Mom’s Question: Is it Normal that My Baby Sleeps With Eyes Open?

Our babies are adorable yet weird creatures. One day they're sleeping like any human should; the next day you see them sleeping with eye open.

Is that normal?

Well, we've seen a lot of adults sleep that way too, haven't we?

Nonetheless, it's still nice to know if we should shrug it as something that will pass away someday or we should be worried about his development.

So here's what I found out about it.


​“Zombie Kid”: Sleeping With Eyes Wide Open

Nocturnal lagophthalmos is the medical term used for babies sleeping with eyes open, also called as “Zombie Kid” syndrome. It may appear disturbing the first time that you see this but don’t worry, most likely your child is just fine.

Nocturnal lagophthalmos is fairly common in babies and usually disappears on its own at around 12 – 18 months. Before this time, baby sleeping with eyes open is considered normal.

​What Makes My Child Sleep With Eyes Open?

sleeping baby on the mattress

As previously mentioned, nocturnal lagophthalmos is fairly common in babies. They usually outgrow it in between their first and second birthday.

Should you be alarmed?


This is not a cause for alarm for kids, but parents must manually close their baby’s eyes.


Your baby’s eyes can dry out and get scarred over time if the eyelids are always just partially closed.

Nocturnal lagophthalmos is caused by:

# Baby being too tired - You will most likely observe your little one sleeping with eyes open during the times when he/she is too tired. It may be past his bedtime, and he just passed out due to sheer exhaustion.

# REM sleep - Some babies open their eyes during their deep sleep phase, also called the REM sleep cycle. Your child might be actively dreaming during this time. You may also observe him/her smile or laugh, which is just alright.

This is harmless and fairly normal. If you are bothered by this, just put your fingers on baby’s eyelids and gently close it.

# Hereditary - Ask your parents or your in-laws if you or your partner tends to sleep with eyes open at your baby’s age. This condition is usually inherited but, again, is not a cause for concern.

# Short or weak eyelids - It is rare but also possible that your child is born with short or weak eyelids, also called congenital ptosis. Weak eyelids cannot cover the eyes entirely during sleep. Thus part of the eye is exposed.

​What Shall I Do If My Baby Sleeps With Eyes Wide Open?

As said before, this condition is considered harmless in babies. This is not a sleep problem and not a cause for concern. This usually resolves on its own as your baby grows.


If your baby wakes up with red eyes and seems to rub them vigorously, chances are your child has dry eyes due to this strange sleep habit.

Better seek advice from a pediatrician or an ophthalmologist if your baby’s eyes appear irritated or if this condition persists longer than 18 months of age. 


Sarah Morgan

Chief editor of and striving mom-extraordinaire.Let me share and inspire you with my daily struggles to live a healthier and more fulfilling life.

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