baby keeps rubbing eyes while sleeping

Why Does Your Baby Keep Rubbing Their Eyes While Sleeping? Find Out the Surprising Reasons and Solutions!

Why does my baby keep rubbing their eyes while sleeping?

It is quite common for babies to rub their eyes while sleeping. This behavior can be attributed to a few different reasons. First, it may simply be a sign that your baby is tired and ready to go to sleep. Rubbing the eyes can be a self-soothing mechanism for babies, similar to thumb-sucking or cuddling with a blanket. It helps them relax and prepare for sleep.

Another possible reason for eye rubbing during sleep is that your baby’s eyes may be dry or irritated. This can happen if the air in the room is too dry or if there are allergens present, such as dust or pet dander. Dryness or irritation can cause discomfort, prompting your baby to rub their eyes in an attempt to alleviate it.

In some cases, eye rubbing during sleep may also indicate an underlying medical condition. For example, if your baby has allergies or conjunctivitis (pink eye), they may experience itching and irritation in their eyes, leading them to rub them more frequently.


Possible reasons for eye rubbing during sleep:

  • Tiredness
  • Dryness or irritation
  • Allergies or conjunctivitis

Is it normal for babies to rub their eyes during sleep?

Yes, it is completely normal for babies to rub their eyes during sleep. As mentioned earlier, this behavior can be a self-soothing mechanism that helps them relax and fall asleep more easily. It is especially common in infants and young babies who have not yet developed other ways of self-soothing, such as sucking on their thumbs or using pacifiers.

However, if you notice that your baby is rubbing their eyes excessively or forcefully, it may be worth investigating further. Excessive eye rubbing could be a sign of discomfort or irritation in the eyes, and it’s always a good idea to consult with a pediatrician if you have any concerns.

Normalcy of eye rubbing during sleep:

  • Common behavior in babies
  • Self-soothing mechanism
  • More common in infants and young babies

What are the possible reasons behind a baby constantly rubbing their eyes while sleeping?


One possible reason for a baby constantly rubbing their eyes while sleeping is allergies. Allergens such as dust mites, pet dander, or pollen can cause irritation and itchiness in the eyes, leading to rubbing. If your baby also has other allergy symptoms like sneezing or a runny nose, it is worth considering allergies as the cause.


Another reason could be tiredness. Babies may rub their eyes when they are sleepy or fatigued as a way to self-soothe. This behavior is similar to how adults may rub their eyes when feeling tired. If your baby is not getting enough sleep or has an irregular sleep schedule, it could contribute to excessive eye rubbing during sleep.

How can I determine if my baby’s eye rubbing during sleep is a cause for concern?

If your baby’s eye rubbing during sleep seems occasional and doesn’t persist throughout the day, it is likely not a cause for concern. However, if you notice other symptoms accompanying the eye rubbing such as redness, swelling, discharge, or excessive tearing, it may indicate an underlying issue that requires medical attention. Additionally, if your baby’s eye rubbing disrupts their sleep patterns or causes them distress, consulting a pediatrician would be advisable.

Are there any potential medical conditions that could lead to a baby rubbing their eyes while asleep?

Yes, there are several potential medical conditions that could lead to a baby rubbing their eyes while asleep:

  • Conjunctivitis (pink eye): This common condition causes inflammation of the conjunctiva and can result in eye rubbing due to itchiness and discomfort.
  • Blocked tear ducts: If your baby’s tear ducts are blocked, it can cause excessive tearing and eye irritation, leading to rubbing.
  • Dry eyes: Babies can experience dry eyes, especially in environments with low humidity. Dryness can cause itching and rubbing.

What are some effective strategies to prevent or reduce eye rubbing in babies during sleep?

To prevent or reduce eye rubbing in babies during sleep, you can try the following strategies:

  1. Maintain a consistent sleep routine: Establishing a regular sleep schedule helps ensure that your baby gets enough rest, reducing tiredness and the need for eye rubbing.
  2. Keep the sleeping environment clean: Regularly dusting and vacuuming the room can minimize allergens that may irritate your baby’s eyes.
  3. Use a humidifier: Adding moisture to the air with a humidifier can help alleviate dryness and reduce eye irritation.

Could eye rubbing during sleep be a sign of discomfort or irritation in babies?

Yes, eye rubbing during sleep could be a sign of discomfort or irritation in babies. Itching or pain in the eyes can lead to this behavior as they try to relieve the discomfort. If your baby seems otherwise healthy but continues to rub their eyes excessively while sleeping, it is worth investigating potential causes such as allergies or dryness.

Are there any home remedies or natural remedies that can help alleviate eye rubbing in babies during sleep?

If your baby’s eye rubbing is caused by mild irritation or dryness, there are some home remedies that may help alleviate the discomfort:

  • Warm compress: Applying a warm, damp cloth to your baby’s closed eyes for a few minutes can provide soothing relief.
  • Gentle eye massage: Using clean fingers, gently massage the area around your baby’s closed eyes in circular motions to stimulate tear production and relieve dryness.
  • Natural tears eye drops: Consult with your pediatrician about using preservative-free natural tears eye drops specifically formulated for infants.

Should I consult a pediatrician if my baby continues to rub their eyes excessively while sleeping?

If your baby continues to rub their eyes excessively while sleeping or displays other concerning symptoms like redness, swelling, or discharge, it is advisable to consult a pediatrician. They can evaluate your baby’s overall health and conduct an examination of the eyes to determine the underlying cause of the excessive eye rubbing and provide appropriate treatment if necessary.

Can excessive eye rubbing during sleep have any long-term effects on my baby’s vision?

In most cases, occasional or temporary excessive eye rubbing during sleep is unlikely to have long-term effects on your baby’s vision. However, if there is an underlying condition causing the eye rubbing, such as chronic allergies or an infection left untreated, it could potentially impact their vision. It is important to address any persistent or concerning symptoms with a healthcare professional to ensure proper diagnosis and management of any potential issues.

In conclusion, if a baby keeps rubbing their eyes while sleeping, it could be a sign of tiredness or an eye-related issue that requires further attention.

Why does my baby rub her face so much in her sleep?

When babies start to feel tired, they often rub their eyes or ears, just like adults do. According to Sinai, this is their way of expressing fatigue and they might rub their face against you for comfort.

Why does my baby wake up yawning and rubbing eyes?

Frequently, we rely on certain behaviors to determine if a baby is tired, such as rubbing their eyes or yawning. In the newborn stage from 0-3 months, yawning and eye rubbing indicate that they are becoming too tired. It is important for us to understand that at this age, we play a significant role in ensuring they get enough sleep.

Do babies rub their face when teething?

This is a result of gum pain, which can extend to the cheek and ear, especially when the back teeth are coming in. Babies will often rub those areas.

What is silent reflux in babies symptoms?

Signs of silent reflux in infants may not include spitting up after eating, making it harder to detect. Babies with silent reflux may also struggle with feeding, which can impede weight gain and potentially lead to weight loss. Severe cases can even lead to undernutrition.

Why is my baby constantly rubbing his face and head?

Infants enjoy having routines and being around familiar objects, including their own body parts. Rubbing their ear or head may be a way for them to comfort themselves and feel at ease, particularly when they are tired or overwhelmed. If you suspect this is the case, you can try giving them a pacifier or toy to help them relax.

How do I know if my baby is having sleep regression?

What are the signs that my baby is experiencing a sleep regression? If your baby is waking up more frequently at night, having difficulty falling asleep at bedtime, becoming more fussy, and suddenly resisting naps, these can all indicate that your baby is going through a sleep regression.

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