Are you unsure how to tell the difference between bad dreams and terrible nightmares? We’ve got the details for both, plus some great tips on how to improve your child’s sleep.
Although you don’t have any memories of being scared at night as a kid, it’s a reality that youngsters have trouble sleeping at night. Infants who are rocked or fed to sleep as babies often report feeling comfortable and secure. They’ll sleep in a crib in the same room as their parents for the most part.
It’s only when they’re alone, especially in a new bed or a new room, that they’re more likely to have nightmares and horrible dreams. Young children’s imaginations are filled with strange monsters, alien invasions, or “evil people.”
How Ofter Do You Find Them?
Children aged 3 to 5 are most likely to suffer from nightmares at least once every two weeks, according to the American Academy of Pediatrics. Late at night or early in the morning is when most people have nightmares.
Nightmares can be brought on by disturbing events that occur during the day or by a change in your child’s typical sleep schedule, but we don’t know all about what causes them. Playing loudly and energetically before bedtime isn’t a good idea.
You should chat to your youngster during the day if they keep having the same nightmare repeatedly.
Keep Your Anxiety Under Control
When a child wakes up afraid and distressed from a nightmare, this can be upsetting for both the child and the parents. So it’s crucial you feel at ease addressing your child’s nightmares to prevent further anxiety about the issue.
Supportive but not anxious is the goal here. Without debating over whether or not a dream is ‘real,’ explain to them that what happens in a dream does not harm them (as it will have seemed very real to them). These include things like using a night light to help your child sleep, as well as learning relaxation techniques together.
“Night Terrors?” What is it?
‘Sleep terrors’ or ‘night terrors,’ on the other hand, are significantly less prevalent, affecting only one in 30 people. Preschoolers and older toddlers are especially susceptible, but adults can also be affected. A sleep disorder known as or pavor nocturnus is classified as a sleep disorder that can be caused by a fever or by a very stressful day at work or home.
It is more common for night terrors to occur in the first few hours after bedtime than for nightmares to happen in the same time frame. In addition, unlike nightmares, they can be more disturbing for parents than their children!
Children who suffer from night terrors appear to be in the midst of a terrifying ordeal. These people don’t seem to be aware of their surroundings and don’t appear to be in need of comfort when they wake up from a night terror. In addition, they may scream, have a rapid heartbeat, push away anyone who tries to touch them, and have their eyes open but not be able to see (or perceive) anything in the surrounding environment. Every 60 seconds to every 20 minutes, an episode might last from 60 seconds to 20 minutes.
There is no proof that children with night terrors are in distress, despite the child’s often terrifying behavior. The moment a child wakes up, they are frequently unable to recall anything about their night terrors. Once the night terror experience is completed, your child will usually go back to sleep and be well.
It can be impossible to wake up a person who is suffering from night terrors. This means that if and when you find your child having an episode like this, there isn’t a lot you can do to help. Sing a familiar lullaby or talk in a calming tone of voice. Avoid putting yourself in danger by making sure your child cannot hurt themselves.
Is it appropriate for me to be concerned about this?
The presence of recurrent nightmares may indicate a person is suffering from anxiety or depression. If you can’t resolve a problem with your child on your own, you should seek expert assistance.
Call a doctor if your child is drooling or making rigid, jerky movements that resemble an epileptic fit at night. In addition, if any of the following applies to you:
- Night terrors occur more than once every four months
- there are daytime concerns in addition to the night terrors, or
- the night terrors occur closer to dawn than bedtime.
It’s not fun to deal with nightmares or night terrors, but it’s a phase that will pass. Knowing how to cope with issues like this puts you ahead of the game from the start.
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