As a parent having to comfort your child after a nightmare is a given. But what do you do when your child is inconsolable? What happens when they become more frequent? Those were the question I had the first night my son had a night terror episode. What is a night terror might you ask? That was the question I asked the E.R. doctor after my son had a fever of 102 and began to hallucinate. The situation was much scarier for me than it was for my son.
A night terror is a disruption during sleep, similar to a nightmare but much more dramatic. They occur about 90 minutes after the child has fallen asleep. Night Terrors are similar to sleepwalking but they are much more intense. Night terror are frequent episodes that may include crying, fear, screaming and kicking while sleep. Most children don’t recall the episode after it has happened. 1-6% of children experience night terrors, between the ages of 3 and 12 years old.
What Causes Night Terrors?
As your child’s imagination develops it may carry over into their sleep. Night terrors are said to be hereditary, but in most situations there is no specific cause. Night terrors may come from a high fever, as it did with my son, medication, or sleep deprivation.
How do you know if your child has night terror?
It is very common to mistake night terrors for nightmares. Most children cry, scream and kick and some may hallucinate. My son often kick and screams saying there is something crawling on him. They may seem awake but they are confused. They will not respond to the comforting for their parents. The common episode lasts about 2 minutes, but some may last up to 30 minutes.
What should you do during an episode?
If your child has an episode, never panic. It may be difficult to experience an episode without doing anything, but there is not much that can be done to console the child. Stay with them to ensure the child does not get hurt. The episode will end on its own. When the episode is over, lay the child back down.
How to prevent night terrors
There is no treatment but there are some things you can do to help prevent an episode from occurring. Most Night terrors come from sleep deprivation. Keeping a regular schedule of sleep is important. My child’s doctor suggested for us to keep a log and write down what time my son has an episode. She also suggested waking him up 15 minutes before he would normally have an episode, give him water and put him back in bed.
When should you consult your doctor?
My son’s episode were becoming more frequent, so I contacted his doctor. You should inform you doctor if you think your child has night terrors. They may want to evaluate them to rule out any other disorders that may be causing the night terrors.
Hopefully this information helped to reduce your worry about night terrors. The more you know the better you can sleep.
*All information is for educational purposes only and are from my personal experiences. This information is not intended for medical use. Consult your doctor for medical advice.
About the Blogger: Inspired by A3
Tinese Harris is a Certified Commercial Graphic Artist, Dancer and Jesus Lover from Memphis, Tennessee. She is a wife to her best friend and a mother to two bold little boys Ajay and Acee. She enjoys sharing her journeys of motherhood and being a wife with her blog audience in hopes that they will be blessed by it.