ekkin weird !!!!!!
happymum, it's hard to say what's going on with your DS without more info.
Please don't treat it as a habit though unless you've absolutely ruled everything else out. If he under 6, seems 'out of it', confused, upset, like he can't see or hear you during it, doesn't calm down when you pick him up, it happens early in the night within the first 1-4 hours, happens more often when he's overtired, then it's likely sleep terrors, or 'confusional arousals' which are a bit milder. If sleepwalking or talking run on either side of the family that adds to the risk.
Its partly a developmental thing so although it's a sleep disorder it's usually harmless and is outgrown. They're very common. Things you can do to prevent it (am assuming he's under 6) include making sure he's never overtired, keeping a regular schedule and not letting his days get too stressful, making sure he doesn't have a 'job' to do at night - i.e. that the conditions when he wakes up in the night are the same as they were when he went to bed. If for example you're there when he goes to sleep but not when he wakes up, he might subconsciously want to go looking for you when he has a partial waking. But if he's overtired another part of his brain is preventing him fully waking so you end up with night terrors or sleepwalking etc. Disruptions like loud noises or lights at the wrong time in his sleep cycle can also cause them as can illness or medication. Ferber's book is good on these things. Don't try to wake him or ask what's wrong or what he was dreaming about. Don't discuss it with him during the day (unless he brings it up) and or make him feel it's strange or that it worries you. Just be reassuring and matter of fact about it.
DD does them occasionally and it's horrible. She can't see or hear us, doesn't want dummy or bottle, she just screams and screams. She's 6 months so it'd be easy to mistake for normal random babyness but it's obvious to us now how different it is. Nothing we do can calm her down, it just has to run its course. Then she goes right back to sleep as if nothing had happened!
We are shortly going to move this thread to Sleep as we feel it's a better fit.
We do hope you get the advice you need.
Recall - they are very spooky. The stuff I read about them said that the hallucination of a figure in the room may be responsible for myths about demons, vampires and alien abductions! In some cultures they are known as 'an attack of the old hag' apparently!
My own night terrors have included a devil, an alien, a masked man with a knife and a great white shark! Bizarre!
Sorry happymum, I don't know about sleep disorders generally, only from my own experience.
I only really remember one from childhood, then I started having them frequently as an adult and read up about it because I thought I was losing my marbles!
I did sleepwalking a bit as a child and sat up and sleep-talk to my mum as a teen, I have no memory of that. The night terrors I remember well because I felt that I was awake but paralysed.
FundusCrispyPancake, If my DS cries out and screams around the same time each night, not every night but every so often. Would this be considered a sleep disorder and IYO is this night terrors? My DS doesnt seem to remember anything the next morning.
I still have night terrors occasionally, I'm 39!
Happymum, they are quite different from nightmares. A night terror is a sleep disorder more closely related to sleepwalking. There is often a hallucination of a figure in the corner of the room.
It is not just a bad dream.
DD1 had terrors. Awake, sweating, shaking, twitching, crying and screaming.
Very weird and distressing (for me! She never knew anything about it) and also weird as the rest of the time the most placid, well adjusted, happy child.
She just grew out of them. But has inherited my active sleep habits of walking and talking (dd2 does too but no terrors for her)
I never found them spooky, just completely awful and scary. (Seeing your small child so scared they are shaking and screaming to just horrible).
Only on of my DC had them. (He's out grown them now, thank heavens)
We found they usually occurred 45 mins - 1 hour after going to sleep, and if he was too hot.
What ever you do don't wake them up. The one time I did, he remembered the terror, and talked about it lots. All the other times he never remembered a thing, even though it had been quite scary for us.
Sorry does anyone have any ideas how to stop these episodes?
sorry can I ask what is the difference between night terrors and having nightmares? My DS seems to cry and scream around the same time each night. not every night but every so often. My DH reckons it is a habit...
My eldest daughter had these, we thought she was awake she had climbed into bed with us said bad dreams and seemed to settle back to sleep then she sat bolt upright her eyes were wide open and she pointed into the corner and screamed "there she is" , I got the fright of my life! it was only when we put on the light she then looked startled and 'woke up' and we realised it was a night terror but v v spooky all the same! mind you she had an imaginary friend too who she told me one dark and stormy night when it was just us in the house that yoll her "friend" was in the corner pointing and laughing at me . She has grown up to be a lovely daughter by the way !!
I have 3 DC and all have had them. I was watching my youngest have one last night and it freaked me out a bit.
She was knelt up in the bed and her eyes were staring straight past me, like she was looking at something that we couldn't see, and she was just screaming her head off.
I always feel eery watching them and have a sense of the supernatural.....anyone else find them spooky ?
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