Do Newborns Dream? Best Baby Sleep Facts Revealed For Parents

Oluniyi Akande
Oct 19, 2023 By Oluniyi Akande
Originally Published on Oct 29, 2021
Baby sleeping on a white flokati rug.

Parents often wonder the reason behind their baby's smile or cries during sleep.

Is it because of their dreams or because the baby might be hungry? Communicating with a baby is difficult because, even though you speak while doing an action, the baby will only register the action.

Their actions during sleep also make people curious as to whether they are hungry or are restless for some other reason. A baby's body is very fragile so it spends the majority of its time actively sleeping.

Even when a baby is in the womb, a self-aware person tends to talk to a baby, try to get him or her to kick, and get a reaction.

The baby feels whatever the mother is feeling, so the baby does react to the stimuli from outside the womb, but they do not dream.

When the baby is born, the baby is exposed to the outside world, and the brain has to register the outside world, the faces, and the voices. This brings us to the main topic of this article, do babies dream?

After you have understood whether babies dream and how much time in REM sleep kids need, do begin reading about how to breathe underwater and how do we see color.

Can a two-week-old baby dream?

Brain development starts enhancing during this stage. Dreams are often the ongoing thoughts of the subconscious mind. In adults, dreams happen during the REM cycle.

REM (rapid eye movement) sleep causes the fluttering of eyes. This is the stage of deep sleep. Often dreams are related to reality. This raises another question: if babies dream, what do these kids dream about?

A baby isn't aware of the elements of the world or able to imagine things and dream about them. A baby won't have registered memories for the subconscious mind to turn into a dream. Research from psychologist David Foulkes suggests that babies' dream cycles starts at the age of two.

It does sort of make sense, right? As mentioned earlier, dreams are a part of reality, a fusion of memories that surfaces during sleep. Any answer to this leads to another question. If babies do not have memories or any sense of reality, can kids dream?

What can they dream about? A two-week-old brain certainly can't process the idea of reality or the elements of it. According to psychologist David Foulkes, rapid eye movement or whimpering is often mistaken as dreaming in infants.

Why do newborns smile in their sleep?

Body movements are involved during sleep. Often humans feel a jerk during their sleep. Kids also dream about falling. Babies smile during sleep. Why do they smile? Is it because they are peaceful? Or are they having a good dream?

Babies not only smile but they also twitch and whimper. Could this all be related to dreaming or is it just an involuntary action?

As far as we know, a two-week-old baby doesn't dream. However, if a baby is old enough, a smile could be a result of a happy dream or a happy memory.

Whimpers could be a reaction in their conscious sleep. To make it clear, the REM sleep cycle doesn't usually last for a long period. While sleeping, we switch between REM sleep and light sleep.

During light sleep, body movement is involved, and maybe during this time a baby whimpers. These involuntary actions are just the reflexes of the baby.

We still aren't sure if the babies dream, so the most reasonable answer could be that they smile or whimper or twitch just as a reflex. They may also whimper due to hunger or if their sleep is about to break.

The newborn baby curled up sleeping on a blanket.

How much do newborns usually sleep and dream?

Newborns sleep for 14-17 hours a day. They have a higher REM sleep cycle than an adult. Adults get proper sleep during the night, hence they enter the REM cycle when they sleep at night.

It might be different for infants since they sleep most of the time. There might be instances when, even while sleeping people are self-aware, they are aware of their surroundings. This is referred to as conscious sleep.

A person develops mentally, starting to imagine things. Imagination also aids in dreaming.

These imaginings can be either good or bad. If a baby reaches a stage where they can imagine, they can start dreaming. If the dreams are related to their imagination it can lead to happy dreams or nightmares.

Nightmares are born out of gory incidents of real-life or fears. So, it is very unlikely for a baby to have a nightmare.

A kid around 18 months of age could have nightmares or bad dreams, but not at the age of six months. Here, the situation is that we don't really know if a baby is dreaming yet. So, to say the baby is having a nightmare or dreaming wouldn't be correct.

As per research, dreams usually take place during REM sleep and, if babies are sleeping for 14-17 hours out of 24 hours, their REM cycle is more than an adult's. However, unlike adults, the REM cycle for infants helps in the development of the brain.

Do newborns have thoughts?

The most basic thought that can go on in a newborn's mind can be thoughts of processing surroundings and faces. As growth takes place, these questions also take a new turn.

A grown kid can process day-to-day activities and feelings, which eventually leads to thoughts. For a newborn who doesn't even know words or logic, sensations can trigger thoughts.

For example, when you make a funny face, the baby can react to it two ways. The baby can either find the face funny or scary and react accordingly to it.

The brain is still developing and the process continues till the child is six years old. The development of the brain and its mental capacity keeps increasing for a baby with every sensory action, like crying or laughing.

As the baby grows, at around six months it starts to register memories, so the baby now has memories to think about. Babies can recognize their mother or caregiver from birth or they might take up to two months to recognize and remember faces. Babies show their affection through some actions such as staring at you.

Here at Kidadl, we have carefully created lots of interesting family-friendly facts for everyone to enjoy! If you liked our suggestions for do newborns dream?

curious baby's dreaming facts worth to know! then why not take a look at bubble nest curious facts: what is all about betta fish bubble foam? or bats as pets: must know these facts before you befriend these mammals?

We Want Your Photos!
We Want Your Photos!

We Want Your Photos!

Do you have a photo you are happy to share that would improve this article?
Email your photos

More for You

See All

Written by Oluniyi Akande

Doctorate specializing in Veterinary Medicine

Oluniyi Akande picture

Oluniyi AkandeDoctorate specializing in Veterinary Medicine

With an accomplished background as a Veterinarian, SEO content writer, and public speaker, Oluniyi brings a wealth of skills and experience to his work. Holding a Doctor of Veterinary Medicine degree from the University of Ibadan, he provides exceptional consulting services to pet owners, animal farms, and agricultural establishments. Oluniyi's impressive writing career spans over five years, during which he has produced over 5000 high-quality short- and long-form pieces of content. His versatility shines through as he tackles a diverse array of topics, including pets, real estate, sports, games, technology, landscaping, healthcare, cosmetics, personal loans, debt management, construction, and agriculture.

Read full bio >