Toddler Night Terrors

Night terrors are mysterious inexplicable problems that occur when your child is in a deep sleep without dreaming. You will know that he is having the night terrors if he suddenly starts to moan, cry, curse or bolt out of bed. There may be a chance that his eyes will be opened and it will look awake, but in this state, he is always unconscious and unaware of what is happening around him.

These night terrors in toddlers are not very common and only occur to about 3-6% of all children.Although some may also have them as early as 18 months after birth, most of them begin to experience these disturbances around 4 or 5 years.

Is it Night Terrors or Nightmares?

Although it may seem as “night terrors”, it could just be another term for nightmares, but the two are actually two different things. Nightmares occur during REM eye movement or rapid phase of sleep, which is also where dreams occur. If your child has a nightmare, chances are he’ll remember what it was exactly, and why it scared him. Of course, until he learns to talk, he will not be able to communicate what is his exact fear.

Night terrors, on the other hand, occur outside of REM sleep. Your child can experience these when he transitions through his phases of sleep, and they can last as long as a few minutes, because the non-REM sleep is the phase of deep sleep, your child will not be aware of what is happening and cannot remember images or sensations in the morning.


What are the Causes and Symptoms of Night Terrors in Young Children?

1. Causes

Night Terrors of your child can be caused by a number and combination of different factors, including:

  • Fever
  • Stressful Life Events
  • Lack of Adequate Sleep
  • Anesthesia Administered for a Recent Surgery
  • Medications that can affect the Brain and Central Nervous System


2. Symptoms

Night Terrors are most common in preschool children. You will notice that they usually occur in the deepest part of sleep, this normally happens to the child when its near the beginning or early night. You can tell your child goes through an episode if one or more of the following symptoms are seen:

  • Uncontrollable Crying
  • Fly, Screaming or Kicking
  • A Stupefied Air or Vitreous
  • Struggling and Refusing to stand
  • Tremors, Sweating and Rapid Breathing
  • Failure to you or any familiar face recognition

Long periods of night terror may persist for up to 45 minutes, although most of them do not last as long. It is also likely that your child will fall into a peaceful sleep and did not remember anything the next morning.


How to Deal with a Night Terror

Unfortunately, it is not a proven method now but can be used to minimize or get rid of night terrors.Because your child will not be aware of your presence and may tend to struggle, all the effort you put into comforting your child will probably be lost. The best thing to do when your child is experiencing night terrors is to ensure he/she is safe and will not be exposed to danger. It is also advisable to inform your family or any other person who might be staying with your child that his episodes are normal and is not a cause for concern.


In addition, the following precautions can also help you make sure that your child remains intact throughout its episodes:

  • Remove all objects or sounds that can disrupt sleep.
  • Dim the lights in his room and talk to her in soft, soothing tones.
  • Regulate sleep cycle, if he sleeps and wakes up at the same time each day.


Whatever you do, do not try to shake him awake, or retaining, as this will only complicate things and cause him/her to behave more wildly. If you notice that even daily activities are affected by his/her troubles in the night, you can try the administration of tricycle antidepressant drugs such as temporary with the approval of his doctor.

Watch this video and learn some professional advice on how to manage night terrors baby:

How to Prevent Night Terrors


What you can do

How to Do It

Make sure your child is getting enough sleep Adequate rest is important for any growing child, like going to bed overtired can cause uncomfortable and restless sleep. Try to give him more time to nap, making his bed a little earlier, or to wake him at some point later in the morning.
Define a quiet environment Doing a lot of stressful or challenging things before bedtime can also cause restless sleep. Allow your child some time to complete appeasement rituals, which can include things like a bath, a story, a song, and cuddling.
Rouse your baby gently You might want to try gently wake your child after an hour or two of sleep. This is usually when an episode of night terrors begin to wake him before he could take place can work to change its enough to prevent further episodes occur cycle.
Make sure your child wakes up a routine for several minutes Take note of the time that your child usually experiences these episodes of night terror every night. Wake them up for about 15 minutes from their sleep and keep doing so. It would be a good time to let him go to the bathroom and urinate. Continue this for about a week to see if it improves sleep habits.


Important Notes: when to seek medical help

Most children stop experiencing night terrors on their own. However, if you notice that your child has episodes every night, or even several times in a night, it recommended to see his/her ¬†doctor immediately. He will be able to check if something else, such as large tonsils that can cause respiratory problems, could be the trigger night terrors. He can also refer you to a specialist if your child’s disorder is severe.

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