Baby Sleeping with Eyes Open: What You Should Know

  • By: Sandra
  • Date: May 8, 2022
  • Time to read: 5 min.

When you think of a baby sleeping, you probably envision them with their eyes closed. However, some babies sleep with their eyes open. This can be alarming for parents the first time they see it, but there is no need to worry.

In this blog post, we will discuss why some babies sleep with their eyes open and what you should do if your baby starts doing this.

Is it normal for my baby to sleep with their eyes open?

Baby Sleeping with Eyes Open

Yes, it is normal for some babies to sleep with their eyes open. This is called nocturnal lagophthalmos and it affects about one in every 20,000 babies.

There are two main reasons why this happens:


If you or your partner have nocturnal lagophthalmos, your baby has a higher chance of having it as well. You may not be aware that you have it so why not ask your partner if they have noticed if you do open eyed sleeping!

REM & Immature Nervous System

The reason why most adults don’t sleep with their eyes open is because during the Rapid Eye Movement (REM) stage of sleep, our eyelids are automatically closed. However, babies spend 50% of their sleeping time in REM sleep and their nervous system isn’t fully developed yet, so often the REM causes more eye movement and open eyes.

When baby sleeps in a deep sleep mode their eyes are usually close but it is not rare that they open their eyes. Also when babies either fall asleep or wake up, their eyes their eyes may be open. Open eyed sleeping usually goes away on its own as the baby’s nervous system develops.

Birth Abnormalities

There are also some birth abnormalities that can cause a baby to sleep with their eyes open in very rare cases. One example is congenital ptosis, which is when the eyelid muscles are not fully developed. There are other conditions such as damaged facial nerves from the birth, however again very rare.

However, these conditions are very rare. if you feel your baby growth is hindered by this or another sleep problem, talk to your baby’s doctor. But remember, it is usually perfectly normal to see a child sleeping with their eyes partially open!

Often, however, this is no underlying reason in babies and this is called physiological lagophthalmos.

How to tell if baby is sleeping with eyes open?

It can be difficult to tell if your baby is truly asleep when their eyes are open. Here are a few things to look for:

-Is your baby’s breathing regular and deep?

-Do their eyes appear to be tracking objects or moving back and forth?

-Are their eyelids drooping or starting to close?

If you’re not sure, try gently touching your baby’s forehead or cheek. If they don’t stir, it’s likely they are in a deep sleep. However, if your baby does wake up, don’t worry – this is normal! Some babies simply sleep more soundly with their eyes open.

What should I do if my baby starts sleeping with their eyes open?

What should I do if my baby starts sleeping with their eyes open?

First of all, don’t panic. This is a normal condition and not harmful to your baby.

If your baby has dry or irritated eyes then you should you can talk to your pediatrician about it. They may want to do some tests to rule out any underlying conditions or give them some treatment to help with the drying eyes. If you notice any other concerning symptoms then talk to your doctor.

Sleep Environment

In order to help the baby sleep, ensure the room is dark and cool. A humidifier may help keep moisture in the air and help prevent their eyes drying out.

Some parents gently stroke their baby’s eyelids closed. When you gently close their eyelids it may help prevent their eyes drying out.

When to Call the Doctor

If your baby’s eyes are red, swollen, or crusty then you should call the doctor. This could be a sign of an infection and will require treatment.

If you have any concerns about your baby’s sleep or health in general, don’t hesitate to reach out to your pediatrician or other health professional.

Is falling asleep with eyes partially open harmful for babies?

No, it is not harmful for babies to sleep with their eyes partially open. This condition is not harmful and does not cause any problems for babies.


Why is my babies eyes opening and closing whilst sleeping

There are a few reasons why your baby’s eyes may open and close while they are sleeping. One reason is that your baby is trying to process all of the new information they are taking in. Their brains are working hard to make sense of everything they are seeing and hearing, and this can cause their eyes to flicker open and closed.

Another reason why your baby’s eyes may open and close while they are sleeping is because they are dreaming. Dreams are a normal part of the sleep cycle, and they often cause people’s eyes to move around rapidly. It is thought that babies dream more frequently than adults, so it is not surprising that their eyes may open and close during sleep.

Why is my baby sleeping with eyes open and smiling

It’s actually a pretty common occurrence for babies to sleep with their eyes open. It’s called nystagmus, and it’s completely harmless. However, if you’re noticing your baby doing it more often, it could be a sign of fatigue or dehydration. Make sure to keep an eye on your little one and make sure they’re getting enough rest and fluids.

The Bottom Line on Babies Sleeping With Their Eyes Half Open

Babies sleeping with eyes open is a common occurrence and is completely normal. There are a few reasons why babies may do this, such as trying to process new information or dreaming. If you’re concerned about your baby’s sleep or health, don’t hesitate to reach out to your pediatrician.