Night terrors in childhood. How to stop them in 5 steps


The first thing to know is that night terrors should not be confused with nightmares. There are three phases of sleep: light sleep, deep sleep and REM phase . Nightmares occur in the third phase and the details are usually remembered. Instead, the terrors happen at the end of deep sleep almost entering the REM phase, which usually manifests itself as a smooth transition, but in this case what is produced is a sudden feeling of fear in which the child sits up with wide-eyed screaming, scared, sweaty, gasping for breath, racing heartbeat, and a panicky expression. It lasts a few minutes and then the child falls asleep as if nothing had happened.

The reaction is very spectacular but it really leaves no memory of any kind. The next day the child will not know what happened. However, if the episodes are repeated they could have consequences in their daily life , since rest is greatly affected. In this case it is advisable to consult a specialist.

The terrors can appear between 4 and 12 years of age, although isolated cases have been known in babies as young as 18 months. It generally occurs in children who are suffering from stress, anxiety, tiredness , who do not sleep at home, who are sick, with a fever or who have changed their medicine.

In the event of an episode, remain calm, do not wake the child, keep objects away from him and take care that he does not get hurt by them or by the wall. Convey peace and hope it happens. In a few moments you will sleep peacefully again. We should not worry too much, because they will not have any physical or emotional consequences in his life and on the contrary, the child may perceive our excessive worry and become more nervous.

To prevent and avoid night terrors we can follow these 5 steps:

  1. Maintain a routine before bed

A hot bath, read a story, go to bed at the same time every day (and it is understood that early to ensure the necessary hours of rest) … All this makes the child feel safe in everyday life and relax more fast achieving a restful sleep.

  1. Light dinner

Avoid gorging your child on food just before bedtime. Eliminate excitements such as sodas and sugars. Also foods rich in fat or heavy. A light dinner will help you rest better.

  1. Make sure you communicate your concerns

Talk with him to tell us his doubts and daily experiences. This way we will prevent them from falling asleep worried. Listening to you, talking about your things, and playing down problems reduces stress considerably.

  1. Do not get too tired

A child has to be active, of course, but not burning out late is important for a good night’s sleep. Better to do a relaxing hobby like reading, talking, or playing something quiet. No video games or television in the late afternoon.

  1. Plan the next day

As he grows, we can instill in him the good habit of writing down what he has to do the next day, so that he does not get overwhelmed thinking that he is going to forget something or that he is not going to get somewhere. Organization is calm and calm is peaceful sleep.

Good and sweet evening!

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