night terrors

Sarah - posted on 12/05/2008 ( 8 moms have responded )

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hello everyone,
I have a 4 year old boy and ever since he was about 2, he started to have night terrors. They have slowly started to die down a bit at home but now when he goes to anyone's house to sleep over, he get's them worse. Any ideas what i should do?? I was told not to wake a child in the middle of a night terror but sometimes he cries out and i don't know what to do for him and it hurts me to just let him cry. Any advice or help would be much appreciated. Thanks so much

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Sarah - posted on 12/12/2008

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I know how confusing it can be! My boy gets them sometimes, luckily not too often. The first time it happened I was so scared because it was almost like he was having a seizure or something - he would scream really high pitched and be looking around for something like it was going to hurt him. When it happens all I can do is just cuddle and reassure him. But I don't have to do it too often luckily.

Amanda - posted on 12/06/2008

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my 2 year old has really bad nyt terrors, sometimes im awake for a couple hours at a time... i just go in and talk to him, get him to say something back and make sure hes awake... i heard that your not supposed to wake them too, but ive found nothing wrong with it myself... hope eveything works out....

Sarah - posted on 12/06/2008

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thanks for the comments...yea, usually he goes to sleep and then about an hour or 2 later, it'll start and it goes on for a while and then it just stops about half way through the night...

User - posted on 12/05/2008

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My 7 mos old son seems to have night terrors as well. He will just start screaming as if in a lot of pain. I have picked him up and paced the floor with him as he pushes at me and arches his back. After about 10 minutes of the screams he will stop and stare at me as if wondering why I woke him up. He will then smile at me and then curl into me and fall back to sleep.

User - posted on 12/05/2008

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In my anatomy class this semester we talked about night terrors. Sleep has cycles and it goes from stage 1-4 and then 4 goes back up to 1 and then they have REM sleep which is the dreaming stage. Night terrors occur when the body has problems going from stage 4 back up to stage 1. But since he is not in REM sleep he's not having nightmares or dreams or anything like that, so don't worry about that at least, he doesn't know that he's even having them.

Jackie - posted on 12/05/2008

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I did a little research, and it sounds like it is almost a panic attack in your sleep, though you are not fully asleep. It does not happen in the REM stage of sleep, so you are kind of in between consciousness and unconsciousness.

It did say that in children it could be from some anxiety, which would make sense if this child feels insecure about sleeping at someone else's house. Also, one key thing that I read was that it may be caused by an underlying sleeping disorder.

I didn't read anywhere that you are not supposed to wake them, but it did say that it was not necessary to wake them as they will likely go back to sleep without having any more issues. Also, it is supposed to happen within about an hour of going to sleep. Does that seem to be right with you?

Something like that would really concern me, if it happened a lot. Because, like you said, it would be very hard to have to just sit back and watch your little one scared and not be able to do anything about it. I pray that God will take this burden off your son!

Sarah - posted on 12/05/2008

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all the doctor has really told me is that we're not supposed to wake them, he told me that it's similar to sleep walking..but that's all that i really know...like, i've said, it is getting less but i want to know why he seems to have them more when he sleeps over anywhere...but thanks for your message

Jackie - posted on 12/05/2008

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I don't really have any advice, but that I will pray for your son. My son is almost 5 and has had some bad dreams, and is a sensitive child, but has never had what you described.

I am wondering why you are not supposed to wake someone during a night terror?

The poor thing! What has the doctor said?

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