When a Baby Sleeps with Their Eyes Open
Having a new baby can be stressful because new mothers are not always prepared for the life lessons that parenting teaches them. While it is wishful thinking to believe that you are this glorious fountain of wisdom who will be able to quickly solve any problem that your child faces, it takes a lot of time to be a supermom.
One of the strange occurrences that any new mother might face is walking into their baby’s room and seeing a blank glassy-eyed stare on their child’s frozen face. The savvy mom will know not to wake the child because at least he seems calm and happy.
A less experienced mother may start making jokes at how dazed their baby looks. Let’s discuss this harmless baby behavior of the frozen sleep stare in greater detail below.
Sleeping with Eyes Open is Normal
Although new and prospective parents may have never heard of such things because it is not often discussed, it is completely harmless and normal when a baby sleeps with their eyes open. The trait is called nocturnal lagophthalmos in scientific journals. This condition can even occur in adults, but is considered normal and unremarkable when a baby sleeps with their eyes open.
Adults are known to remain in a hypnagogic state before and after sleep if they are tired. In this manner, they can be dreaming and hallucinating even while they are awake. Their eyelids may be heavy, as they nod off and move in and out of consciousness.
People in a hypnagogic state may also have religious visions and be able to delve deeper into their subconscious mind. Most of the prophetesses and people of ancient times were able to make predictions by drugging themselves into such states to write as if possessed by the spirits of the dead using a technique called necromancy.
What to Do When a Baby Sleeps with Their Eyes Open
There is nothing that you need to do if your baby sleeps with their eyes open unless you notice that they are suffering from dry and irritated eyes. It is only in the rarest cases that the disorder is caused by birth defects that affect the newborn’s eyelids. Most babies will outgrow this behavior.
If it annoys you, you can simply use your hand to gently manipulate their eyelids closed when they are sleeping. It is a delicate balance for new mothers to risk waking a colicky child and simply letting them win the staring contest.
Why is My Baby Sleeping with Their Eyes Open?
Could R.E.M. Sleep Be to Blame?
The cause for nocturnal lagophthalmos in babies is not readily known. Scientists have not yet found any serious reasons to fund a large study on the subject. However, they currently believe that it has something to do with the type of sleep that affects babies.
Babies experience a longer period of Rapid Eye Movement (R.E.M.) sleep than adults. R.E.M. sleep is a process that helps your mind reorganize its thoughts so that you can function better. It is believed that people who are sleep deprived can develop psychosis and other health problems because they never reach a state of REM sleep.
This may also have something to do with an undeveloped nervous system. It may take time for the spinal cord to develop the reflexive response of closing the eyes. During the REM sleep of adults, the eyes are moving rapidly in all directions. In babies, it looks more like they are glassy-eyed and staring aimlessly into space.
It may be funny to think of them as cellphones downloading alien information and instructions for their developmental progress. Eventually, you can bet that your kid will get that important upgrade and start closing its eyes throughout the sleep cycle.
Does Nocturnal Lagophthalmos Occur in Adults?
Yes. It is even thought to be passed along to babies through the DNA of their parents. If you see your baby sleeping with their eyes open, you may want to ask a partner or friend to see whether you also sleep with your eyes opened at night. The REM sleep cycle is most likely to occur 90-minutes after dozing off. The REM phase is known for creating the dream cycles which may be a window into our subconscious minds.
While a baby sleeping with their eyes open is no big deal, an adult who still sleeps with even one eye opened may be cause for alarm. The usual causes for nocturnal lagophthalmos in adults are thyroid disorders, neurological disorders in the facial nerves, and even specific kinds of tumors.
If you are experiencing these problems as an adult, you may not know about it because you are in an unconscious dream state. Your partner may not consider it if they think you are just awake and staring into space during a concurrent sleep cycle.
Putting a Baby Sleeping with Their Eyes Open to Sleep
When you are putting your baby to sleep, you should stay alert for the first 90-minutes or so to see if your baby begins to fall into this trance-like state. You may also want to check on them periodically to see how they are being affected by it.
Although you should not worry about it or go out of your way to correct a natural behavior, you can give yourself peace of mind that their eyes will retain moisture. For, in fact, a lot of adults suffer vision problems from staring at televisions and other screens because they do not blink their eyes as often and can cause dryness and irritation.
So, that is the scoop on what to do if you find your baby sleeping with their eyes open. We hope that this blog has been informative and fun. If you like this content, please be sure to check out our other useful posts and resources on the website. We look forward to seeing you again and thank you for perusing our blog!