Have you ever wondered why babies rub their eyes when they're tired? You know, the whole "eyes shut and rubbing" thing that makes them look like little fuzzy koalas? Well, wonder no more my friends! In this article we'll dive deep into the science behind why babies do what they do.
The Science of Eyelid Skin
Firstly, let's talk about eyelid skin. Fun fact: did you know that eyelid skin is the thinnest skin on your body?! It's true! This thinness allows for all those expressions we love to make with our brows and eyelids. Unfortunately, it also means it gets irritated pretty easily.
So what does any of this have to do with sleepy babies rubbing their eyes,you ask? Great question. Essentially when a baby is sleepy, their eyes start producing less tears which can cause irritation on that super sensitive eyelid skin. Hence the reason a lot of times they will respond by giving those cute little buttons a good rub down!
Sleepy Signs #1: Yawning & Stretching
Now in addition to some intense eye-rubbing action there are some other very apparent signs indicating baby needs more zzzs:
- excessive yawning
- stretching considerably (think waking up from hibernation levels)
If you catch-on fast enough with these signs (before heavy crankiness sets in), then preventative napping can be quite helpful.
The Eye-Rubbing Phenomenon
Sometimes parents wonder if their child might just be rubbing her/his eyeballs and not actually trying to communicate anything regarding sleep deprivation… We get it.
However majority of times your youngster may soothe him or herself via striking certain pressure points located at his/her temples while warmly cupping his/her hands over those eyes.
This movement relaxes rapid eye movements and the optic nerve altogether...
Sleepy Signs #2: Fussy-ness
Okay, so we know eye-rubbing = sleepytime usually...But what about those who have trouble taking a hint? Or how about babies without that typical "sleepy" look?
Another classic indication your tiny TERROR might be feeling pretty tired out is becoming generally fussy/overly agitated. Sometimes it's very evident this sweet baby monkey simply needs some rest but other times it takes a certain level of decoding to read these signs correctly!
The Power of ZZZZs
Bottom line folks, if you're noticing sleepy signs (like any or all mentioned in this article) from your l'il warrior then don't hesitate to let them snooze!
Sleep deprivation even as a newborn can show its nasty claws in negative impacting ways such as suddenly melting down into tantrums at full force. Busy parents, do yourselves a favor and listen for early warning signals prior to the meltdowns reaching full eruption stage.
Signs like yawning+hands covering eyes+dramatic stretching+ general fussing=positive proof new nap time is overdue!
Now go forth with additional understanding under your belt regarding the great mysterium surrounding why infants rub their precious weary peepers.