Children’s Night Terrors – why does it happen?

If your child wakes up 2-3 hours after going to sleep this could be the reason.

22 June 2017 | Author Cara Benau – Owner of Glow Dreaming

The house is quiet and your little one has been sleeping soundly for the last 3 hours. Tonight seems like you’ll all be getting a good sleep. Then, you hear a cry out of nowhere. Your child is in tears or at least rather distressed. They just want to be held and they desperately need your company. The next few hours you are all awake the only thing relaxing them are your hugs, with them most likely ending up in your bed for the rest of the night. Sound familiar? If so then the most likely cause is night terrors.

Night terrors usually happens about 2 or 3 hours after a child has fallen asleep. It occurs during the transitions from the deepest stage of non-REM sleep to lighter REM sleep, a stage where dreams occur. Usually this transition is a smooth one. But sometimes, a child becomes agitated and frightened — and that fear reaction is a night terror.

Unlike nightmares a night terror is not technically a dream, but more like a sudden reaction of fear that happens during the transition from one sleep phase to another.

How do you recognise a night terror? Your child might suddenly sit upright in bed and shout out or scream in distress. The child’s breathing and heartbeat might be faster, he or she might sweat, thrash around, and act upset and scared. They just want your company, to be held and often to climb into your bed. They just want to feel safe.

Unlike nightmares, which kids often remember, kids won’t have any memory of a night terror the next day because they were in deep sleep when it happened — and there are no mental images to recall.

What Causes Night Terrors?

Night terrors are caused by over-arousal of the central nervous system (CNS) during sleep. This may happen because the CNS (which regulates sleep and waking brain activity) is still maturing. Some kids may inherit a tendency for this over-arousal — about 80% who have night terrors have a family member who also experienced them or sleepwalking (a similar type of sleep disturbance).

Night terrors have been noted in kids who are:

overtired or ill, stressed, or fatigued
taking a new medication
sleeping in a new environment or away from home
transitioning to their own room or a new bed
Night terrors usually occur between the ages of 3 and 12, but have been reported in kids as young as 18 months. They seem to be a little more common among boys.

Coping With Night Terrors

Night Terrors are a normal part of your child’s development as they grow up. With time they will often pass on their own as the nervous system matures.

Children who wake from night terrors are likely to be disoriented and confused, and often take a long time to settle down and go back to sleep. They will often want to be comforted and be close to you.

If you are concerned or are looking for an effective tool to combat night terrors then Glow Dreaming has proven to be a very effective solution. The medicinal grade organic essential oil has been formulated to relax the mind and body helping relieve any stress your little ones might be feeling. The gentle whitenoise and bubbling of the machine is soothing and relaxing. If they do wake up they quickly relax on their own, drifting back to sleep with minimal fuss. The red LED light not only stimulates melatonin but provides a gentle red hue through the room scaring away any monsters or fears lurking in the corners of the room. As seen in many of our testimonials Glow Dreaming is an effective tool in helping prevent or at least relax your child after a night terror.

Tips for preventing night terrors:

reduce your child’s stress
establish and stick to a bedtime routine that’s simple and relaxing
make sure your child gets enough rest
prevent your child from becoming overtired by staying up too late

To learn more about how Glow Dreaming can help you all get the sleep you need click here : 

Did your little one suffer from the night terrors, and if so we would love to hear what helped them.

One Response

  • My wee man is only 10months old and suffers from night terrors.
    There are so many things out there that claim to help but so hard to choose. Become a costly trail and error process.
    Just when I think u find something that works he has another one.
    Poor wee man.

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