When my daughter started waking up in the middle of the night moaning and whining I assumed she was having a bad dream. Half asleep myself I would try to comfort her and tell her she was ok. Eventually she would fall back a sleep. After a couple more times I noticed that she would sometimes go to the bathroom. So I thought maybe this was her body’s way of trying to wake her up.
It wasn’t until this weekend that I realizes she was having “Night Terrors”. I wouldn’t have even known what they were if I friend of mine hadn’t been talking about her daughter going through the same thing. Last Saturday my daughter woke up moaning, whining, and she sat straight up in bed with her eyes wide open but a look of panic. She was sweating quite a lot. I tried to comfort her and she would just get antsy and wouldn’t stay on my lap. She was making no sense. This went on for a good 5 minutes. I finally picked her up and was going to walk her to the living room and try to rock her when she got down to go to the bathroom. I guess that woke her up enough because when she was done she ran back into bed and went right back to sleep.
The sleep disorder of night terrors typically occurs in children aged 3-12 years, with a peak onset in children aged 3½ years.
Sleep is divided into two categories: rapid eye movement (REM) and nonrapid eye movement (non-REM). Non-REM sleep is further divided into four stages, progressing from stages 1-4. Night terrors occur during the transition from stage 3 non-REM sleep to stage 4 non-REM sleep, beginning approximately 90 minutes after the child falls asleep…more at webmd.com
Night Terrors Causes
Night terrors may be caused by the following:
- Stressful life events
- Sleep deprivation
- Medications that affect the central nervous system (the brain)
- Recent anesthesia given for surgery
Symptoms of Night Terrors
In addition to frequent recurrent episodes of intense crying and fear during sleep, with difficulty arousing the child, children with night terrors may also experience the following:
- Increased heart rate
- Increased breathing rate
- Sweating during episodes
I believe this is exactly what my daughter was experiencing and I believe it was due to her sleep schedule and trying to get back on track for school. I also read that it is often hereditary. Which more then likely means she got it from me as I myself have suffered form sleep paralysis.
Do you are your children suffer from any sleeping disorders? Any advice?