Night Terrors

[deleted account] ( 7 moms have responded )

Does anyone have any advice for dealing with and/or preventing night terrors? My 10-year-old daughter has had 4 of them in just over a month.

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Tanya - posted on 10/08/2010

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I am not experienced with the older child night terrors, but I have cut and pasted my experience and what solution I found below. Good Luck.

Michelle - posted on 12/10/2008

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10 years, right? Not 10 months? I'm 30 and I've had night terrors on occasion for years. I notice that I personally only get them when I wait until I am beyond tired to go to sleep. That may not be the reason for your daughter having them, but you may start trying to track whether there is any specific event in common on the nights she experiences this. She might be doing something on those evenings before bed that is disrupting her sleep cycle - this would be especially relevant if she is experiencing the sort of terror where she wakes and cannot move.

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Tanya - posted on 10/08/2010

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You - posted yesterday, 9:46 pm

I am a mother that has survived 'Night Terrors' my "middle" daughter is now 9 and had night terrors from approx 8-10months old until she was 6 nearly 7 years old and they were nightly, there were no breaks or nights off, it was every night between 11.10pm and 1.30am. Whilst on holidays we had security called on us because the prople in the room next to us thought we were abusing our daughter. They are awful, scary and hurtful. You feel totally helpless and useless because you cant ease their terror/fears. But hang in there, you do have options. I did a lot of research back when there wasn't much around.
I spent a lot (wasted) time and money on Doctors, Paesiatricians, Paediatricians who supposedly specialised in night terrors, herbal remedies, music, this and that all for nothing. I was told, she will grow out of it, try giving her this, try doing that. None of it worked, Phernergan - mild anthistamine/sedative they give children for allergies to help them relax or sleep had the adverse effect. I was litterally at my wits end and I know that it had a part to play in the break up of my first marriage. Sleep Deprevation will damage even the strongest of relationships over time. The night terrors will effect your childs behaviour, immune system, digestion and nervous systems you need to consider everything. Diet, intollerances, allergies, energy levels.
My first point of advice is make a diary or all food and fluids taken with what preservatives and sugars etc are in those foods, what activities and how their behaviour is. Do this for a 4 week period religiously, this will give you a true indication of when the changes start happening and you can always refer back to the diary when discussing the situation with your doctor/paediatrician/health carer etc.
Have a look at a book called 'Fed Up' by Sue Dengate. She has specialised in food intollerances and allergies there is a lot of merrit in the research she has done and the results she has found. There is a section or reference to 'Night Terrors' and this was part of my solution, I can not guarantee any of this will work for your child but it is worth a try and won't hurt them, even if you think it might be drastic. I have tried this method and perseveared and it worked in 7 days.

When my daughter was 6 as a last resort before giving her tranquilisers I took her to see a Natropath/Homeopath, I had never seen or spoken to one myself so I was a little sceptical to say the least, but I had not other options left. He took a blood analysis, iridology test general questions. He placed her on a strict 90 day food plan, where she had to irradicate all sugars and Yeast/wheat from her diet. My daughter was barely at minimum weight for her age anyway and I had real concerns for her weight and health on this food plan. It was the same food plan that is given for sufferers of 'Candiasis Albicans' or 'Systemic Candiasis' which is basically too much of the Thrush bacteria in the blood system. She had only ever had thrush as an infant at 6 weeks old that she got from her normal position coming through the birth canal. Anyway, it had been in her bood system for that long it caused problems in all the above areas I mentioned especially her digestive sytem and led to 'leaky gut'syndrome. I am telling you all this in so much detail because 'Night Terrors' are not straight forward or easily explained. Some children never grow out of them.
We had to be creative with her food, and make a lot of changes as Natural Sugars that are found in fruit and dairy (anything ending in 'ose' glucose, sucrose, lactose etc.etc) was out completely as it takes the full 90days to kill the organisms and its spores in the blood system. It was hard work, but we did it.
My daughters firs night of sound sleep occurred 7 nights later, my second husband and I didn't sleep at all as we were still expecting her to wake and go through the now normal routine, but she didn't. Almost immediately her personality changed, she was happier, no more massive mood swings, no more always being tired and grumpy. She is a different kid and such an absolute pleasure.
We maintain a 'Detox' for 1 week every 3-6 months depending on how she is feeling and behaving. We maintain the vitamins, probiotics and limit the sugars and yeast/intake. This worked for us and I hope if you can give it a try it will work for you. Good Luck.
There is light at the end of the tunnel.

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Shanda - posted on 12/11/2008

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It is a good idea to keep a record of each episode. One thing that my parents found that helped me was waking me up a half hour after falling a sleep to disrupt the sleep pattern. It worked some of the time and I have found it works with my daughter. Also, maybe try having some low back round noise ( tv or radio). My doctors have said that helps to keep you from falling to deep into REM sleep. Hope this helps.

[deleted account]

It sounds like a classic night terror: sudden awakening, screaming and crying, seeming awake but not speaking coherently or recognizing anyone, rapid heartrate, sweating, doesn't remember it in the morning. It's a bit frightening. She can usually tell us what she's upset about, whether it makes sense or not. Some of them have been not wanting to be in jail, wanting to be a zookeeper, and not being able to get her room clean. It would almost be a little bit funny if it weren't so sad.



So far, I've just tried to hug her and soothe her as much as possible, and she comes out of it after 10 minutes or so. Some preventative measures would be nice, though. Maybe I'll start recording what she did earlier that day, what time she went to bed, etc. to see if I can find a pattern.

Shanda - posted on 12/10/2008

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I am 26 years old and I have had night terrors since I was 5 years old. I now have a 5 month old who is experiencing them.

First thing, I would be sure she is having night terrors and not just a "bad" dream.

Signs of a night terror would be suddening awakening from sleep, persistent fear or terror that occurs at night, screaming, sweating, confusion, rapid heart rate, inability to explain what happened, usually no recall of nightmares, may have a vague sense of frightening images. Many people are unable to fully awake, difficult to comfort, with usually no memory of the event on awakening the next day. Night terrors usually occur during a phase of deep non-REM sleep usually within an hour after going to bed. While "bad" dreams usually occur 90 minutes after.

I have found the best method of controlling someone during a night terror is to hug and reassure them and tell them that everything is all right. Don't try to force physical contact. DO NOT yell at them or tell them they are only dreaming as this seems to only upset them even more. Move objects that can injure the person out of the way. It is perfectly safe to wake someone who is having a night terror.

There is also medication that can be prescribed for adults but I believe this is not true for children.

Sandy - posted on 12/10/2008

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Need more info on this.....what does she do when she wakes up? Is she screaming, or just saying she had a "bad" dream? Is it like her to be fearful of things? When my youngest was four all of a sudden he was waking up screaming and he couldn't really tell me what he was dreaming, I just knew something was bad wrong. I was horrified to find out that someone who babysat him let him watch the movie "Scream" with her! I don't even watch movies like that and it terrorized him to say the least. It took about a month to get past it.....it was a very bad experience to go through, and needless to say, she never babysat him again. Since she is 10 yrs, maybe something she saw at a friend's house or somewhere that scared her and she isn't making the connection?

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