Dealing with night terrors

Jen - posted on 03/29/2010 ( 4 moms have responded )

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Does anyone have any suggestions on how to deal with night terrors? My 11yo daughter (with a diagnosis of high functioning autism) suffers with terrible nightmares which make her scared to go to sleep. She was like this as a baby/toddler, but it stopped for a number of years when she was put on medication to help her sleep. Now it's back with a vengence. She won't sleep without me in bed with her, and even then sleeps fitfully and lies awake for hours. The doctor/pediatrician are at a loss as to what to do. I'm probably averaging about 4 hours sleep per night (sometimes less) and am soooooo tired I worry about what I might do to her and my other kids (and what it's doing to my health).

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Jen - posted on 03/30/2010

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Thanks Ladies....will try some of those ideas. Jennifer, you got me thinking....for years our bedtime routine was to sit and have a 1/2-1hour cuddle whilst watching a couple of her favorite tv shows. We haven't done that regularly for the last couple of months and thinking back, that's when this has got really bad again. So thank you very much!!

Jennifer - posted on 03/29/2010

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I had the same problems with my high functioning 7 year old, and I was told that the reason for the nightmares/terrors is it's their brains way of trying to compute the activities from the day before, and that one way to reduce them is by having solid routines - particularly a night time routine.

I have seen a marked improvement after I made a wall chart with Velcro stick ons for each activity including Dinner, Bath, Dressed, Brush Teeth, Read a Story, Head Rub and bed. My son LOVES head rubs, but you can replace this with any medative non TV activity that she might like to do, like maybe deep pressure exercises such as squeezy cuddles.

He still gets some nightmares after a bad day, but it's no where near as bad as before, and more often than not sleeps through solidly.

I hope this helps : )

Tina - posted on 03/29/2010

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Jen,

This is me, every night. My son is 12 and has had night terrors for about 3 years. He takes meds at night, but it started before this. I make sure he has soft music and I put his cool mist humidifier on low, so he hears the fan. It's soothing. He generally starts screaming/running through the hall, about an hour and a half after falling asleep. I've been trying to "tuck him in, again" when I go to bed. I reposition his blanket and jar him just enough to no wake him, but get him out too deep a sleep. I read that these mostly happen during REM sleep. Give these a try and good luck. I'm hoping that in time they will slow and stop. I, too, don't get much sleep and always seem to be exhausted.

Susan - posted on 03/29/2010

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I dont know if this will work but I had bad night terrors as a kid and my mom wold get up with me when I had them walk me around the house a give me a drink of water then put me back to bed and tell me a story about flowers getting up and talkng about happy things got my mind off the terrors and I was able to sleep the rest of the night.

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