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Is this a night terror?

(7 Posts)
tumbletumble Mon 19-Nov-12 18:40:17

My DS2 is 3.2 yo. Last night around 1am he woke up screaming, yelling, thrashing and kicking. Literally one minute he was asleep and the next he was screaming the house down. It went on for about 20 mins before DH managed to calm him down (by putting on Woolly & Tig!). Does this sound like a night terror to you? I thought they were supposed to be asleep during a night terror, but DS2 was definitely aware of his surroundings as I offered him some water or a cuddle and he yelled NO NO NO.

Some reassurance would be appreciated as it was quite scary!

lola88 Mon 19-Nov-12 18:53:43

I'm not sure if it's a night terror but my DP sleep walks and talks and can have full conversations that make sense answer questions and explain what he's doing while he sleeps so i would check if your DS remembers being awake. DS has also started doing it and he's only 9mo he looks as if he knows whats going on but there is a look about him DP gets when he's not really awake.

It can be very scary when your child wakes up screaming for no reason i hope it doesn't happen again

MyLastDuchess Mon 19-Nov-12 18:57:28

I believe it is. My son aged 2.3 had one about a week ago, he was saying no to everything, screaming and crying and clearly disoriented. In the end we brought him into bed with us, put on Mickey Mouse and he calmed down, then a few minutes later he suddenly gave me a smile and it was like he was 'back', I could really see the difference between his 'sleep' state and when he was awake again.

I agree with you that it's scary!

MumToTheBoy Mon 19-Nov-12 19:01:04

When my ds (6yrs) has a night terror he has his eyes open but is totally immersed in the nightmare he is having. If we try to speak to him or touch him (instinct is to grab and cuddle to reassure) he becomes hysterical, as to him we are the thing that he's scared of in the nightmare. He will scream for mum/ dad but not know its us. It's horrid.

All we can do is keep our distance and repeat gently "lie down" or "go back to sleep". They usually last about 20 mins, and typically a night terror will occur within the first hour of sleep. My ds now has them about once a month, when he was younger he had them every week. He will stand up and walk across his bed, or curl in a terrified ball at the end of the bed. All heart breaking to watch, especially as we cannot comfort him or make it stop.

The only saving grace is that he never remembers them the next day and so has no memory of the terror he experiences.

NoToastWithoutKnickers Mon 19-Nov-12 19:09:05

I've always been told the difference between a nightmare and a night terror is that while a nightmare will most likely be remembered the following morning, a night terror never is.

So while it's truly awful to watch, that fact is one thing to hold on to.

wonkylegs Mon 19-Nov-12 19:17:54

Agree with all the other posters. DS went through a phase from 1 to 3 where he had night terrors, his lasted 20mins to 30mins and were very distressing for us. But I would stress he was always fine straight after & in the morning could remember nothing. Make sure they are safe and just leave them to it is all you can really do. Our DS ran away from us in one & nearly fell down the stairs, after that we always brought him into our room & shut the door.
He's 4 now & has grown out of the night terrors but now sleep walks & gets nightmares and now seeing them, they are clearly different.
It's supposed to have some hereditary link which would make sense as I sleep talk & DH has incredibly vivid dreams which make him jump up and act out what he's dreaming. It has on occasion been very scary for me as he clearly has no idea what he's doing.

tumbletumble Wed 21-Nov-12 12:48:03

Thanks all - it's really reassuring to hear your experiences.

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