The first key point I must cover is that night terrors are differently different from nightmares. It is important to establish which your child is suffering from as the management or treatment can be different depending on whether it is a nightmare or a not that they are experiencing. Hug them if they will let you and talk soothing without causing any further stress while they fall back sleep is the most effective way to calm a child suffering from a sleep disorder. Waking them up fully, screaming and panicking along with them is NOT the solution and will only make things worse. Although it will seem like your child is awake, during a night terror children will appear confused, will be inconsolable and will probably not recognize you. This can be very disturbing for the parent or other person witnessing the episode.
Nightmare OR Night Terror
• Night terrors during deep sleep in the first third of the night within a few hours of falling asleep whereas nightmares more often occurs in the morning.
• Nightmares are more often remembered whereas night terror sufferers often have no recollection that anything happened at all. (Although some adults report seeing, spiders, tigers or shadowy figures).
• Sufferers wake up from nightmares, but remain sleep through a night terror even if they open their eyes! (Observers report sufferers sitting upright in bed, eyes wide open and screaming – scary stuff to watch)
• Night terrors can cause the sufferer to experience an accelerated heart rate, sweating and confusion.
• Night terror sufferers may sleep walk or thrash around so try to keep them safe.
Remember that you are not alone in having a child who suffers from a sleep disorder as there are estimates that as many as 15% of children suffer from them at some point and many believe that this figure is under reported as many parents may dismiss the clients as nightmares. Occurrence is more common in boys than girls. Search the web for information and you will find posts, blogs and websites dedicated to sleep disorders and problems in children. Discussion issues is a proven way to reduce stress and discover coping mechanisms or solutions. Remember that terrors are most common in children aged between 2 and 6 years old, although they can occur at any age and have been observed in kids who are; overtired or ill, stressed, or fatigued; taking a new medication or sleeping in a new environment or away from home. So chance are that your child will grow out of these episodes, in fact they may only ever have one or they may suffer frequent attacks.
There causes unknown but there are many theories ranging from eating a large meal before bedtime, psychic energy, developing brain, periods of emotional conflict, tension or stress to certain medicines. These do not cause the terror simply allow your mind to be in a state in which a night terror is more likely to occur.
There is no known or proven treatment or cure (as from some anecdotal evidence about EMF and energy balancing products), but you can help prevent them:
* reduce your child's stress
* establishing and sticking to a consistent bedtime routine that is simple and relaxing will help
* make sure your child gets enough rest, let them nap during the day if necessary or go to bed early if they are expecially tired
* prevent your child from becoming overtired by staying up too late
A night terror, also known as a sleep terror or pavor nocturnes , is a parasomnia disorder characterized by extreme terrorism and a temporary inability to regain full consciousness.
Understanding night terrors can reduce your worry – and help you get a good night's sleep yourself. But if night terrors continue for prolonged periods and recurably it would be wise talking to your doctor about whether a referral to a sleep specialist is needed.