Top 5 rated articles
Quiz: why am I still single?
Which Bond Girl are you?
IBS Diet: Relieving bowel symptoms
Real men | what men really think about breasts!
Date night ideas: Our tried and tested top ten

What are night terrors?

   
What are night terrors?

These dramatic, terrorizing dreams aren't nightmares. Where, how and why do they occur?

When?
Night terrors generally occur at the start of the night during deep sleep, the most profound phase of non-REM sleep. This is a phase with reduced brain activity.

How?
Your child shouts, gets up, is restless, babbles, seems to be gripped by a hallucination (he may try to catch something or escape, etc). He may sweat and hyperventilate. His eyes are open but he can't see you. He can hear you and even respond to you, but he is still asleep and you can't wake him.

Why?
Your child's brain is still immature and night terrors arise in some children from this neurological immaturity. Such displays are quite similar to episodes of sleepwalking which affect some children. In reality, only a part of the brain is "awake", while sleep continues. This can be frightening for the rest of the family.

How should I react?
Calmy and gently, speak to him quietly and place your hand on him. Sometimes simple physical contact will be enough to calm him down. Stay close until you hear his breathing return to normal, which is a sign that he's gone back to sleep. If the night terror episodes become frequent, consult your doctor. And speak to your child: perhaps there is a worry or problem behind his night terrors which he won't remember in the morning (unlike dreams and nightmares, which are remembered).

Don't worry
Night terrors disappear spontaneously in the majority of cases. As the child grows, the brain matures and the terrors will fade. As far as possible, stick to a regular sleep routine and avoid late nights. A regular suitable bedtime encourages a peaceful and refreshing night's sleep. If your child is still small, let him have an afternoon nap if you can.




  
 

Sarah Horrocks
02/02/2008
Reader ranking:2.8/5 
Rank this page: 

Don't miss...
1st episode: Marie invites you to a cookery lesson like no other...7th episode: How to stay in shape while enjoying the company of your friends
Get a total body workout playing Twister with Tamaya!Tone your bum with Ewa!
Latest… 02/12/2016
Guides
Videos
What New Moms Can Expect During the First Month of Pregnancy
How to Determine the Sex of Your Baby & Why It Can Help You
The Final Stretch: Everything You Need to Know About the 7th Month of Pregnancy
Traveling while pregnant
See all Parenting guides
First Aid For Parents - could you save your child's life?
See all Parenting videos
 

Don't miss out!

...Join our newsletter
Get the wewomen latest straight to your inbox
  OK
Find us on...