Many people are familiar with nightmares or bad dreams, but night terrors are a completely different thing.
My brother used to start screaming in the middle of the night for no reason. He would sit straight up in his bed and scream “GET OFF ME, LEAVE ME ALONE!!” and it would scare the heck out of me because I was asleep. My mom would have to go in his room and try to wake him up to calm him down, often times he was hitting at her because he was still dreaming.
That is where night terrors are different than just bad dreams. Bad dreams may be scary and wake your child up in the middle of the night. With night terrors however, your child may not wake up. Your child will start yelling and acting as if they are awake but they are not.
If your child is experiencing a night terror, chance are you tried to comfort your child with no luck. Your child will still cry or yell out no matter how much you try to hold them and comfort them.
Night terrors happen during a deep sleep, so kids often times do not remember night terrors like they remember nightmares.
Night terrors usually happen most often between the ages of 4 and 12, but have been known to happen in kids as young as 18 months. Only about 3-6% of kids will have night terrors, and they can have just one or several before they stop completely. Night terrors will disappears on their own as your child’s nervous system matures.
There is no treatment or way to prevent night terrors, but there are a few things you can do to help reduce the chance that your child will experience a night terror. You can try to reduce your child’s stress, sometimes just sleeping in a new place can be stressful enough to trigger a night terror. You can also try to make sure your child get plenty of rest because being overtired can be a trigger.
Did your child ever have night terrors? Did it scare you as much as it scared me when my brother had them?
If you want to know what else I have covered for the A to Z Challenge, check out my “A” post.