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Night terrors?

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looki Sun 08-May-16 02:06:11

I don't know where to put this post. DD (4) wakes every night (usually less than two hours after falling asleep) shouting, crying, saying things like 'take this' and holding out her hands which are empty. Each episode lasts about five minutes which seems eternal when its happening. I don't think she sees me but does seem to get some sort of comfort from me being there shushing and stroking her head. This will happen a number of times before she actually wakes up fully and says she wants to come to my bed. Once in my bed, she falls asleep immediately and sleeps well for the remainder of the night. When she is sleeping beside me, she grinds her teeth a lot. I can't bear the noise and end up putting my hands over my ears to try to block it out until I fall asleep. Her teeth seem ok to me but she definitely has a small undefined and probably recessed chin.

In the morning she doesn't remember waking at all but despite eleven hours plus (admittedly some of which is poor quality sleep), she wakes exhausted. She often says she is too tired to get up or says that after breakfast she will go for a nap again. When she gets up, she says she is too tired to walk/could I carry her to the kitchen but generally after ten minutes or so, she 'wakes' and doesn't mention returning to bed again.

This is a nightly occurrence. Is there anything I can do to reassure her during the day. Are they due to insecurity of some sort? She is a much loved and lovely little girl who we simply adore. I hate that this happens to her and I don't like having to physically lift her up in the mornings because she is still tired. Will she grow out of it? I'm presuming she will need orthodontic treatment when she is older (everyone in both sides of the family needed treatment). Will this 'fix' her chin/pull it out so it is more aligned? In turn will this fix the teeth grinding? I don't want her getting self conscious about this when she gets older and if there is anything I can do to help now if necessary?

MattDillonsPants Sun 08-May-16 04:16:02

She sounds so like my DD was at that age. My DD is 11 now. She also had night terrors and ground her teeth.

Her chin has nothing to do with the teeth grinding...funnily enough my DD also has a small chin and needs braces...but that's what she was born with. It's the shape of her jaw...you can see it when she was a baby in pictures.

The dentist says she needs a retainer for about a year to move her teeth back and then she will have a fixed brace top and bottom.

With my DD she stopped grinding her teeth and having the dreams when she was about 6 or 7.

She was a shy/slightly anxious child though this has faded as she's grown up a bit.

She's now a good sleeper and confident.

What I did was simply to let her sleep in my bed from the start of each night...it helped a lot. She felt safer and the dreams gradually became less.

Also, sugar...avoid it...and any processed foods or drinks after about 3.00 each day. It really affected my DD and made her night terrors worse.

SofiaAmes Sun 08-May-16 05:49:27

My dd had night terrors from a very early age. She was talking in full sentences by 12 months, so we knew what was going on very early on. I was so grateful for the existence of Mumsnet, so at least I knew what was happening and how little I could do about it (so didn't end up feeling like a crap mom). As dd got older (3 or 4) we could clearly see that the night terrors increased in frequency when something stressful was happening, like starting a new nursery and tried to minimize unexpected ocurances or major changes. I have always let her come to sleep with me whenever she asked and would be extra encouraging of it if I knew that something stressful might be coming up and that seemed to help. I also brought her to see a therapist starting around age 7 or 8 to get help with the anxiety. The therapist was really happy about it as she said often she wouldn't get kids with anxiety until they were 12 or 13 and starting to have much more serious issues (cutting, depression etc.) and that by giving dd coping tools at a young age she would be much better equipped when heading into her teens and much less receptive to adult intervention. Dd is now 13 and although she does suffer from anxiety, she copes extremely well because she does have the tools which many of her peers do not. She still sleeps in my bed several times a week, but these days rarely has night terrors or nightmares. She usually anticipates when she might need the extra comfort of my bed before going to sleep, which means she has a more restful night. She also recognizes what makes her anxious and works hard to avoid those situations.
Best of luck. It will get better as your dd gets older. And please don't feel bad or guilty for doing whatever you need to to help your dd. All those judgers who look at you funny for letting your 13 year old sleep in your bed can just go to hell, because you are being a great parent for recognizing and meeting your child's needs.

MattDillonsPants Sun 08-May-16 06:04:49

Sofia there's another coincidence...my DD also spoke very early. Short sentences at 12 months but still could have conversation with her. I wonder if OPs DD did too? Could it be a predilection?

Also agree with you that co sleeping is very helpful for them.x Both my DDs sleep in with me quite often and DH goes in the spare bedroom...he likes his own space anyway! So we have about half the week together which works well for us.

SofiaAmes Sun 08-May-16 06:14:14

Interesting! Did your dd walk late? Mine didn't walk until 19 months. She also looked much older than her age as well as talking, so I had a lot of looks about the "3 year old" that I was pushing around in a buggy, when it was my 12-18 month old who could talk, but not walk.
In contrast my ds co-slept for the first 6 months, after which I kicked him out of my bed and my bedroom and I don't think he ever returned to my bed once after that. He's now 15.

MattDillonsPants Sun 08-May-16 06:17:27

Sofia no but she skipped crawling...walked at 12 months exactly having done commando for a few days.

She always seemed older due to her language...people would expect a lot of her. Sometimes I'd say something on an internet forum "Well my 2 year old says blah blah" and people would say "Yeah right! Because 2 year olds are that articulate!"

But she was...as you'd know!

My DD2 was very different...still fast to talk and walk but not that fast.

Now she's 11, DD1 is very happy....more secure but she does sometimes feel scared at night. I reckon that's due to her love of horror films though!

Miniminimus Sun 08-May-16 06:29:53

This sounds exhausting for you but as Sofia says, recognizing the triggers might make it more manageable. My DS did this (though not every night). It lasted (with gradually decreasing frequency), until he was about 12 (scarily big to manage!). He would cry, call out, get up and run about the house, claiming on furniture and pointing at invisible terrors. One of us would get up, follow him for safety and keep talking to him until eventually he calmed and seemed conscious again. Then he would go back to bed, exhausted. I remember well the sound of his wailing as each episode started. As you say, it is normally an hour or so after everyone is asleep and so hard to wake yourself up at that stage of the sleep cycle.

Most of his episodes followed really busy tiring days (night terror that same night) or any bout of illness/temperature (night terror 24 to 48 hours later). I wonder now whether adjusting the temperature of the room or duvet would have helped. We didn't have the teeth grinding though, so the triggers are possibly different for every child.

Have you tried a diary linking what happened each day to the duration of the terrors? Or had reassurance from the dentist or doctor about the grinding? Or do 4yr olds still have a preschool check with a HV...they might offer support in case her interrupted sleep affects her at school? Another thought, what is the bedtime routine? Maybe a bath with lavender oil added would be a relaxant. Wishing you well with this flowers

SofiaAmes Sun 08-May-16 06:31:53

Ah. My dd takes after me....definitely NO horror films. I can't even watch magic shows because the suspense gives me indigestion. I totally know what that looks like, having those doubters that she said things at 12 months (actually she mostly just ordered us around while seated in one spot - "put my milk here now" was one of her favorite phrases). Dd is also highly gifted, but chooses (at 13) to play dumb (recent fail on a Biology test was blamed on her teacher for putting "all the wrong questions on the test"). Her current career ambition is to be a trophy wife.

MattDillonsPants Sun 08-May-16 07:07:04

Oh good God! Aren't they terrible! grin

FirstTimeMummy25 Sun 08-May-16 08:05:14

My brother when he was younger woke up with night terrors, it was finally linked to a specific food, I can't remember exactly what food it was but turned out if he ate that before bed he would have night terrors so my mum cut out him eating that food and he didn't have them after that

looki Sun 08-May-16 12:36:53

Hi, OP here. Thank you for your replies. DD has what can only be described as a large vocabulary. She spoke late (about 16 months) and I was at the point of asking for a referral. When she started speaking she skipped the baby language phase completely and started using words like 'also' rather than 'and' in the right context very early on and had and has a large vocabulary (to the point tbh I am sometimes embarrassed as she sounds precocious).

She is very anxious and will sometimes comment heartbreakingly that she is 'just no good at anything'. These comments are made over small things such as dropping something but usually more so when she is tired. Very often after a 'breakdown' where she bawls crying over not going good at something, she will fall asleep soon afterwards. I find it so sad to hear her like that and tell her every day she is brilliant at xyz and good at xyz and laughingly say she is just terrible at tidying up her playroom. I say it this way so she knows it is ok not to be good at everything.

She enjoys preschool but in no way is she the 'best'. For us the point of preschool is fun and socialising and knowing she is happy there, which she is. She is quite obsessed over a particular type of toy animal to the point I wonder if she mixes up imagination and reality. I believe she overthinks. I'm saying this just to give an insight into her. She is shy and likes to know wzactly what will happen when we go somewhere new. If she knows she copes much better. She cannot make a decision at all. When she does, there are always tears that she has chosen the 'wrong' thing. At a new playground she will be apprehensive even scared of new equipmentuntil she has mastered it.

She is the eldest of two children and there is s huge difference between her and her sibling who does all the textbook baby things.

She is terrific company, I love spending time on my own with her. She is very affectionate, very considerate (will close doors quietly/go a complicated route to avoid walking over a creaking floorboard if the baby is napping) etc. She is an amazing little girl.

She doesn't eat much sugar but I will keep a food diary and continue to let her sleep in my bed. I might just let her start the night there as she has fewer wakings there.

looki Sun 08-May-16 14:10:09

*apologies for all the spelling errors in my post - posted from my phone.

IonaMumsnet (MNHQ) Mon 09-May-16 21:36:27

Evening folks. We're going to move this thread over to our Sleep topic in a moment at the OP's request.

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