Why do Babies Sleep with Their Arms Up? Here are 5 Amazing Reasons

Seeing our babies doing things the first time seems cute even if we see it in other people also. For instance, the first time they try to stand up can bring a lot of joy in our hearts despite knowing that they need to stand up.

There is one thing that caught my attention the one time my baby girl sleeps. She raises her arms like she is cheering in her dreams! I was so touched by her cuteness that I screeched, and she stirred a bit.

It was the first time that I saw her doing that, so all I did was praise. But then, she often put her arms upward every time she goes to sleep. Why do babies sleep with their arms up? It is a big question in my family, and we do not want to end up ignoring something that might need our attention.


Is it Normal?


Fortunately, yes! Babies sleeping with their arms up are common occurrences, and it even has a term for it – the Starfish position. You can find that it is one of the most common sleeping positions that babies do in their sleep.

The different sleeping positions can say a lot about a person. For instance, those who are doing the starfish are likely to become helpful and friendly people. They open their arms wide to embrace others and make more friends. They even love to help others with their problems.

When it comes to babies, you cannot find all of those personalities at their early age. However, babies who sleep in this way tend to wake up more often and more consistently. If sleep is intervened, it will be difficult for them to go back to sleep.

Different Baby Sleeping Positions

Apart from the starfish position, there are also other sleeping formations done by infants.

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  • Log Position – You will find that your child is sleeping on one side with both arms on his sides. If he is co-sleeping with you, he will lie horizontally across the middle of your bed. He will not move in this position.
  • Soldier – Your baby will lie on his back. He will put his arms on his side. Experts say that babies who sleep most often in this position have a more reserved personality.
  • Contortionist –In this position, your baby will do different kinds of shapes, often, weird formations. He is likely to toss and turn all night.
  • Yearner Position – He yearns for you even in his sleep. Babies in this post feel more relaxed and warm. They will sleep on one side with their arms moving forward in front. If co-sleeping, he will likely to wrap his arms around you.
  • Free Fall – It will feel like he owns the entire bed. Babies who stay in this position will look like they have their arms secured to their surroundings. They lie on the front, and their arms are around the pillow with their face on one side. According to experts, babies are more adventurous when in sleeping in this way.

So, Why Do They Raise Their Arms Up?

  • It is a gradual manifestation of their personality. You can get a hint of your baby's personality someday by how he sleeps.
  • He feels warm. Infants sleeping in a warm environment will likely to spread their arms to a more comfortable level. They will raise their arms up to help circulate the air on their sides. When they feel cold, they put their hands down.
  • ​It is the most comfortable position for him. Your baby loves the stretch when he goes to sleep. It will relax him and will make him sleep faster.
  • ​It is a sign that he is in a deep sleep. When in this position, a few sounds will not quickly wake him up.
  • ​He has a normal startle reflex. Your baby will open his arms wide and sometimes raise them up when he experienced this kind of reflex. After several seconds, the startle reflex will pass off, and it can wake your baby, or he wakes up crying after his sleep.
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Helping Your Baby Sleep Well


Sleep is an important activity for a growing baby. During this phase, their bodies will rejuvenate, and growth happens. Babies need to sleep between 10 to 12 hours each night.

A good sleeping environment will help him get the full slumber he deserves. Here are a few tips on how you can make sleeping more comfortable for your baby.

  • Infants must wear light and cool clothes to sleep. If the environment is warm, over bundling will only make them feel hot and uncomfortable.
  • Keep unnecessary beddings away. Stick to plain linens that will not put any risk on your baby such as covering his body or strangling his neck. It will also risk covering his head, which can suffocate him while sleeping.
  • ​Maintain a proper room temperature. Make sure it is not too warm or too cold for his body. Ideally, you can set the thermostat to 20 degrees centigrade. Before sleeping, try to touch his skin to know if he is warm or cold.
  • ​Create a peaceful surrounding. Turn on some soothing music especially those lullabies that will rock him to sleep. Keep the volume at a low level to make it more efficient.
  • ​Get him ready for bedtime. A bedtime routine will allow his body to detect the need to settle down and snooze. Start with a warm bath and some lotion on his body. Then, a rock to sleep ending with a kiss goodnight.
  • Remove any distractions. Your baby will become attentive to any distracting things in his surroundings. He may love to see more of the colorful toys on the floor or the pictures on an open book.
  • Follow a strict snoozing schedule. Set a regular time when your baby will need to take a nap or sleep for long hours. His body clock will be conditioned to this routine, making it a lot easier for him to go to sleep.
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Make the Most of It!

It is perfectly normal to witness quirky instances from our babies. They will often surprise us with so many things that it is all worthy to keep up and even record. Babies will have their first moments before they turn one so best to keep an eye on them always.

I see to it that I give more attention to the unexpected things my baby does. When I first saw her raising her arms during sleep, I took a sneaky photo so that I will always remember how she looks like. It is something I would cherish always.

What kind of sleeping position do you see in your baby? Tell us your story!

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Donna - February 1, 2018

My niece has a new baby and he sleeps with his arms straight up by his head. Is that normal?

    Mary Ross - February 1, 2018

    Hi Donna, Thanks for your question. Yes That’s normal. Don’t worry about that.

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