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Is Your Toddler Smiling During Sleep? Know the Reasons

By Sleepsia

Smile on the face of your baby while he is asleep, this is a sight to adore. Any response or milestone achieved by your toddler is a memorable tale. You feel like collecting every moment when your kid shows signs of growing up. From writing down in a baby’s journal to making videos of every reaction is your full-time job. But you might be wondering why did babies smile during sleep? Is this safe? What is he thinking? Is he sleeping with comfort?

So, here are the answers to your quest.

There can be many reasons behind the tiny grin on your child’s face. Let’s understand from the basics as sleep is a complex mechanism. Mostly, when you witness the toothless smile, you crave more. But the struggle should be about Why?

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Why do Babies Smile in Their Sleep?

  • Really Smiling -The Reflex smile

A baby starts to smile during the gestation period only. In 25 weeks to 27 weeks, a fetus starts to smile just like kicking or sucking its thumb. Researchers believe that this milestone is normal and healthy. After birth, a toddler starts to smile at 3 months and starts winning hearts. This does not need any stimulation and it is called Reflex action. Like other reflexes, smiles are signs to mark the normal growth of a baby.

  • Your baby is dreaming!

Sleep Cycle is an important topic to discover when you talk about your baby’s smile during sleep. Human beings experience process of sleep in two patterns:-

  1. Rapid Eye Movement (REM)
  2. Non- Rapid Eye Movement

The sleep cycle takes place in stages. Non- Rapid Eye movement occurs in 3 stages.

Stage 1:- Have you witnessed a stage when your baby is awake but drowsy? The body starts to relax, the heartbeat slows down and the muscles will also relax. The brain waves start to slow down but this is a stage where you are singing rhymes to your baby. You don’t allow any noise to disturb your baby’s nap.
Stage 2:- This is the stage before the deeper sleep. The heartbeats get slower, and there is no sporadic activity. You can take your baby towards his pillow and cover him with sheets. The eye movements below the lid are decreased and hence the body is achieving the pace of relaxation.
Stage 3:- This last stage is what we call a deep sleep. When the heartbeat and breathing are at the slowest motion, your kid is having sound sleep. The toddler will not wake up easily at this point of sleep. The body regrows and rebuilds during this stage.

Then after almost 90 minutes when your baby falls asleep, the REM stage occurs.

REM sleep

During the REM cycle, your heartbeat increases, breathing gets faster and your vitals start reacting like you are close to waking up. The legs and arms might experience temporary paralysis to prevent you from acting according to your dreams. This is a stage when you experience dreams. Your brain waves are varied and irregular. There is rapid movement of the eyes during this phase.

If you witness your baby smiling during sleep, he is experiencing the REM stage. He is having some dreams from the subconscious brain. Your baby is dreaming!

  • Response to Digestive system- Passing gas

When the baby is inside the womb, the placenta does all the work. Feeding and excretion of bowels is not something your baby was experiencing before birth. So, the frown, grin, or smile on your child’s face might be in response to the functioning of the digestive system. Expressing emotions with passing gas is a way to understand the mechanism of the body. The acidity or gas inside the stomach might cause pain or irritation. When your child smiles during sleep, he or she might be passing the gas. Passing gas will relax his muscles. So, yes smiling can come after passing gas too!

  • Learning Social Interaction

After 3 months, babies start reacting to gestures, things, etc. and develop emotions. They choose and decide the emotions to express. The child starts to follow your voice, and movements and give responses. When a child smiles during sleep, it might be in response to the environment. Affection towards some relative or a familiar place can be the reason behind a smile. The comfort of the pillow or lap of the mother, love makes your baby smile. Cherish the moments when your baby starts smiling with you.

Now, these were some common reasons behind your toddler’s sleep. But is there something to worry about?

  • Parasomnia- an alarm for you

It is observed in very less children. A rare situation where parents witness abnormal sleep behavior in the child. Laughter, difficulty during sleep, abnormal movements. This is an alarming sign and might need your attention. If you are analysing this pattern often, contact a paediatrician.

Smiles of your baby are tales of his growth and developing emotions. Whenever a parent witnesses a toothless grin on a sleepy face, it becomes a magical moment. The gestures on your baby’s face become your inspiration to provide them with anything that will bring a smile to their face. You will start trying different YouTube hacks, and tips to sustain that captivating smile!

So, here are some proven tips to make your baby smile during a smile. If your baby is comfortable while sleeping, you will witness the smile for sure! So, the question is How to help your baby sleep comfortably throughout the night?

5 ways to make your baby sleep with warmth and comfort

  1. Dim the lights

During the night when you are trying to make your child sleep, use dim lights in the room.

Your actions and voices should be calm and not high-pitched. It will also encourage good sleep habits in the baby.

  1. Stay around

Make your baby sleep in your room for six months. The warmth of your presence and familiar bed, and baby pillow will allow him to sleep faster. It also decreases the chances of sudden infant death syndrome.

  1. Ensure Safety

When you go shopping for pillows, choose the firm one. Don’t go for soft pillows like soft toys. In the initial months, the baby needs support and safety. It is often said that pillows are unsafe for toddlers. This is suggested to prevent suffocation. But still, there are various pillows available which are designed and curated for safety like nursing pillows, Baby-positioner pillows, etc.

  1. Anti-allergic options

Dust and allergens can harm babies. As the immune system is developing, babies are prone to get sick easily. Use pillows and bed sheets which do not trap dust or allergens. This will help your baby sleep faster and longer. Bamboo pillows are anti-allergic. Choose hypoallergic stuff for your toddler.

  1. Music is the savior

Rhyming your favourite song is one choice. But there are various rhymes and songs available for baby sleep only. It will make the environment adequate for your baby’s sleep. Avoid loud noises. Spread calmness around your toddler. Healthy sleep will develop a healthy mind.

Now, you are aware of the reasons behind the smile of your baby and ways to make him smile even more during sleep! Every milestone of a kid during development seems like a victory for parents. The first cry, first word, first step, and never-ending smile of toddlers are the most precious moments in a parent’s life. Human beings are made up of emotions and our whole lives revolve around these gestures. Looking at your child’s smile when he is asleep is the moment that brings peace! Learn to communicate with your toddler’s reactions and be an amazing parent.