What are Night Terrors?
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 you to witness, but it is usually not a cause for concern as children often outgrow these episodes by about 12 years of age. It is important to note night terrors may occur with other sleep disorders such as sleepwalking.
What Causes Night Terrors?
Is My Child Having Night Terrors?
During a night terror episode, your child might:
- Shout or scream in distress
- Sit up in bed and appear upset or frightened
- Kick or thrash around
- Have an increased heart or breathing rate
- Be inconsolable
If your child is having a night terror episode, do not try to wake them up.
What Should I Do If My Child Has Night Terrors?
- An increased frequency in episodes
- Regular disruption of sleep which results in fatigue and inability to perform during the day
- Cause for safety concerns or injury
- Episodes continue well into the teenage years
- Observe the pattern and frequency of your child’s night terror episodes (time of occurrence, duration of the episode)
- Wake your child up about 10 to 15 minutes before the expected night terror episode
- Try not to awaken your child fully and put him or her back to sleep