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Night Terrors / Nightmares

(8 Posts)
IsolatedAndAlone Sun 26-Jun-11 07:23:22

Does this sound like a night terror:

Last night my 5yo ds woke up hysterically screaming. He responded to me calling him with "what?" and answered basic questions to which we found out he didn't need the loo, wasn't thirsty, and wasn't hungry. He kept saying he was wobbling, and he was clearly terrified as his pulse was high and he was trembling.

Nothing we said to him about going back to sleep seemed to be even acknowledged by him so in the end I pretended I was in his dream blush. I cuddled him and said he couldn't be wobbling because mummy had him and mummy wasn't wobbling. He calmed enough to lay down again, and I snuggled up to him until he fell back to sleep.

This had happened several times before but last night is the only timed we've managed to calm him down and get him back to sleep, we've also never joined in his dream before so wondering If there's a connection?

It seemed more than a nightmare and I've heard of night terrors before I just never considered them before.

If it is night terrors what do we do to stop them? Can they be stopped? Any advice is much appreciated.


IsolatedAndAlone Sun 26-Jun-11 10:36:57

Bump....does anyone have any advice please? smile

iloveholidays Sun 26-Jun-11 20:21:58


It sounds a bit like a night terror. My DD had them very young (around 1yo) when I was trying to get her into a routine and was cutting back on her sleep. As soon as I let her sleep when she wanted she stopped having them.

My niece had them around 2.5 and again it was when my SIL was cutting back on her daytime naps - she let her nap again and they stopped having so in both our cases its was overtiredness, however obviously both are quite a bit younger than your DS.

I think with night terrors they cry hysterically, unaware you're in the room and have no recollection of it when they wake up...?

Can't offer any more advice - has anything significantly changed at home recently which might be causing them?

IsolatedAndAlone Sun 26-Jun-11 21:10:20

Hi, thanks for your reply.

Ds has absolutely no memory of them at all, in fact he doesn't believe us when we tell him.

If I remember correctly they started when I was pregnant with ds2, now 11.5m. But my memory is so jumbledl up that they may have been happening before then.

He goes to bed, as does dd age 6, at 7pm but it's rare that he's asleep before 10/11pm. There's always something wrong:
- I need a drink
- I need a wee
- I'm hungry
- I need another drink
- I'm bored
- I can't sleep
- Can I have...

So he could easily be overtired himself as we get up at around 6:30-7am most mornings.

I don't know how to do things differently, we've tried being strict and that doesn't work, not at bedtime anyway. I alway make sure they have a drink of water beside them for during the night.

Any ideas?

MistyB Mon 27-Jun-11 08:31:36

I think this does sound like a night terror and probably due to being overtired but I'm not sure what to suggest to get him to go to sleep earlier. I tried relax kids meditations but DS wasn't really into it though might be worth a shot. I have also used Bach flower remedies for other childhood disturbances so you could try sleep night, available in the alternative remedy section in Boots, near rescue remedy.

Sit down and work out a plan for earlier bed time with him. Explaining that being over tired can affect his school work and is probably causing his nightmares and ask him to try being quiet / calm in his bed for a week to see if it makes any difference (for a reward!!). Maybe also explain that you are tired too and it would help you. Get him to write a check list of his needs / wants at bed time to go through and check off before he goes to bed. Maybe allow him to have a story CD while lying down. You could stay nearby in the hallway with a book of your own until he goes to sleep. You could also try a later bed time, maybe 8 on the promise that he does go to sleep as per your mutually agreed "sleep rules".

When he does wake, the "you are safe, Mummy is here" approach which worked if probably the best bet.

Failing that, I have had great results with sleep consultants, though the oldest was at 2.5. Chirreal Swallow uses "cognitive behaviour approaches" which I liked. If you are in the North, Sarah Barnes might be worth a try.

Good luck!!

throckenholt Mon 27-Jun-11 08:35:13

what time did it happen ? If not long after going to bed (rather than in the middle of the night) then it is more likely a night terror. They have no memory of it and are not really aware of you but may answer if you ask them something.

Not much you can do - talk to them calmly (the feeling might get through) and make sure they can't hurt themsleves and then just wait it out.

Usually my ds had then when he was overtired.

IsolatedAndAlone Mon 27-Jun-11 13:48:43

Thank you for your replies smile

The most recent 'terror' (this one) was around midnight but they've been earlier/later previously - I'm going to start writing down times and things he's done thy day to see if there's a trigger. Also intend to try the story cd because despite the night terrors, he's still falling asleep far too late!! Plus I think he'd really like having the cd playing to him.

I feel so sorry for him because whatever he's dreaming about is scaring him silly and I can't take it away sad.

Dd has never had anything like this but she's really good at staying in bed and actually going to sleep!
As I said before tho, these only started (I think) when I was pregnant so I'm wondering if it's because he isn't the baby anymore? confused

I'll report back to see if there's been an improvement.

Thanks again smile

MistyB Mon 27-Jun-11 15:39:33

If you do believe that it's due to the addition to your family, have you had the "just because I have another baby doesn't mean that I love you less, it just means that there is more love to go round" chat? including the "I never believed it was possible to love anyone as much as I love you and I knew that I would love you the moment I knew you were in my tummy and nothing will ever change that" and "having DD/DS/DD just makes my heart grow and love you all even more." My DS needs reminding of this more than my DD but it might be worth having an "I love you and think you are the most amazing thing in the world" chat as part of the night time routine every now and then.

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