Toddler Night Terrors. Why They Happen & How To Help.

by | February 28, 2018

Watching your toddler having a night terror is a powerless feeling, unsure what they are, how to prevent them and what we should even do in the event they start. This helpful guide will provide all the answers you need about toddler night terrors, why they happen and how to help.

What Exactly AreToddler Night Terrors?

An interruption of sleep that disturbs an otherwise dreamy self, it may cause an elevated heart rate, yelp, or shooting straight up in bed in fright. Kids may seem wide awake with their eyes open, but often more than not, they are still asleep, because of this. When you’re concern is going unanswered, it causes more anxiety.

No one really understands what causes them, or why a majority of people will at one point or another suffer from them. Yet, it is believed that they are mental glitches when the brain is switching from awake to sleep mode. Night terrors have no set time limit, ranging from seconds to all night.

Night terrors are more common in young children – from toddlers to grade-schoolers. A study of almost 2,000 children found that 40 percent of children between ages 2 1/2 to 6 years old experienced night terrors. Kids often grow out of them by about age 12.

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They’re Different Than Nightmares

If someone has experienced night terrors, they more than likely won’t be able to recall the incident in the morning, or even shortly afterwards. That is not the case with a nightmare, which will, and often does, leave the person wide away and slightly traumatized at what just happened in the few seconds after waking up. If your child has had a nightmare, they will be soothed by you being there.

Also, children commonly have night terrors during the first third of the night, during deep non-dream (non-REM) sleep. Children have nightmares during dream (REM) sleep, which usually happens during the last third of the night.

“If your child is more agitated, she had a nightmare. If you’re the one who’s disturbed, she probably had a night terror,” Jodi A. Mindell, author of Sleeping Through the Night

What To Do During A Toddler Night Terror?

Seeing a night terror in action is heart wrenching, and a fairly powerless feeling. However, it is best to let the little one sleep, and they will hopefully soon be back to blissful and a more calmer sleep. trying to wake them may result in them being more agitated and confused as they won’t remember the night terror.

If they are in danger of hurting themselves, i.e. falling out of bed, hitting themselves off something nearby, absolutely do go  and remove those items, or gently help them back into bed.

Repeated Toddler Night Terrors and Schedule Waking

Some children grow out of night terrors, and some have a longer bout with them. If you start to see a trend, that your child is having the same episode at usually around the same time. Try to wake them up around twenty minutes before they usually start their terror. A lot of experts agree than this can have a positive impact on your childs sleeping habits, and alter their sleeping pattern, that they may wake up themselves before it starts.

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