What to do about night terrors What to do about night terrors

What to do about night terrors

Small giants 31 August, 2018 Maria Clara Restrepo E.

Night terrors occur more frequently between ages 3 and 7. While they do cause sleeplessness, they are also common. Learn how to deal with them together with your child.

According to the Children´s National web page, night terrors are a sleep-related phenomenon characterized by a sudden awakening that occurs during deep sleep during the first third of the night.

These make children react with intense feelings of fear and with physical responses such as sweating, an increased heart rate or accelerated breathing.

What to do when children have episodes

  • When an episode takes place, if the child has left their bed, go with them back to bed and stay by their side in silence without trying to interact with them, making sure they are safe so that they do not injure themselves while the episode lasts.
  •  Later, in the morning, it is best to avoid discussing what happened because most likely, the child will not remember.
  • In very severe cases, and taking into account that night terrors usually occur more or less at the same time, you can try what are called “scheduled awakenings” about 15 or 30 minutes before the episode usually occurs. This helps avoid a significant number of them. This technique is also used with children and people who sleepwalk.

Not to be confused with nightmares, night terrors are not actually dreams themselves. They are a feeling of fear that occurs suddenly.

Related article:  Six common sleeping problems children experience