Why do my eyes tear up when I lay down? Explained.

Why Do My Eyes Tear Up When I Lay Down? Explained

There are many reasons why your eyes may tear up when you lay down. This can be a frustrating and uncomfortable experience, making it difficult to fall asleep or stay asleep. In this article, we will explore the causes and potential solutions to this common problem.

The Anatomy of Tears

Tears are a crucial part of our body’s natural defense mechanism, acting as a lubricant and cleanser for the eyes. They contain a combination of water, salt, proteins, and enzymes that work to keep the eyes moist and healthy.

The Role of Tear Glands

The tear glands, or lacrimal glands, are responsible for producing tears. They are located above each eye and are triggered by a range of stimuli, such as emotions, wind, or smoke.

The Tear Drainage System

After the tears are produced, they drain through tiny ducts located in the inside corner of each eye. These ducts lead to the tear sac, which then empties into the nasal cavity via the tear duct.

Reasons Your Eyes Tear Up When You Lay Down


One of the most common reasons your eyes may tear up when you lay down is simply due to gravity. When you lay down, the tears that have collected in the tear sac are no longer being drained properly, causing them to overflow and spill out of your eyes.

Allergies and Irritants

Allergies and irritants can also cause your eyes to tear up, especially when you lay down. This may be due to seasonal allergies, an allergic reaction to a medication, or exposure to irritants such as smoke or pollution.

Dry Eye Syndrome

Dry Eye Syndrome is a condition where the eyes do not produce enough tears, or the quality of the tears is poor. This can cause discomfort, redness, and in some cases, excessive tearing. When you lay down, the tears that have accumulated on the surface of the eye may not be draining properly, causing them to spill out.


Conjunctivitis, or pink eye, is a common condition that causes inflammation of the conjunctiva, the thin membrane that lines the inside of the eyelids and covers the whites of the eyes. One of the symptoms of conjunctivitis is excessive tearing, which may increase when you lay down.

Solutions to Stop Your Eyes From Tearing Up When You Lay Down

Use Eye Drops

If your eyes are tearing up due to dry eye syndrome, using eye drops or artificial tears can help to moisten the eye and promote drainage.

Try Sleeping with Your Head Elevated

If gravity is causing your eyes to tear up, try sleeping with your head elevated. This can help to promote drainage and prevent tears from overflowing.

Avoid Allergens and Irritants

If you suspect that allergies or irritants may be causing your eyes to tear up, try to avoid exposure to these triggers as much as possible. This may include staying indoors during high pollen count days or wearing protective eyewear when working with chemicals or while in dusty environments.


There are many reasons why your eyes may tear up when you lay down, from gravity to allergies and dry eye syndrome. By understanding the underlying causes and implementing solutions such as using eye drops or sleeping with your head elevated, you can reduce or even eliminate this uncomfortable symptom.

Frequently Asked Questions

  • Q: Why do my eyes tear up when I lay down?
  • A: Your eyes may tear up when you lay down due to gravity, allergies and irritants, dry eye syndrome, or conjunctivitis.
  • Q: How can I stop my eyes from tearing up when I lay down?
  • A: Solutions may include using eye drops, sleeping with your head elevated, and avoiding allergens and irritants.
  • Q: Is tearing up when I lay down a serious problem?
  • A: While tearing up when you lay down is not usually a serious problem, it can be uncomfortable and disruptive to sleep.


  • Mayo Clinic. (2021, March 31). Dry eyes. Mayo Clinic. https://www.mayoclinic.org/diseases-conditions/dry-eyes/symptoms-causes/syc-20371863
  • National Eye Institute. (n.d.). Facts About Tears. https://www.nei.nih.gov/learn-about-eye-health/eye-conditions-and-diseases/tears/facts-about-tears
  • WebMD. (n.d.). What are the causes of tearing?https://www.webmd.com/eye-health/tear-causes

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