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good tanya byron article on night terrors

(12 Posts)
CODalmighty Mon 19-Mar-07 10:18:53

in todays paper incasne wnyone suffers

fryalot Mon 19-Mar-07 10:19:25

which paper, cod? Dd2 had one, and am waiting to see if she has any more.

CODalmighty Mon 19-Mar-07 10:20:50

How can I stop my daughter’s night terrors?Dr Tanya Byron
My daughter, aged 3½, is suffering from what I believe are night terrors. Almost every night she wakes up, often an hour or two after going to sleep but also around midnight, crying out in what sounds like terrible fear. When I go to her room she will be sitting upright in bed sweating, sometimes shaking and crying uncontrollably. She often doesn’t recognise me and sometimes appears scared of me, recoiling when I try to comfort her. Once or twice she will get out of bed and be hiding behind the door or in a wardrobe. Can you offer some advice on how to deal with these attacks and how to stop them? She appears to have no memory of them in the morning and seems perfectly happy. She has only recently stopped sleeping in our bed at night. She is also reliant on soothers to get to sleep — a dummy (which she is allowed only in bed and which she says she wants to give up) and muslin squares, which she likes because of the satiny feel of the labels. One way to calm her down during these episodes is to stroke her cheek with a label, which sounds odd but seems to work.


Some children will wake in the night and it is important to determine if they are waking in distress from a nightmare or are genuinely experiencing a night terror. What you describe appears to be a night terror: although your child may look awake she is still asleep, appears agitated, may scream out and is unaware of what is going on around her. Another marker is that the child, like your daughter, has no memory of the event in the morning, although the experience is still very vivid for you.

These night terrors occur in the later phases of sleep — stages 3 and 4 (deep sleep) — and there are two approaches to use, depending on whether your child’s night terrors happen at the same time each night or randomly.

First, record the time of the terrors every night. If, as appears to be the case with your daughter, you find that they are occurring at the same hour or hours every night, then they are related to sleep-wave pattern. In this case the approach would be to wake your child 30 minutes before the time you know the night terrors will take place — by disrupting the sleep-wave pattern at that time you can avoid the terror happening.

Make sure that she is fully awake by having a small chat with her where you know that she understands that you are there and is making sense. If she is deeply asleep and hard to rouse, try taking her to the lavatory or give her a small drink. What you are doing is desynchronising the sleep-wave pattern at the time the terrors occur and so preventing them. This approach will usually take a few nights for the terrors eventually to stop.

However, if they do not occur in a regular time slot then the thinking is not to wake your child but just to be around her to make sure that she is safe and doesn’t hurt herself. If you get anxious and wake your daughter, this might upset her and end up making the problem worse. You should find that your child will eventually lie herself down and go back to sleep, and will grow out of it with no treatment required.

It’s a similar situation with nightmares and sleepwalking. Nightmares usually occur in the rapid eye movement (REM) stage of sleep (the light stage) and require a comforting presence to calm the child and sit quietly with him or her until they fall back to sleep without fear.

For older children who have nightmares it is often helpful to give them cognitive coping strategies where they feel in control of the “story” — consistently retelling the ending of the nightmare in a way that is nonthreatening until they have “rewritten” the script. Sleepwalking occurs during deep sleep and is never remembered — it is more common in males and runs in families. Clearly, if you have a child who sleepwalks, you must make sure you keep her environment as safe as possible.

As much as your daughter’s night terrors are extremely distressing to you, they are not to her. They are not an indication of a “troubled” child, or of neurological problems. Therefore it is important that you remain calm either as you interrupt the time-linked terrors, or as you manage those that are more random and which she will soon grow out of. I also advise that you stop the dummy at night and do not wait for your daughter to give it up, as she will get dependent on it.

The muslin comforters are fine as a sleep aid (much better than a dummy). However, I suspect that the cheek-stroking calms you more than your daughter, who will be relatively unaware of what is happening around her when she has the night terror.

CODalmighty Mon 19-Mar-07 10:21:03

good typing eh?

fryalot Mon 19-Mar-07 10:21:48

Always knew you were my favourite..... now I know why.

Thank you

fryalot Mon 19-Mar-07 10:22:43

Excellent typing - I almost thought Cod couldn't have typed that, she must have scanned it in or something! Until I saw the next post "good typing eh?" which was equally good!

pirategirl Mon 19-Mar-07 10:31:21

thanks for that, my dd 4 has the terrors, its orrible to witness.

HEIFER Mon 19-Mar-07 10:36:10

cut and pasted from somewhere!

or cod got her housekeeper to type it!

fryalot Mon 19-Mar-07 10:37:43

I hvae a snaeknig suspciion thta cdo tlkas lkei thsi sa wlle

nogin Sun 25-Mar-07 16:51:52

just read thread ,sounds just what my 6 year old has , went to see sleep doc , said the same and she should grow out of them.

themaskedpoEAster Sun 25-Mar-07 17:53:40

yes - very interesting

dd has had a couple of these-type episodes the last few nights

nice to have reassurance as such

mammacivitanovese Wed 23-Dec-15 18:14:26

Hi mums,
I know you talked a lot about this topic, but I am not finding a similar case of night terror to ours.
After having a massive fall the other day (teeth and lips damaged) my daughter (2 years and 5 months old) started having these terrifying night terrors ( screaming, pushing away, crying, saying nonsense) that last at least 1 hr and a half and that are soooo strong that eventually she wakes up and she does NOT go back to bed till 7 in the morning!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!
This is KILLING US!!! and the routine is upsidedown..everything is upside down..and i do not know what to do!!
Any similar case? any help PLEASE?
Many thanks, and Merry Christmas

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