow you to imagine yourself dancing and enjoying yourself. As a result, you might unconsciously move to the rhythm by tapping your feet, snapping your fingers or working to the beat.
    • Listen to familiar music. Soothe tired eyes by closing your eyes for a few minutes and listening to music that is familiar. This can evoke pleasant memories.
    • Listen to upbeat music. Increasing mental awareness as well upbeat music with motivational lyrics can simply make you happier.
    • Turn up the music. Increasing the volume slightly above your usual setting can stimulate senses to be alert.

Method 4
Talking With Your Optometrist and Doctor

  1. Image titled Soothe Tired Eyes and Wake Up Step 19
    Get regular eye exams. Keep up to date on eye exams by seeing an optometrist. She will check for signs of eye disease and other maladies.
  2. Image titled Soothe Tired Eyes and Wake Up Step 20
    Make sure your prescription eyeglasses and contacts are current. If you experience tired eyes, you may be straining your eyes with an out-of-date eyeglasses prescription. Check with your optometrist to update your prescription.
  3. Image titled Soothe Tired Eyes and Wake Up Step 21
    Get a medical checkup. If you still experience tired eye symptoms after trying various methods, see your doctor. Even acute situations should be addressed. You may be suffering from a more complicated disease that cause tired eyes as a symptom. Speaking with a medical professional is strongly encouraged. Some possible medical conditions might include:
    • Chronic Fatigue Syndrome: With this condition, a patient is constantly tired. This tiredness can cause vision problems, which may be mistaken for tired eyes. Corrective lenses do not fix the vision changes such as blurriness. Eye exams are often normal.[15] This condition requires medical care.[16]
    • Thyroid eye diseases: These can cause eye problems that may feel like tired eyes. This includes certain thyroid problems such as Graves disease, in which the body attacks its own thyroid tissue as well as eye tissue, resulting in eye swelling.[17]
    • Astigmatism: With this condition, the cornea is abnormally curved, causing blurry vision.[18]
    • Chronic Dry Eye Syndrome: Chronic dry eyes may be due to systematic problem such as diabetes or Sjogren's syndrome, an immune disorder that causes dry eyes and dry mouth.[19][20]

Method 5
Changing Your Diet

  1. Image titled Soothe Tired Eyes and Wake Up Step 22
    Eat more fruits with vitamin C. Increase your intake of lemons and oranges. The sour taste stimulates your senses and facial muscles around your eyes. The vitamin C in these fruits provide antioxidants that prevent fatigue-causing diseases.
    • Lemons and oranges can also prevent age-related eye diseases such as macular degeneration and cataracts.
  2. 2
    Consume more vitamin A.[21] Vitamin A is a crucial component of your vision.[22] Good sources of vitamin A include liver, fish oil, milk, eggs, and leafy green vegetables.[23]
  3. Image titled Soothe Tired Eyes and Wake Up Step 23
    Eat more leafy green vegetables. In addition to vitamin A, leafy greens such as kale and spinach contain lutein and zeaxanthin, which filters out harmful light. They also contain antioxidants and vitamin B12, which help with blood cell production. Consuming more leafy greens will also increase your body’s energy, which is needed to fight eye fatigue.
    • Kale and spinach can help prevent cataracts.[24]
  4. Image titled Soothe Tired Eyes and Wake Up Step 24
    Increase your intake of omega 3 fatty acids. Salmon, tuna and other fish contain omega 3 fatty acids, which can prevent eye disease. They can also prevent the effects of age-related damage to eyes.
  5. Image titled Soothe Tired Eyes and Wake Up Step 25
    Increase your zinc intake. Zinc can help prevent the damaging effects of harsh light. Increase how much zinc you get by eating more legumes, dairy, beef and chicken.


  • Some people are more at risk of dry, tired eyes. You're more likely to experience symptoms if you are older, female, live in a low-humidity environment, wear contact lenses, take certain medications, experiencing hormonal changes, or experiencing nutritional deficiencies.

Sources and Citations

Show more... (21)

Article Info

Categories: Eye Care