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DS waking up at night and hits & shouts - should I be concerned?

(17 Posts)
sueanna Wed 21-Feb-07 23:34:06

My DS (will be 3 in July) who is a pretty good sleeper, has woken up on the last 3 nights before or around midnight crying for me. When I go into his room and try to pick him up to comfort him, he gets really angry, shouting and hitting out.
This has never happend before these last 3 nights and it's upsetting me. Should I be concerned? Has anyonelse experienced this?

Rantum Wed 21-Feb-07 23:35:54

Could he be having night terrors?

lockets Wed 21-Feb-07 23:38:09

Message withdrawn

Rantum Wed 21-Feb-07 23:38:09

"Night terrors are a common sleep problem among children. By some estimates, about 15% of younger children have occasional night terrors. Although most common in children between the ages of 2 and 6 years, they can occur at almost any age.
Although usually considered to be normal or benign, they are often very scary and distressing to parents who often overreact, especially during a child's first night terror."

More info here:

sueanna Wed 21-Feb-07 23:39:38

how can you tell if a child is having night terrors?

Rantum Wed 21-Feb-07 23:41:49

When you hear how most experts describe night terrors, it is easy to see why parents find them distressing. Children who have night terrors are usually described as 'bolting upright' with their eyes wide open, with a look of fear and panic, and letting out a 'blood curdling scream'.

These kids will usually also be sweating, breathing fast and have a rapid heart rate (autonomic signs). And although it will seem like they are awake, during a night terror, children will appear confused, will not be consolable and won't recognize you.
Typical night terrors last about 5 to 30 minutes and afterwards, children usually return to a regular sleep. If you are able to wake your child up during a night terror, he is likely to become scared and agitated, mostly because of your own reaction to the night terror, especially if you were shaking or yelling at him to wake up. Instead of trying to wake up a child having a night terror, it is usually better to just make sure he is safe, comfort him if you can, and help him return to sleep once it is over.

The diagnosis of night terrors is usually made by the history of a child 'waking' early in the night screaming and being inconsolable. Night terrors are most often confused with nightmares, but unlike night terrors, a child having a nightmare is usually easily woken up and comforted.
The other worry for many parents is that these episodes are a type of seizure. Although different types of partial seizures, including temporal lobe and frontal lobe epilepsy, can appear similar to night terrors, they are usually brief (30 seconds to a few minutes) and are more common in older children and adults.

No treatment is usually necessary for routine night terrors. Since they are often triggered in children who are overtired, sticking to a good bedtime routine and making sure your child is getting enough rest can help to prevent them.
For children who get frequent night terrors, it might help to wake your child up before the time that he usually has a night terror. This is thought to interrupt or alter the sleep cycle and prevent night terrors from occuring (it also works for sleepwalking).

Rarely, sleep medications might be used for a short time if your child gets very frequent night terrors.

What You Need To Know
Night terrors are also called sleep terrors or pavor nocturnus.

Similar to sleepwalking and sleeptalking, night terrors are considered to be a disorder of arousal and are a partial arousal from non-REM sleep.

Unlike a nightmare, children usually don't recall having a night terror.

Also unlike nightmares, night terrors usually occur in the early part of the night, about 1 to 4 hours after going to sleep.

If your child gets night terrors, make sure that baby sitters and other caregivers are aware of them and know what they should do if one occurs.

Most children outgrow night terrors as they get older.

ledodgyDave Wed 21-Feb-07 23:42:27

It sounds like night terrors. They are inconsolable ,won't be comforetd etc.. You just have to ride it out if they won't be cuddled leave them as long as they are safe and let them pass.

tia2 Wed 21-Feb-07 23:45:53

rantum how did you know all that hun?

scatterbrain Wed 21-Feb-07 23:46:04

Def sounds like night terrors ! My dd had them for about a month last year and then they just stopped. I handled it badly at first as I thought she was awake and having a tantrum - just as I was going to bed ! Mumsnet helped me hugely - there are loads of old threads on it if you search.

It will pass, there probably is no reason for them, he doesn't know he is doing it and you need to just deal with them kindly and you'll get through !

It is horrible for you - but it goes as quick as it starts ! and at least he doesn't know he is having them - they don't feel traumatised or anything afterwards.

Good luck

sueanna Wed 21-Feb-07 23:46:47

Sounds like it certainly could be that then. Thanks.
It's quite distressing though, and difficult to know what to do.
Should I just leave him for 5 mins or so rather than going straight in, to see if he calms down on his own, or just sit near him so he knows I'm there?
Are they actually awake, as he does seem to be?

Rantum Wed 21-Feb-07 23:49:07

More advice:

"Night terrors are not an illness, have no long-term effects and therefore don't usually require any specific treatment. During an episode keep calm - it can be distressing to see your child upset, but try to remind yourself that they won't remember any of it the next day.

Trying to wake the child up or talk them out of it rarely has any effect. Instead, stay with them (lying down next to them often helps), soothe them and protect them from injuring themselves until they settle back down into sleep. A few days of regular early bedtimes usually gives the child proper rest and resolves the problem. It's also worth checking if the child has particular worries that need sorting out."

Rantum Wed 21-Feb-07 23:50:15

tia - i am just create at copying and pasting

scatterbrain Wed 21-Feb-07 23:51:00

No they're not awake. I used to go in as soon as dd woke up and stroke hr head and talk softly to her - seemed to comfort her and calm her a little. She would shout and shout for a cuddle and then we'd be cuddling her and she was still shouting for a cuddle - she didn't know we were even there.

Probably a good idea to go in or at least hover in case he gets out of bed - dd did a bit of sleepwalking at the same time !

It is distressing - but easier when you know whsat is going on. I worried that dd was traumatised by something - which was causing them - but everyone said she wasn't and I think with hindsight they were right.

Rantum Wed 21-Feb-07 23:51:20

should have put quotes around it! did cite my source in an earlier post though....

scatterbrain Wed 21-Feb-07 23:52:14

Oh and I resorted to Medised for a few nights to try and get her to have more sleep - not convinced it actually worked but at least I felt like I was doing something !!!

sueanna Wed 21-Feb-07 23:52:28

Thanks Rantum, you seem to have your finger on the pulse.
Thank you everyone, I shall try and get a good nights sleep

Rantum Wed 21-Feb-07 23:53:25

first posts available here:

last advice from here:

Unfortunately I can't do links cos that would have been easier...

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