night terrors

Sascha - posted on 06/24/2010 ( 21 moms have responded )

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A little over a month ago, I was told my daughter was suffering from night terrors. This was heart breaking. It is like nightmares but worse. the child is asleep but apears to be awake. We have finally got it under control(for the most part). I was wondering if any one out there has been though this. What do you do? How did you get though it? I will never forget the sounds of her screams.

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Rebecca - posted on 04/03/2011

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My son had them, and my mother in law told me to turn a radio on softly in his room. It worked wonderfully. He refuses to sleep all night even though he is over two, but at least he doesn't scream anymore. I understand what you mean, it is a horrible sound.

Alice - posted on 07/08/2010

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I suffer from Night terrors as does my toddler.
There are alot of triggers such as being over tried, too hot, over stimulated before bed, the list goes on.
I have found that if we sit in the dark and I sing to her that she calms down quite quickly. I think its important that you be calm too.
Good luck.

[deleted account]

I haven't had this with any of my kids, but I had them growing up. I was one who never outgrew them. I haven't had an episode in a year or so and I'm hoping that they are gone. I'll tell you as terrifying as it is for the parent to go through it, it's just as scary for the child. You feel like it's real and you can't get away. It was the same dream over and over when I was younger. Awake it sounds so stupid, but in my dream I've never been so scared in my life, trying to save my family from a monster, the floor would drop out with every step I took and I couldn't get to them. I would be running and screaming and looking over my shoulder and falling and I couldn't save them.



My mom always would come running with the first scream and just rub my shoulder and back until I would come to. Then she would continue it until I was calmed down enough to go back to sleep.



My husband said it's really scary when I would have them as an adult. If he tried to wake me up, I would wake up flailing at everything. He said when I was dreaming, my breathing sounded like I was having a heart attack. Coming out of it, I felt like I was having one. People learned never just to come up and shake me when I was having an episode. I would wake up thinking whatever was there had me and start swinging to get away. ETA - He rubs my back to bring me out of it now too. I pretty much leap into his arms crying when I realize it's him because it feels like it's still real, and I'll be so scared still. He'll just hold me and let me cry until I've calmed down enough to go to sleep.



I don't have that same dream any more. Now I dream about snakes, spiders, or a man in black standing over my bed, he does nothing, but I can feel evil around him. They don't happen with any frequency anymore, and there's no trigger that I've found that causes one to come on. I have found as an adult, I must not sleep heavy when my kids crawl in bed with me because I've never had one bad dream when they've slept with us. In fact, I never remember my dreams, unless it's one of the bad ones. Maybe they offer some sort of security to me subconsciously.



I don't know what doctor's recommend now with it because like I said, my kids haven't gone through this, just me. I know that the comfort from my mom, gently rubbing my back and whispering to me that I was ok, she was there, it would bring me out of it gently vs someone shaking me and bringing me out of it abruptly. It's a wonder my heart has never stopped with how fast my heart is beating and how hard it is to get a breath of air when I'm jerked from it, more or less.



My mom spent a lot of sleepless nights by my side up until I moved out when I was 18. Between the night terror and the sinus headaches when I was a preteen, she spent many nights either rubbing my back bringing me out of a night terror or massaging miloflex into my head to ease the pain of a headache that had me in tears and screaming for her to help me.



I don't know if that helps anyone, just thought I'd give it from an adults perspective who can remember what it's like to have them because I still have them.

Stephanie - posted on 06/27/2010

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My husband has them and my son has had them. Try to keep the TV off completely at least an hour before bedtime. Sometimes that extra stimulation can make them occur. Read happy stories for bedtime (I had to stop reading ricki-ticki-tavi). When my husband would wake up I'd tell him It's me, babe, it's Stephanie, and he would wake up confused. When my son used to have them he couldn't really talk much (at least not much I could understand). He would be in his room screaming at his night-night man and I'd open the door and he would be even more upset because I'd startle him. I'd say in a soothing voice, "It's okay baby, it's Mama. What happened?" He'd rattle off however he could. I'd give him hugs and say it's okay it was just a dream, I won't let anything hurt you. Just go back to sleep." Once he calmed down I would lay him back down to sleep. (we didn't leave his bed)

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Melita - posted on 08/20/2010

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I think my 18mth old suffers from these too...I find when she wakes suddenly through the night, she cuddles into me and sobs...she does settle after a while, but it's heartbreaking to see. My advise is give loads of cuddles to help settle.

Donna - posted on 07/14/2010

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My son has these on occassion and when we talked to the dr about it she told us it can also be triggered by them being overly tired. I started noticing the nights he would have them coincided with nights that for whatever reason, he got in bed a little later than normal! They are heartbreaking but you are not alone!!

Kim - posted on 07/14/2010

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Last night we experienced what im now guessing is night terrors. It was our second. The first one was 3 nights ago, and again last night. Im glad I found this, I had no idea what was going on. Last night he woke up the whole house screaming. and the episode lasted 3 hours total until he would let me lay him back down. The first was maybe 15 minutes. My husband tried taking Aiden last night, and that made it even worse. He mentioned last night that it was like he was still sleeping but not... and now i get on here to see that it really is that hes still asleep. I havent noticed anything different that would trigger them. Maybe I will try some of these tips to see if they help.

Krista - posted on 07/11/2010

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Our oldest had this for several months after turning about 18 months. Our Ped Doc told us that the most likely cause was that our bright, very vocal and observerant toddler was trying to process the emotional side of all the information that she had acquired during the day. And while she was processing information at about a 2 1/2 year level, her emotional processing was only at 18 months so it was difficult to work through everything. After her language explosion settled down and she could ask questions and express her concerns, the night terrors stopped and we finally could sleep through the night (mostly) after she turned about 22 months. I think the most important think is to remember that their just a little kid who need mommy, no matter what time of day or night. I know I'm gonna miss that when their teenagers and they don't want mommy around.

Janet - posted on 07/06/2010

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My daughter suffered from night terrors from 7 months old til 4 yrs old(she is almost 6 now). If she was overstimulated or overtired they usually appeared. Could last up to 2 hrs before she was fully awake. She would seem awake, but her fixed eye gaze and non communication mean't she wasn't. It was exhausting. If she had an afternoon nap then she oftne woke up to a night terror. Afternoon naps stopped and an earlier bedtime helped. Any overnight guests or evening guests mean't night terrors. Overseas night flights mean't night terrors. Her last real night terror was at 3 1/2 yrs old on an overseas night flight. Air attendant thought I should be able to control my child.... Problem is they look awake, but aren't... Usaully disappear by 4 yrs old when most children's neurological system's are mature. Not all do disappear as other's mentioned.

Lots of info on internet medical sites about night terrors and how to deal with them etc... Just look up proper reputable medical sites(Mayo clinic/emedicine etc...) My younger daughter who is 16 months has a very mild version of night terrors and has only had them when sick(which is infrequent).
It's tough work to deal with night terrors...good luck and hang in there!

Jennifer - posted on 07/06/2010

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I wonder one of my twins has been waking up in the middle of the night screaming and sweating and crying Momma! She is my clingy one and I was wondering if it was anxiety but maybe it is night terrors?

Christine - posted on 07/06/2010

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Hi there. My 17 month old suffered from night terrors after antibiotics. I gave him two drops of rock rose before bed for a couple of nights and it did the trick.This is a homeopathic remedy and can be bought over the counter in Holland & Barrett. The night terrors were awful. I thought he was having tantrums, but my nephew used to suffer from them too. Apparently it can be hereditary. Good luck!

Karen - posted on 07/05/2010

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I haven't had this problem with either of my kids but I would suggest maybe trying some reiki for her if you believe in alternate therapies. Its a very relaxing method of energy healing and may help to calm her mind. You could even learn it yourself so that you can treat her yourself at night as part of her bedtime routine. A piece of amethyst under her pillow may also help (tie it in a silk bag or a hankie so that she cant put it in her mouth). It will need regular cleansing you can learn about ways to do this on crystal healing sites or books. Sometimes when you feel that there is nothing you can do to help is when alternate methods of healing can be your savoiur :-) good luck

Darci - posted on 07/03/2010

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I know how you feel, my son has been having night terrors since he was 8 months, pretty early. He is now 16 months. His pediatrician told us that most kids start having them around 18 months. I dont know why my son started having them so early. I remember the first time he had one I had no idea what was going on. He was screaming and throwing his body around just kicking but his eyes were shut most the time then they would kinda peek open a tiny bit but you couldnt see his eye ball cuz he wasnt actually awake opening them if that makes sence. I picked him up and he was like limp with dead weight cuz he was really asleep while screaming. It was horrible i thought something was terribly wrong i yelled for my husband and I was freaking out. So later I found out it was just a night terror. He has had them ever since, but only has one when he is overly tired or has gone to bed hours past bed time.His peditrician says kids get them often from being overly tired or going to sleep way past bed time and usually get them with in the first few hours of sleep. So what I do is I try to keep my son on his set schedule and allow him to have the two naps a day that he needs and i make sure to get him to bed on time. As long as I do that he doesnt have them. If your daughter is already getting enough sleep in the day and isnt having them from being overly tired and still gets them then all you can do is hope she grows out of it soon. Its sad I know, my brother and I both had night terrors as small children and we grew up okay and we both arent traumatized so dont worry.My sons pediatrician told me something that helped. He said when kids have night terrors they dont even realize whats going on because they are sleeping when its happening. He said so if i just left my son in his crib while hes having one it will stop after a while ( most night terrors only last about 5 minutes he said) and he would go right back to peacefully sleeping and probably not even wake up. So really its not as bad as it sounds the screaming makes it sould like something aweful is happening but its not. He said if it makes me feel better I can hold him when he has one. When i hold my son when he is having one and try to wake him, when he wakes up hes all calm and is like what the heck why are you holding me waking me up I was sleeping mom! haha so it makes me feel good that he really has no idea he was screaming in his sleep. That just proves that if i left him in his crib he would be just fine and never even know what happened. So dont get too worked up about it.

Dixie - posted on 07/02/2010

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I havent really had this happen with my children but my younger sister used to have them really bad...She would have her eyes opened and be standing up screaming..The first time it happened it was so scary we couldnt get her to respond so my mother called 911..This was the first time we learned that she had night terrors...She was so bad with them that i shared a room with her bc she would get up in the middle of the night and wander around the house and hide and when we would find her she would be screaming and wouldnt let us get near her...Nothing would calm her down...and when you tried to hold her or touch her she would fight us bc she thought we were the bad guys that were trying to hurt her.She had the same night terror...It was pretty scary...and it happened about 3 nights a week...So i know exactly what you are saying...

Joann - posted on 07/02/2010

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My son had them and this toddler age is the toughest when they have them just because they don't have the capacity to tell you all the details let alone understanding that it is not real. He's 3 now and he probably had this happen about 5 or 6 times. So sad to know you can't help them cuz they are so stuck in their sleep! In retrospect I wish I'd been more on the ball with teaching him the sign for dream after the first one occurred so I could have a conversation with him about sleeping and what we imagine is not actually real. Kyle is our second child and our most passionate strong willed child.... I do wonder if there is any correlation in personality type with these night terrors, like it is just an outlet for them? I remember I was pregnant with my youngest, Owen, now 16 months and I just wanted to wake Kyle soothe him and get back to bed as soon as I could I was so exhausted! Didn't even have much thought given at the time to what might have been going on in the day to trigger it.

April - posted on 07/02/2010

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I oldest son went thru this, we were on vacation for a month. Once we got back home they screaming stopped. But when it happened all I could do was hold him while he screamed, and it normally lasted about 15 minutes and then he would actually fall back asleep. Maybe something is different for her like it was with my son and if things get back to normal she may stop screaming too. But I feel for you, those screams are hte saddest and most terrifying because you can't stop them :( I hope things get better for your daughter and you.

Aneen - posted on 07/01/2010

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Also had the same with Ryan since he was about 10 months old. I would also take him out of the room, put the lights on bright that he could wake up and then start soothing him again. There is not much you can do to stop it from happening and it is not nice for any parent. Just hang in there and be there for her!

Brandi - posted on 06/28/2010

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I have had the same thing with my 17 month old and it started around 12 months or even earlier. He hasn't had one in a while but I too found it happened on night when he was over tired or over stimulated. He would wake up screaming and seem awake but he wasn't. I just bring him into the bathroom (as it's close by and turn on the lights bright and try and wake him up. I even put water on his face once. Once he wakes he's mostly upset and wants to go back to bed. I usually lay him back down and off to sleep he goes.
Good luck, he seems to be over them now so hopefully your little girl will too soon. His dad also has them, maybe its hereditary! ??
good luck!

Sascha - posted on 06/28/2010

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Thank you everyone! This is the hardest "parent" issue I've had so far. So far I have found laying her on my chest and laying on the couch with her has worked the best. All she wants when she has theses episodes is Mommie. It is nice to know that I'm not going though this alone. I'm not sure my Mom belive that it is real!

[deleted account]

We've had this happen 2x now. It is rather scary since he appears to be asleep. We turn on the lights and wake him up but it can still last for an hour. We've tried music, tv, a drink, holding him, everything but nothing helps. It is definitely so hard to listen to it. I've heard running water helps soothe them. We will try next time. Good luck!

Bethany - posted on 06/24/2010

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sometimes, there is nothing wrong with Charlotte, nappy's fine, not teething, not hungry or cold, and she just screams. Not very often though.
I just hold her and comfort her, and put in my earplugs so my ears don't hurt, then she aventually settles (after anything from 20 min to an hour) and we all go back to sleep.
I figure it could be night terrors or something like it

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