Night terrors refer to a disturbance during sleep when your child may suddenly scream, cry, mumble or trounce about in his or her sleep. It may seem dramatic and can be disturbing for parents to witness, but is usually not a cause for concern as children often outgrow these episodes by about 12 years of age. Night terrors may occur with other sleep disorders such as sleepwalking.
Night terrors are a common result of an irregular sleep pattern, change in routine, stress or anxiety faced during the day. Children also have a higher tendency of getting night terrors if they do not get sufficient sleep.
During a night terror episode, your child might:
If your child is having a night terror episode, do not try to wake him or her.
A child with night terror episodes often worries parents as a good night’s sleep is an important contributor to a child’s development. Occasional and infrequent night terror episodes usually do not warrant any cause for concern – although you may bring it up during a routine check with your paediatrician. However, do consult a doctor if your child experiences the following:
Children with night terror episodes typically have no memory of the event after waking up. Parents can follow these steps to help prevent the episodes from recurring:
Continuing this routine for a week will usually break the recurrence of the night terror episodes.
Read other health topics related to night terrors in babies and young children:
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