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Bedroom Sleep Disorders: Child Night Terrors

Bedroom Sleep Disorders: Child Night Terrors

Night terrors are known as parasomnia disorders that are mainly seen in children. They are also referred to as either pavor noctornus or sleep terrors, and they can produce feelings of either dread or terror in children. It is important to distinguish night terrors from nightmares, even though there may seem to be a similarity. Nightmares, though, are simply unpleasant dreams that can cause feelings of fear or horror. Night terrors, on the other hand, can even cause children to see things that are not real, even after they have woken up.

Night Terror Causes

Child Scred in bed

There are a multitude of triggers that can be behind the actual occurrence of a night terror episode. However, it has been observed that both a high fever as well as the presence of significant stress during the preceding day can play a role in triggering an episode of night terror to happen. Research has indicated that people who have night terror problems are just unlucky: Genetics are a huge factor in causing night terrors because they just pass on the disorder from one generation to the next. Furthermore, this sense of predisposition is not only common in night terror cases, but in the broader sense of all kinds of parasomnia disorders. Parasomnia disorders are sleep disorders.

Night Terror Symptoms

The symptoms of night terror are quite obvious, and they will be present the most in children between the ages of two and six, which accounts for around 15 percent of all children. However, the symptoms of children may be different from one child to the next. Even failing to remember the night terror episode can be considered a symptom of a night terror. Other symptoms include hallucinating while almost awake, the condition of bolting upright in bed with eyes wide open, screaming, producing a gaze of both panic and fear, heavily sweating, exhibiting a fast heart rate and a quickened breathing rate. During the actual episode of a night terror, children will appear as though they are awake, which will cause confusion and chaos in how parents interpret their children’s condition. However, during a night terror episode, children will not be able to recognize their parents or others, will look quite confused, and will, therefore, not be effectively consoled.

When To Seek Medical Help

Child Crying

It is time to seek medical help for night terrors if they do not go away on their own or if they interfere with the sleeping habits of a child to the point that it gets unbearable. Parents can try to prevent night terrors on their own before they seek any form of medical help. Some of the things parents can do are lowering the stress of their children, sticking to a bedtime routine that is soothing and relaxing, ensuring that their children obtain enough sleep, and preventing their children from staying up too late, thus ensuring that their children are not overtired during the day. If these attempts to deal with the night terror episodes fail, which means that the night terror episodes develop into full-blown, night terror problems, then parents should seek some form of medical help for their children.

Treatment

Child Awake Lying on Side

Treatment for night terrors can sometimes be deceptively simple because the root cause of said night terrors may be nothing more than children being overtired. As such, one of the most basic and earliest forms of treatment to address night terror is just establishing an appropriate bedtime schedule that ensures that children get enough sleep. However, in some cases where night terror episodes are more frequent, it has been advised that parents ought to actually wake up their children just at the moment when the night terror episode is about to be triggered. Doing so, some of the experts argue, has the effect of interrupting the sleep cycle of the children enduring the night terrors and, thus, will act as a remedying effect. Other times, children only need some reassurance from their parents, and at other times, psychological counseling may also be in order. If all else fails, medications such as diazepam can be used to treat night terrors, yet medications are generally not used against night terrors.

Night terrors can also afflict adults, though they mostly affect little children. Night terrors manifest themselves quite dramatically in children, which can cause parents to become overly concerned about their children’s wellbeing. The symptoms of night terrors are usually self-evident, and sometimes, the night terrors only require small adjustments such as a proper sleep schedule to be dealt with effectively. Treatment for night terrors usually do not involve medications.

Resources

To learn more about night terrors, consult these links:

  • Causes of Night Terrors
  • Medications for Night Terrors
  • Night Terrors and Babies
  • Night Terrors Information
  • Details on Night Terrors
  • Basics of Night Terrors
  • What are Night Terrors?
  • Overview of Night Terrors
  • Dealing with Night Terrors
  • All About Night Terrors
  • Fighting Night Terrors
  • Night Terrors Treatment
  • The Facts About Night Terrors
  • Night Terrors Explained
  • Night Terrors Defined
  • Help for Night Terrors
  • Night Terrors and their Cause
  • Explanation of Night Terrors
  • Parasomnia Information
  • Kids and Night Terrors