Mommy on a Mission Minimizing Night terrors
When it comes to daily parenting, every day feels like you are a mommy on a mission. Everything you do for your kids should be right and safe. However, some situations are unavoidable and terrifying. One of which is witnessing your kid wake up while screaming in fear in the middle of the night. What’s more frightening than seeing this situation is not knowing what to do in minimizing night terrors?
What are Night Terrors?
Night terrors are defined as an alarming screaming or crying that a child may have at night during sleep. It is different from nightmares. Night terrors are partial arousals from sleep in which a kid may shout, kick, or scream as if in extreme panic. During this scenario, a child usually will sit bolting-upright in bed with their eyes wide open. Minimizing night terrors are quite hard to deal with because they are not medically significant. They will not be able to notice their parents beside them because of the sudden terror. Kids who experienced this situation cannot be comforted or woken and often have no memory of the events later.
A night terror usually lasts between 10-30 minutes. A child often lies back down and falls asleep without needing to be consoled after a night terror episode.
Causes of Night Terrors on Kids
Many sleep organizations agreed that night terror in kids are genetic and do tend to run in the family. However, no one exactly knows what its causes are but here are some of the notes you might want to jot down:
- Sleep deprivation – the top reason for night terrors in children is sleep deprivation. Set a regular bedtime and nap schedules so that you can reduce night terrors to your kids.
- Life events that are stressful – one of the reasons why children experience night terrors is because of emotional stress. Be mindful of what you show to your kids. Don’t let them be stress at a young age.
- Fevers – toddler life is tough especially if they are prone to sickness such as fever. Fever makes their bodies more prone to tension and agitation. It usually leads to a horrible night terrors.
- Medications – some medications affect the central nervous system. It can affect a child’s sleeping pattern, and such effects can also lead to night terrors.
- Sleeping in an unfamiliar environment – kids are more comfortable sleeping on familiar surroundings. If you put them in a place that is not familiar to them, it will cause overstimulation on their brains, and the need to adjust may cause night terrors.
- Overfull bladder – if you recently potty trained your child, the sensation of an overfull bladder can cause confusing arousal of their developing nervous system.
- Head Injury – head injuries usually affect the sleeping pattern of a child. Night terrors are usually developed after a head injury due to the change of their routines and patterns.
Dealing and Minimizing Night Terrors
Witnessing night terrors is truly frightening especially if you cannot console your little child and persuade them back to bed. If your kids usually experience night terrors and you are wondering how to help your kids with night terrors without interfering, the following are some precautions that you can use in minimizing night terrors:
During Night Terror Episodes:
- Make sure that your child will be safe when a night terror episode occurs in case they move or thrash during the episode.
- Position yourself between your kid and anything potentially harmful.
After Night Terror Episodes:
- It is safe to wake up your child after the episode has passed.
- It is also advisable to keep your child for a bit to make sure they don’t fall back asleep again easily. There is a higher chance that they will experience another episode if they fall back asleep immediately.
Other tips for handling Night Terrors (Prevention):
There are no cures for night terrors. There is also no specific evidence to show long term effects of night terrors on kids. But you can take preventive measures in minimizing night terrors.
- You can eliminate all sources of sleep disturbances. Observe what the causes of their sleep disturbances are. The surroundings of your child are one of the major factors that cause night terrors.
- Provide calming routines. A consistent bedtime routine involves calming activities such as cuddles and bedtime stories that will help them have a good sleep.
- Add more time to their sleep time. Being too tired is one of the factors that contribute to your child’s night terrors. In minimizing night terrors, kids require at least ten hours of sleep to ensure that they have a good enough sleep. If you let them sleep less than the said hours, it will be more likely to result in a fatigued child that will lead to night terrors.
The family is everything, and as much as possible we all want the best for our kids. If the night terrors of your child are frequently occurring, it may be time to consult their pediatrician or even a sleep specialist.