7 reasons why you wake up with puffy eyes in the morning

Waking up in the morning with puffy eyes can be frustrating and uncomfortable.

Eye health

Sonia Chartier

13 June 2019

1. Too much salt

The first thing that could be responsible for your early-morning puffy eyes is too much salt. When your diet contains too much sodium, your body is more likely to retain fluids. That's because there's a delicate balance between sodium and potassium in the cells; when too much sodium enters the cells, water follows in order to dilute it, and this can often lead to bloating and cells becoming full of excess water.

If your puffy eyes are a result of fluid retention and too much salt in your diet, they'll tend to be worse in the morning. That's because you don't drink water overnight while you're sleeping, so your body can become very dehydrated by morning.

Cut back on your salt intake and try seasoning your food with herbs and spices instead. Your salt receptors can become overwhelmed if you regularly eat too much salt; by cutting back, you'll start to appreciate smaller doses of salt and other seasonings. Our Herbamare Sodium-Free is a great substitute!

My top tip: Watch out for sneaky sources of salt! You might not think you're consuming too much salt because you don't put a shaker on the dinner table, but condiments and sauces are notorious for their extra sugar and salt content, so be wary of these.


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Try our Eye Drops to soothe puffy, irritated eyes.

Containing Euphrasia, they can even be used if you wear contact lenses or suffer from conjunctivitis. Apply 1 drop in each eye 4 to 5 times daily, or more often as required.

2. Allergies

Another reason you might wake up with puffy eyes: your sleeping habits. You may be suffering from an allergy that's causing your body to produce histamine, which can cause inflammation, itching and redness in response. So what's the link to sleep?

If you're waking up with puffy eyes, you could be allergic to something in your bedroom. If you've recently bought new bed sheets, tried a new fabric softener or added an unfamiliar plant to your decor, keep in mind that any of these could be prompting a histamine response and causing your eyes to puff up.

On a similar vein, if you like sleeping with the windows open, pollen and allergens from outside could be the culprit! Try sleeping with the windows closed to see if this helps with your morning symptoms; you can use an electric fan or invest in some lighter bed sheets if you get warm during the night.

My Top Tip: Itchy or irritated eyes can benefit from our Eye Drops. You can use them while wearing contact lenses to soothe your eyes if they've become irritated. Plus, if you're reacting to pollen and other allergens, you can try Allergy Relief, our natural remedy for allergies and hay fever.

3. Lack of sleep

Of course, the swollen, sensitive eyes you wake up with may be due to a lack of sleep rather than to external irritants.
If you're not getting enough sleep at night, or if it isn't quality sleep, then you might experience an increase in fluid and blood retention around your eyes come morning. This is especially true if your puffy eyes are often accompanied by dark circles or bags under your eyes.

My top tip: If you struggle to get to sleep at night, a healthy sleep routine can make a big difference. Start winding down in the evening at least an hour before you go to bed by putting away your mobile phone or tablet, as the unnatural blue light they emit can disturb your natural sleep cycle. Taking a bath or shower before bed can also help prepare your body for sleep by lowering your temperature and encouraging your body to prepare for sleep.

4. Eye conditions like conjunctivitis

Puffy or swollen eyes can also be caused by certain eye conditions. Conjunctivitis, for example, is normally the result of an infection, but it can also be caused by an allergy or contact lenses. Other symptoms you might notice alongside puffy eyes include itching, redness and sticky discharge.

The most important thing to remember when suffering from conjunctivitis is to keep your eyes clean. Gently washing them with warm water and an eye wash can help to clean the discharge from your eyes. Make sure to wash your hands properly before and after touching your eyes, and always use a clean facecloth and towel. You should also avoid wearing contact lenses or makeup, as they'll encourage bacteria growth and can slow the healing process.
Infective conjunctivitis can be highly contagious, while the allergic and irritant versions aren't. Nevertheless, it's important to always wash your hands before and after touching or cleaning your eyes. Don't share facecloths or towels to keep your infection from spreading.

My top tip: A.Vogel Eye Drops can be used to soothe irritation and discomfort, and are safe for use while you're suffering from conjunctivitis. They contain Euphrasia, which has been shown to aid in recovering from conjunctivitis.1 Euphrasia may be particularly useful in cases where conjunctivitis is caused by a viral infection, where regular antibiotics don't work.

5. Sleeping with contact lenses in

This is a huge no-no when it comes to looking after your eyes, and for good reason. Sleeping with your contact lenses in can encourage bacteria to grow in the tiny gap between the lens and the surface of your eye. Needless to say, this can cause a host of eye issues, not just puffy eyes!

My top tip: Don't do it! Make sure to always remove your contact lenses before bed. If you feel like your lenses are irritating your eyes, you can try our A.Vogel Eye Drops, or you can take a break from contacts and wear glasses when your eyes feel extra sensitive.

6. Drinking too much alcohol

You might find that, after a heavy night of drinking, you always seem to wake up in the morning with puffy eyes. While you probably didn't get your full eight hours (see lack of sleep above!), it could also be down to dehydration.

In a similar process to when you consume too much salt, when your body becomes dehydrated, it stores as much water as it possibly can and stockpiles it for the future. This can often lead to bloating and fluid retention. As your body swells with excess water, the skin under your eyes can retain fluid, leading to puffy, dark circles.

My top tip: Try raising your head a little higher with an extra pillow at night to encourage excess fluid to drain from around your eyes. And more importantly, you should alternate your pints or cocktails with a nice glass of water. Avoid ordering doubles, which can leave you drinking more alcohol than you originally intended and getting tipsy much quicker than expected, leaving you hung over the next day and contributing to signs of dehydration like puffy eyes.

7. Not drinking enough water

This tip follows from the last, as you can get dehydrated even without touching a drop of alcohol. If you don't drink water regularly, your body will go through the same motions and stockpile fluids—hello puffy eyes!
It can be especially pronounced in the morning, particularly if it's been a whole eight hours since you went to bed and even longer since you last had a sip of H20. If you're concerned about having to pee in the middle of the night, you can stop drinking around an hour before bed.

What's more, you should avoid drinking tea or coffee in the evening, as they can act as a diuretic and stimulate your bladder to release urine more frequently.

Excreting all of your precious water before bed and spending eight hours in a liquid-free slumber won't help your morning eye bags!

My top tip: If you struggle to drink enough water during the day, setting a small reminder on your phone or work computer can encourage you to have a glass every hour or so. Rather than investing in an intimidating water bottle, try to drink small amounts often to keep your body hydrated and prevent those nasty puffy eyes!


1 https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/11152054


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