What is a night terror?
A Night terror is when a child suddenly gets very agitated while in a of deep sleep. Your child may appear awake yet they are actually in a deep sleep. During a night terror your child may thrash, scream, be very upset and you won’t be able to comfort them.
When can a night terror happen?
Night terrors usually happen in the first half of the night. They can start as early as 12 months old. Majority of children will only have one, night terror a night. They may go through a stage of having them regularly and then not have one for weeks.
What causes night terrors?
Night terrors are caused from children not getting enough good quality sleep. Most children will have them more when they are overtired. It may be from having a party during the day or a late night.
Night terrors may also occur if a child is unwell with a fever. Night terrors can also run in families, a child is more likely to have them if someone else in their family has had them.
How can I help my child during a night terror?
If you child is having a night terror they will push away or refuse your comfort, this is because they are in a deep sleep. Avoid waking your child during a night terror.
You need to ensure they can’t hurt themselves; this means sitting with them. They can last up to 10-15 minutes. Some children will wake when it finishes this is when they will want your comfort. However they don’t really know what just happened. Some children will just lay back down and go to sleep. The only good think about night terrors is that your child won’t remember any of it. As a parent they are extremely hard to watch as you cant comfort them, but they won’t remember it. If they wake afterwards, they will feel upset but they won’t know why.
When to speak to you GP?
If your child is having night terror and also snoring it is defiantly worth talking to your GP. Also chat to your GP if the night terrors are happening regularly over many months and if they are becoming more violent.
Some tips to help prevent them?
· Having an earlier bedtime.
· Try a bedtime routine.
· Do they need a day sleep to help prevent them being overtired.
My eldest had night terrors and she would scream and yell as she kicked on her bed. Her eyes would be wide open, but she wouldn’t let me comfort her. It was heartbreaking, however, then next morning when I would ask her she would have no idea about it. This was the only thing that gave me comfort. I was lucky enough to have a dear friend who know a bit about night terrors. She offered me great information and ensured me it wouldn’t have a long term effect and she would grow out of it. I began to be able to pick the nights she would have a night terror. It was always when we had, had a really big day swimming or been at a party eating lots of party food or went to bed late. Eventually she grew out of them.