Night terrors in children. How to identify them and how to act?


Night terrors and nightmares are both sleep disorders but they are very different from each other and the way they act in each case varies greatly.

How can we recognize if our little one suffers from night terrors?

Night terrors are sleep disorders, something more complex That nightmares

Night terrors do not wake up the child and can trigger physical manifestations because of the fear or anger they are living in the dream.

In addition they usually occur during the first hours of the night, often between midnight and 2 in the morning.

On the other hand the child even may seem awake, when it really isn't.

Other symptoms are breathing fast, hitting objects, kicking, screaming or crying, not even recognizing their parents, or even where they are, since they are still dreaming.

Another aspect that defines night terrors is that all our attempts to calm the child will be fruitless and even make the situation worse.

And it is that as much as we insist on calming the child will not recognize us and notice our presence as someone strange, which can scare you even more and prolong the episode.

However once that the dream ends, the night terror ends.

That is to say, the child will suddenly calm down going back to sleep, as if nothing had happened and will not remember anything the next morning.

How should we act in the face of night terrors?

The way to proceed it's usually, let the situation pass by itself, normally between 10 or 15 minutes night terrors tend to disappear.

However, it is very important, that during the episode we observe the child and ensure that no harm is done, since in his expression of fear or anger, he can hit himself against the bed, be injured by punching or kicking or even falling from the bed.

And, if we observe a violent episode, we can transport the child to a safe area, without trying to wake him up and let him calm down.

In general, the best is not try to wake the child, although if the situation is very uncontrollable, you can try to wake him up slowly by turning on the light, speaking in a soft voice so that he gradually recognizes our voice, telling him where he is and who you are, trying to react with stimuli, such as offering him water, see something that you like, although it may cost you a lot.

Sometimes, it even works to sing them a familiar song that you usually sing to them, so that you can assimilate your voice into the dream, and notice it as a point of reference and calm.

But as a rule, the way you should act in the face of night terrors, It will depend on how the child reacts and the degree of importance of the episode.

After all, nobody knows your son better than you and little by little, you will find the method that works best for you.

avoid night terrorsHow to avoid night terrors?

For try avoid night terrors, Experts recommend following some sleep routines.

That is to say that the child always goes to bed at the same time, sleeps enough hours, does not watch television or play video games, just before going to bed and trying to do some relaxing activity before bedtime.

However, it is likely that, despite following these guidelines, the child continues to suffer from night terrors.

In this case, all we can do is arm ourselves with patience and wait for it to grow since, normally after six or seven years the night terrors tend to disappear on their own.

However, if you see that the situation is especially worrying, we recommend talk to an expert I can advise you on the best way to proceed and rule out, that there could be some physical cause that was causing the night terrors.

We must not confuse night terrors with nightmares

A nightmare, it is usually an exaggerated manifestation of the subconscious, because the mind needs to channel and assimilate.

Unlike night terrors, nightmares usually appear in the deepest sleep phase.

The causes of nightmares are usually phases of anxiety or nervousness in the child

They can also be caused by a situation that is worrying us at that time, or even having suffered some traumatic situation, which in the case of children, can be from a simple movie, to any event that the child has not accepted well, such as the birth of a brother, a conflict with a friend or partner, or even after a tantrum the previous day.

However, nightmares may also be due to physical causes that directly affect the quality of sleep, for example when a child has trouble breathing well, is too hot, or is sick or has a fever.

We can identify that it has been a nightmare and not a night terror, if the child after having had sleep wakes up crying or scared, altered, but nevertheless he is able to distinguish that he has already woken up.

And therefore we can make him understand that it has been a bad dream and calm him after a few minutes.

It may even be find it hard to fall asleep again for fear of dreaming again of the same, but with affection, understanding and patience, we will make the children calm down and get back to sleep.

The next day most likely remember the nightmare, ideal time to, without forcing the child, try to talk about it, in order to analyze the possible causes, rationalize them and try to solve the problem.

All children more or less frequently, often have nightmares, even since they are babies, and this It does not represent a special problem, unless they are very recurrent, that is, more than 4 or 5 nightmares a week.

How do you act before the night terrors? Do you have any advice for other moms? Thank you for leaving your comments.

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