Baby sleeping with its eyes open

Bebê dormindo com o olho aberto

Some mothers notice that their babies sleep with their eyes open, as if they were awake. In fact, some think that the baby is awake or starting to wake up and end up calling his attention, resulting in waking him up for sure, which causes a slight discomfort.

Watching the baby in sleep is something that no mother can resist. Whether we love our little one very much or want to make sure everything’s okay, we always end up noticing some details, especially on the face, where we look the most.

Worrying about the health and development of the baby is completely normal and having doubts about certain actions, even if seemingly simple is very good, but before exceeding the limit of concern, understand why your baby sleeps with open eyes.

Baby’s Sleep Cycles

The baby’s sleep goes through two cycles, the first being, Non REM (NREM), characterized as being one of drowsiness, or light sleep, when the body is beginning to relax and fall asleep.

During this period, the body is producing melatonin, the sleep hormone, which induces relaxation, causing the baby to keep its gaze fixed and the eyelids to droop.

In babies or children who enter faster into what is called deep sleep, this relaxation is greater, causing the eyelids not to close completely.

If seeing your baby with eyes ajar causes a little discomfort, you can try to pass your hand gently over the eyelids and close his eyes, but you run the risk of him waking up, which may not be a good idea, since babies usually get irritated when they don’t sleep enough.

It is best to leave him quiet and wait for the second sleep cycle in which he will be sleeping more heavily. Probably, at this point, the eyes will close.

What is Nocturnal Lagophtalmos?

The name is kind of scary, but it’s nothing more than a phenomenon that occurs in babies who sleep with their eyes open. So you don’t get stressed thinking it’s a serious disease, know that it disappears by itself, between one year and one year and a half of age.

Although the precise cause for this is not known, it is possible that it is because muscles responsible for opening and closing the eyelids are not fully developed.

If your baby spends many hours sleeping with an open eye or if the condition extends after two years of age, it is important to consult a pediatrician. It may be a case of malformation of the eyelids; however, this is quite rare.

Also, note if there is no secretion in the eyes or conjunctivitis. In such cases, the intervention of a doctor is essential for the treatment of possible inflammations or infections.

Baby’s Eye Care

The baby’s eyes are very sensitive, and, in the first few months, they are still adapting to the external environment. To keep them healthy and prevent diseases such as non-infectious conjunctivitis and blepharitis, an inflammation of the eyelids that can affect the eyelashes or the production of tears, eye cleansing is recommended. 

Here are some precautions that can be taken:

– In the bath, moisten a cotton or gauze and swab the upper eyelid, going towards the eyelashes. Use a cotton ball for each eye.

– Massage the area from the inner corner of the eyes to the nose, from top to bottom, doing once on each side.

– Always dry baby’s eyes thoroughly after bathing. Use a soft towel or a cloth diaper and press lightly with your fingertips, without rubbing.

– Do not use hydrogen peroxide or Q-tips and always follow the guidance of the pediatrician about any medication or substance to be placed in the baby’s eyes.


How to make the baby sleep more peacefully

For your baby to go from the sleep relaxation cycle to the next, of deeper sleep, ensuring optimal sleep, it is important that the environment is free from very loud sounds, such as people talking inside the room or near the door, a radio playing, even the sound of a television can get in the way.

If you notice that your baby feels more comfortable and safe with some sort sound, the tip is to use white noise, highly recommended by sleep experts. One suggestion is the Sleepy Baby app

A good night’s sleep not only makes your baby feel more relaxed; it also ensures good cognitive development, prevents diseases such as obesity and anxiety, and consequently allows everyone in the house to be more willing to take care of the baby for the rest of the day.

Creating a sleep routine makes the baby assimilate activities at bedtime and gradually understand that he can do it alone, in the crib, in his own room, without having to stay on your lap or sleep in his parents’ bed.

At first, it may seem difficult, but don’t give up teaching your baby to become more independent. This will only bring benefits to him and to you, who will have more time for other activities and, mainly, have time for you to rest and take care of yourself, which is very important.

To learn more about how to create the ideal routine for your baby, meet the course Baby Sleeper, developed by Karla Mendonça, specialist in sleep and infant neuro-psycho-pedagogy, nutritionist, postgraduate in neuroscience, master’s student in education, coach and mother of two sleepy babies.



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