Night Terrors

nightt

Over the past two years Isabelle has suffered from night terrors. Night terrors usually occur within the first  2-3 hours of sleep when children are coming out of their deepest sleeping phase. Night terrors can last for as little as 2-3 minutes to about 20 minutes. They are common in children around 3-7 years old but can start from as young as 18 months. 

What are night terrors?

 During a night terror children may sit up, walk around, cry, shout, sweat, thrash around or scream. Witnessing Isabelle having a night terror was very upsetting and very scary, she was not herself at all and she seemed so scared and angry. It was heartbreaking we just wanted to comfort Isabelle but this just made her more agitated. During a night terror there is not much you can do to calm them down.

Over time we have learnt it’s not advisable to wake children as they are totally unaware of your presence. They may  have their eyes wide open, but they are not awake. It is hard seeing them distressed and as hard as it is, it is best not to comfort them as they are likely to resist as they don’t know it’s you and potentially become more frightened.

What causes night terrors?

The cause of night terrors is thought to be by the increased brain activity, which could be triggered by stress, over tiredness illness, or by sleeping in a new environment away from home.

Coping with night terrors?

It is very upsetting for parents as you feel helpless watching on but there really isn’t much you can do. You could try and sit quietly in the room, dim the lights (if possible) or talk calmly until the night terror has finished it’s course. If you are worried about them sleep walking I would advise putting a stair gate up by the door or on top of the stairs to ensure the area is safe to prevent any accidents. Children will eventually return back to sleep and it is important to remember that children will not remember any of the night terror in the morning, so it is best not to mention the night terrors to them, as it may cause further unnecessary stress.

How to prevent them?

Children who go to bed overtired or agitated are more likely to suffer from sleep disturbances. Try a calm and relaxing bed time routine, reading stories, a warm bath and lots of cuddles. Reduce the child’s stress and make sure they are getting plenty of rest. Night terrors tend to happen within the first 3 hours of their sleep. If a child suffers from night terrors at frequent intervals and possibly at a particular time, you could try and break the night terror pattern by gently waking children 15 minutes before a night terror usually occurs. 

If you have any experience in dealing with night terrors and wish to share any tips or advice please leave a comment below.

Super Busy Mum
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Comments

  1. You are spot on, our little boy is 2 and half and seems to have night terrors. He just sits there crying and crying and doesn’t react in anyway to us trying to comfort him. If you do try and wake your kids while having night terrors it often makes it worse and seems to prolong the episode. We tried before realising and researching what was happening,

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  2. Poor little love that must be so distressing to see. At least she can’t remember it in the morning x
    #MMWBH

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  3. My son who is 4 have this. He got this from his Dad who is still doing this. They would both wake up in the middle or any time of the night and would just shout or talk or walk. Scary really. Sometimes my husband would even scream loud.

    But you are right when you said that you have to make them relax before sleeping. My husband does this because he is too tired (2 jobs) and my son will do this when he did a lot in the day. We co-sleep. I feel safer that way.

    I wish I can give you something but I really cant as I am still dealing with this. I dont think they would go away for my son too as my husband still got it till now.

    But thanks for blogging about it. At least I know I am not alone.

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  4. Hello! I have a 10.5 month old that wakes screaming and is inconsolable….do you think it could be night terrors? thank you for sharing, I’m glad you have given some pointers as it is really worrying! I hope things improve soon xx

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  5. So sorry your little one has night terrors. I think my niece suffered a while with these when they moved house. You give some great advice and I can’t imagine how hard it is to be helpless and watch your precious one distort. Bless you. Poor baba I hope it’s just a phase that can pass and she doesn’t have it forever. Saying that this will sound weird but I never have had night terrors growing up but as an adult I have a nightmare almost every night. I know that’s weird but true. I often wonder what causes it? The brain really is so unknown still. Thank you for linking up to Share With Me, it’s great to spread the word what you are going threw as other parents might be struggling with it too and need some guidance, help or reassurance that they aren’t the only ones. I love the honesty of blogs for that. Helps us all feel we aren’t alone. #sharewithme

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  6. My husband used to suffer with these as a child, something my daughter has every now and again… they can be so distressing

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  7. Reading this, I am pretty certain H has had night terrors before which makes me feel a little bad for not realising. But this is really helpful to read so thank you for sharing xx #sharewithme

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  8. That must be so scary and worrying to see. Great post highlighting this problem x

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  9. Good to know that you aren’t meant to try to wake them up. Although my little boy is very young to be having night terrors (16 months), he does fit all the symptoms and the last time it happened switching on the night light turned out to be a very bad idea! To make myself feel better I’ll probably try the “sit in the room quietly” option next time, so he doesn’t hurt himself.

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  10. My daughter had a couple of months where we dealt with something similar. She does tend to get overtired easily and we now have her take a nap once a week at the weekend even though she is six. Hope Isabelle grows out of the night terrors soon! x

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  11. My eldest had them from 18 months until she turned 4, they weren’t nice but she didn’t remember them in the morning, sometimes she would wake and vomit, I guess it was from the stress or crying, we learnt to get her out of bed and cuddle and rub her arms to bring her out of it gently!

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  12. Gosh, two years of night terrors? Your poor bubba! We had night terrors a few months back {touching wood they stay away!} but we only had them here for a few weeks with little Belle, who was only 14mths or so at the time. We started reading to her before bed and I made her a nighttime guardian, Raggaty Cat to fight off the bad dreams as she slept. Raggaty and reading before bed has been a life saver and worked an absolute storm for us, thankfully! xx

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