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What Causes Puffy Eyes in the Morning?

Autumn Rivers
Updated Mar 03, 2024
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Many people have experienced puffy eyes in the morning at some point, as there are several causes for this issue. One of the most common reasons for waking up with puffy eyes is changing hormone levels, especially during menstruation and pregnancy. Having an unhealthy diet, including too much alcohol and too little water, can also contribute to this problem. Other common issues include an allergic reaction and sleep deprivation, both of which can usually be remedied quickly.

Most women tend to retain fluid just before and during their menstrual period, leading to swelling in the hands, feet, and face. This is due to a burst of hormones that cause a temporary imbalance until the period is over. Many women also experience some bloating in their abdomen during this time, so puffy eyes are not the only symptom of water retention during the menstrual cycle. Pregnant women also often experience swelling around the eyes, and the issue may get worse as the pregnancy progresses since this tends to be the pattern with swelling in other parts of the body.

Of course, men also sometimes get a puffy face, which means that it cannot always be attributed to the female hormones. An unhealthy diet can often cause the problem. Eating food with too much salt or potassium can cause swollen eyelids, and drinking too little water can contribute to the issue. Alcohol can further dehydrate the body, so a night of heavy drinking often results in puffy eyes in the morning, though the problem should go away once the body is hydrated again.

Some people are allergic to their fabric softener, detergent, or even the fabric that their pillows and sheets are made of. They often only find this out after waking up to puffy eyes in the morning, which can be confusing since they may assume that they have a more serious medical issue rather than just irritation from their linens. Typically, stopping use of the product that caused the reaction can solve the issue.

Sleep deprivation is a simple cause of puffy eyes, and this is one of the easiest reasons to figure out. Some people may find that their eyes are not puffy after one night of little sleep, but they are swollen after second one. In this case, the cause is likely a combination of factors, such as the dehydration and sleep deprivation that may occur after a night of heavy drinking. Additionally, some people are more prone to puffy eyes than others since it is usually hereditary.

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Autumn Rivers
By Autumn Rivers
Autumn Rivers, a talented writer for The Health Board, holds a B.A. in Journalism from Arizona State University. Her background in journalism helps her create well-researched and engaging content, providing readers with valuable insights and information on a variety of subjects.
Discussion Comments
By lluviaporos — On May 12, 2013

It often gets used as a joke on TV, but cucumber slices really do work as a puffy eye remedy, if you have the time to spare and use them properly.

You really have to relax and let them do their thing. I'm often a little bit too impatient or busy, so I use an eye cream, but I honestly think that the cucumber works better.

By Fa5t3r — On May 11, 2013

@Ana1234 - Yeah, I'd say not getting enough sleep, and not drinking enough water are the two biggest causes of puffy eyes.

With that said, if your eyes are really puffy it's definitely worth trying to change a few things in case you do have allergies.

If I have too much contact with dust, my eyes start to really swell up and once or twice I've woken up to them being effected in the morning (usually because I'm sleeping somewhere like a hotel where they obviously don't clean often enough).

In that case, you can reduce puffy eyes by taking an antihistamine as you need it, although it still takes a few hours for them to go down.

By Ana1234 — On May 10, 2013

Don't use this as an excuse to avoid potassium though, since most people don't actually get enough of it. I think in this case salt is definitely the bigger culprit. Although I suspect the biggest culprit of all is not getting enough sleep.

So many people these days are sleep deprived, it's ridiculous. They try to make it all up on the weekends, but your body doesn't work like that. There's a reason women used to call naps their "beauty sleep" and that's because getting enough sleep just improves everything, from dark circles under your eyes, to your concentration and weight loss.

Autumn Rivers
Autumn Rivers
Autumn Rivers, a talented writer for The Health Board, holds a B.A. in Journalism from Arizona State University. Her background in journalism helps her create well-researched and engaging content, providing readers with valuable insights and information on a variety of subjects.
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