Shedding a Light on Night Terrors

E had night terrors when he was a child. He would be sleeping and screaming with his eyes wide open.  As a new mom, this was a scary experience because this was not in the handbooks and every instinct told me to "save" my baby.  The doctors would tell me he would grow out of it and to let him scream it out as long as he wasn’t in danger of harming himself, but I couldn’t just sit there and listen to him screaming.

Steps to Take

1. Look for signs that this is night terrors.
Symptoms can include sweating, sitting upright and thrashing about, screaming in fear.

2. Learn about the disorder.  Night terrors are caused by over-arousal of the central nervous system.

3. Learn about triggers. Night terrors usually affect those that are overtired, stressed, or even taking a new medication.

By changing a routine too much, children can lose security and face stressors that we may not realize.  Large changes should be made over time.  While night terrors are extremely stressful at the time, children do not remember the event.  

If your child suffers from night terrors- follow your instincts. Hold them while they scream. Speak soothingly in their ear. They need the security they are lacking at that moment.  Please note that it is not a good thing to try and wake them as you would not wake a person that is sleepwalking.  It is best to let them come out of it on their own, but it is okay to hold them and talk them through it.  

If you have a child experiencing night terrors please know there is help, support, and hope.
I know it is scary and very stressful, but you will get through this and so will your child.

Night Terror Resource Center
Information on Night Terrors from Kid's Health

If you have any questions please ask me.

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