why do babies rub their eyes when tired


Why Do Babies Rub Their Eyes When Tired?

When babies are tired, they often rub their eyes in an attempt to soothe themselves. As adorable as this behavior may be, it is often an indicator of distress and fatigue. So why do babies rub their eyes when tired?

1. Comfort and Stimulation

One of the primary reasons why babies rub their eyes is to seek out comfort and relief from fatigue. This behavior is healthy and normal as babies look to self soothe in comforting ways. Rubbing their eyes gives babies a sense of satisfaction and eases their distress.

Furthermore, the sensation of rubbing the eyes can often provide them with a pleasant type of stimulation. This stimulation can effectively stimulate their sleepy eyes so as to ward off any feelings of fatigue.

2. Lack of Understanding

In some cases, babies may rub their eyes due to a lack of understanding about their own emotions and needs. When a baby is feeling overly tired, they may not necessarily notice the difference between feeling tired and needing to rest. Instead, they may rub their eyes as a form of distraction or confusion.

3. Feelings of Restlessness

When babies are stuck in one place for an extended period of time, they can start to feel restless and uncomfortable. As such, they will often rub their eyes to help them feel relaxed and more comfortable. This is often accompanied by yawning which is another sign of fatigue and boredom.

Benefits of Eye Rubbing

Although rubbing the eyes too much can damage the eyes, there are some benefits from this behavior. Here are a few of the benefits associated with eye rubbing:

  • Tension release: Rubbing the eyes can help release tension in the muscles around the eyes and forehead.
  • Promoting relaxation: Rubbing the eyes can help babies feel more relaxed and comfortable.
  • Preventing infection: Rubbing the eyes can clear dirt and debris that can cause eye irritation and infection.


Babies tend to rub their eyes when tired for a variety of reasons. This behavior can be comforting, provide stimulation and ward off feelings of restlessness. Although rubbing the eyes too much can cause long term damage, there are some benefits associated with this behavior.