Baby Sleeping with Open Eyes: Causes and Dealing Ways

Welcoming a baby is an exciting period especially for first-time parents. As you spend your days trying to take care of your little one, it’s totally fine to feel insecure, worried, and even to be scared. However, there is nothing to worry about as you will learn everything as days go by. One of the things that concern parents when it comes to the health and well-being of their little one, is the sleep pattern. Many parents complain their baby sleeps with eyes open. If this is something that makes you worried, then read this article and find out the reason.

Is It Normal for Baby Sleeping with Eyes Open?

Even though it looks odd, it’s quite normal for a baby to sleep with open eyes. This condition is medically known as nocturnal lagophthalmos. Sleeping with open eyes is harmless and totally common in infants. It does not mean that your baby is having sleep problems. The real reason why some babies sleep with open eyes is not known.

However, many believe that it results from spending more time in the REM sleep, known as well as the active sleeping cycle. Compared to adults, babies spend more time in the REM sleeping cycle, than in the NREM sleeping cycle. Rarely, this sleeping condition is hereditary, which means that if you or your partner sleep with open eyes, then your baby will probably sleep with open eyes too.

As mentioned, the scene that baby sleeps with eyes open is totally harmless. However, if this bothers you, you can always gently close your baby’s eyelids once he/she has fallen asleep.

One problem associated with this condition could be dry eyes or irritated eyes. If you notice any of these changes, then you should take your little one to see a doctor. Rarely, sleeping with open eyes can be a sign of a more serious problem, usually occurring in adults such as thyroid problems, facial nerve damage, certain tumors, etc.

A malformation of the eyelids is another condition that can lead to sleeping with open eyes because the eyelids can’t close normally.

What Should You Do About This?

You already know the reasons why baby sleeps with eyes open, here are some tips and tricks that can help your baby have a normal sleeping pattern:

  • Don’t be to stressed out about this problem, as sleeping with open eyes is harmless in most cases.
  • If this bothers you, you can close the eyelids of your little one by gently stroking them until they are completely closed.
  • Make sure your baby has fallen asleep before stroking the eyelids of your baby.
  • A baby that sleeps with eyes open usually will outgrow this habit by the time he/she turns 12 to 18 months old. If your little one continues to sleep with open eyes even after 18 months, then you should seek medical help of a pediatrician. Still, there is nothing to worry about but just make sure to rule out serious conditions or eyelid malformations.

Other Strange Baby Sleep Habits

Besides the habit that baby sleeps with eyes open, here are other strange sleep habits.


Yes, babies snore too. It can surprise you sometimes how a little baby can make so much noise while sleeping. Snoring while sleeping is more likely to occur when your baby has a cold or flu, or when the nasal passage is blocked. The nasal passage is mostly blocked with milk due to spitting. Little babies tend to spit every now and then. In order to prevent your baby from snoring and in order to clean the nasal passage, you can use saline drops and a suction bulb to clean the nose of your little one. Very loud snoring accompanied with extreme restlessness, gasping for breath, choking, etc., are signs of sleep apnea which requires proper medical evaluation.


Babies sweat a lot while sleeping, especially in their head as a baby’s head is the largest part of their body. To avoid your baby from sweating too much while sleeping, make sure not to dress them too heavy. Dress your little one with only one layer more than you have dressed. It can happen that your little one is a sweater and that he/she will continue like that even in toddler years and later as well.

Breathing Pauses

Did you notice that your baby is breathing rapidly, followed by a slow breathing or even a complete pause of breathing? This terrifies you probably. Breathing pauses are also common in newborns as the part of their brain which is in charge of controlling the breathing is still developing. Usually, this will resolve within the first couple of months after birth. If your baby seems good and sleeping well, and if he/she is not grasping for air and if the lips or fingernails don’t change in color then there is nothing for you to worry about.


It’s normal for babies to kick and punch while sleeping. As babies have an immature nervous system, they will twitch every now and then, as it’s hard for them to control their reflexes. Twitching will resolve as your baby gets older, usually between the ages 2 and 4. However, if you notice that your baby is twitching even while awake, or if the whole body is in spasm, then you should seek professional medical help. Your baby should be evaluated for seizures which could be the cause of body spasms.

Head Banging

Little babies bang their heads. Boys are more likely to bang their heads compared to girls. This habit usually stops by the age of 3. Babies tend to bang their heads while dozing off, as they try to soothe themselves. It has been estimated that about 20% of babies are head bangers so your little one might be too.

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