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Why Do Babies Smile In Their Sleep? [Pediatricians & Experts Opinions]

Why Do Babies Smile In Their Sleep?

You, I, and almost everybody have noticed that an infant can laugh during the sleep. This is a great pleasure for the parent seeing their little angel is laughing every now and then while asleep in the bassinet. There could be a lot of reasons behind it. Lots of studies have been done on it. Several pediatricians and childcare experts have expressed various opinions.

In this short article, I will try to explain why do babies smile in their sleep. I have done my research, read several research papers, and expert opinions. I have summarized the possible reasons why baby laughs during the sleeping. Here are some of them:

  1. Your Baby Is Constantly Laughing: During the first few months of your baby, she experiences various sounds and words. Her little brain constantly receiving new stuff each moment. During her sleep, the brain process these new words, sounds, scenes etc. Pediatricians believe that during the sleep the small brains grow through laughing and crying. This is the stage where she develops her emotion.
  2. Or Maybe He Is Passing Gas: Some child experts believe that a baby can consciously laugh only at the age of two. If your baby is laughing during the sleep earlier than that, it means your baby is passing gas. Yes, this is highly controversial believe because no research has been done on it. But when a baby farts he feels more relief that may lead to laughing.
  3. Laughing During The REM Sleep Stage: The sleep cycle of a baby is too short. They often get asleep and awake several time during the night and day. Most popular belief behind the baby laugh during the sleep is that they are dreaming while laughing. I have explained this matter at the last section of this article.
  4. Medical Issue: Laughing and giggling every now and then is healthier for the baby. Only healthy and happy baby do that. But constant laughing of the baby during sleep or awake indicates some medical issue as well. Pediatricians believe that constant laughing of the baby round the clock does not indicate something good. You should immediately see your doctors and he may suggest you the needful to be done.

A child care expert did a research on this topic while studying at the Stanford has shared an interesting opinion about it. As per her research, she mentioned that babies laugh during their sleep in the crib due to the involuntary movement of their facial muscle.

Some experienced parents call it the reflexive laugh. Most parents believe that babies smile during the sleep while they fill their diapers. No matter whether it is day or night. Their logic behind it that filling the diapers or passing gas produces a reflexive smile.

The Contradictory Arguments By Experts

David Foulkes, a psychologist and expert on child dreaming expressed his opinion saying that baby can’t laugh simply because their brain is not mature enough to do the processing. He believes babies have very limited experiences and simply they can’t laugh no matter what we think or see.

But Dr. Charles Pollak of the NY based Sleep Center For Medicine believes that since babies can experience the REM (Rapid Eye Movement) sleep, they can dream as well. So, as you can see, there are different opinions by various experts. There is no proven findings why do babies smile in their sleep.

Sleep Cycles & Smile Development

Since there are lots of controversial opinions about baby smiling while they are in sleep, we should learn more about sleep cycles and smile development to get a better insight of baby smiling. We pass the night through shallow and deep sleeping cycle in a back and forth manner.

Just like the adults, babies also go through several sleep cycles. There are several stages of sleep but only at the REM stage, most dreams happen to the adults. Just like the adults, the sleep of baby also has REM stage. So, it is argued that babies can dream as well.

During the dreaming, your baby may laugh and cry just like the adults do. During the REM sleep, the increased rate of breathing and heart rate lead to involuntary body movements of the baby.

Summing Up

As you can see, there are several arguments, logic, and anti-logic behind the laughing of the baby during the sleep. Yep, there may be no unanimous answer to this, but the smile of the baby is real. As a parent, this is the most heavenly scene you can enjoy. If there is no medical reason behind the constant laughing as mentioned above, enjoy the laugh of your baby during his/her sleep.