There is nothing more exciting than seeing a baby’s smile for a parent. Many parents can observe babies smiling while sleeping, but why do babies smile when they sleep? The smiling face of a sleeping baby is adorable and makes you curious. Babies may smile while sleeping for a variety of reasons, including reflexively or in response to certain stimuli during active sleep. Newborns go through many different stages of sleep, and you may find them smiling during one of these stages. Read on to know the different reasons behind the smiles of babies in their sleep.
Why do babies laugh when they sleep?
Unlike “smiling response”, which occurs later in infancy, there is a form of laughter known as “endogenous smile” that occurs in infants and is not the result of external stimuli. . Newborns laugh, and sometimes even laugh during sleep, for specific brain functions, as a manifestation of endogenous physiological rhythms identified during state rapid eye movement (REM) sleep , the stage in which we dream. A baby’s smile is the answer to a dream. It is nearly impossible to tell the content of a dream because babies cannot express their thoughts. But the smile is most likely a reaction to an incident in a dream.
Newborns use smiles as a communication tool. So, a baby can smile if they dream of a parent or guardian, a favorite toy or pet, and smile in response to the good feelings the sight produces.
Newborns may also smile when they are sleeping or waking up, which may be a response to happy or good feelings they are experiencing at the time.
How does sleep make children laugh?
To understand why babies laugh while sleeping, you need to understand sleep and its stages. The two basic stages of sleep are non-rapid eye movement (NREM) and rapid eye movement (REM).
Newborns begin sleep with the NREM stage, which has four stages:
NREM 1: Baby begins to feel sleepy, eyes droop, can open and ᴄʟᴏsᴇ.
NREM 2: This is when the baby is slightly asleep and will wake up if there are sounds and other disturBᴀɴces around.
NREM 3: This is the deep sleep stage where the baby is quiet and motionless.
NREM 4: This is the deepest NREM sleep and babies continue to lie still unless a loud noise wakes them up.
The baby enters stage 1 of the sleep cycle, and moves on to the next stages 2, 3, 4, before going back to stages 3, 2, and REM. REM occurs between the above stages of NREM sleep in the following way:
So sleep occurs in cycles with REM occurring in bursts between stages of NREM sleep.
REM, dreams and smiles
REM (rapid eye movement sleep). This is a light sleep when the dream occurs and the eyes move back and forth rapidly. Sleep experts believe eye movements are in part related to dreams that are processed by the brain.
The REM phase causes an increase in brain activity, sometimes to the point of waking the person up. The electrical patterns of the brain during REM sleep are similar to the patterns of activity when we are awake. This suggests that dreams during REM sleep occur because the brain seems to simulate reality.
Why babies laugh while sleeping is a common and natural question among parents and caregivers. The baby may smile or even laugh during sleep due to stimulation of the brain. Sometimes, a smile can be the response of a happy dream. However, it is not possible to tell what they are dreaming about because they cannot communicate. Sometimes, younger children may have a reflex smile, which is not related to any reaction or emotion. Most sleep smiling occurs during REM sleep, and since babies tend to sleep more than 16 hours a day, most of it is REM sleep.