What is the difference between "night terrors" and "nightmares"?

Marisa - posted on 12/28/2009 ( 3 moms have responded )




My 3 year old son will occasionaly wake up in the middle of the night screaming, crying and inconsolable. I'lll try to hug him, talk to him, cmofort him in any way I can but he won't let me touch him! He yells for me to get away and just screams and cries. Sometimes he appears to be awake, sometimes his eyes are closed. They last from a few minutes to maybe 10 min at most then he falls back asleep. In the morning I'll ask him if he had a bad dream last night and he never gives me a difinitive answer. I don't know what to make of it, Are these night terrors or nightmares? And what is the difference? Any suggestions? Thanks. Also, they don't occur frequenty and I think the last time he had one was about 2 months ago.


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Erin - posted on 01/03/2010




My oldest had night terrors when she was 2. I would wake up to screaming and crying coming form her room, but her eyes were closed and was completely unconsolable. I don't think she understood that I was there. Even when her eyes opened she did not recognise me. Every time I touched her she would pull away. I was heart wrenching not to be able to do anything for her. Either the night terror would end on its own and I could put her back to bed or she would wake up and I could console her and calm her down. Either way I don't think she remembered the night terrors. She out grew them after about 6 months.

Kylie - posted on 01/03/2010




nightmares stop when your child wakes, night terrors can continue for a couple of minutes after waking, while they are awake the dream continues

Mary - posted on 12/28/2009




if they are nightmares u can usually get them back to sleep pretty easilly night terrors they wont let u go any were near them my son never use to recognise me and scream i want my mum he is 10 now he grew out of them a couple of years ago. hope this helps

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