As a parent are you aware of the difference between a nightmare and night terror. Yes these two are different terms. Night terror is a fear that is inconsolable, no matter what you try. The night terror is a sleep disruption that is similar to nightmare, but with an exaggerated dramatic presentations. Night terrors typically occur in children aged between three to twelve years of age.
Night terrors occur during the Stage 4 Deep Sleep or during the transition from Stage to REM Sleep. Scientists believe that night terrors are caused by over-arousal of the central nervous system that regulates the brain activity. The night terrors are marked with symptoms like bolt upright in bed, moan, scream, cry, thrash and mumble.
Most children outgrow the night terror as with time the brain matures and the problem disappears. But, if you are worried for your child and looking for some tips to handle the night terrors, read below:
- Keep calm: It is possible that your child does not remember the incidents that traumatized him. On seeing your child in pain and inconsolable, don’t lose your calm. Only reassuring voices and words of love can calm the kid. If possible, hug the kid to make them feel secured in the first place.
- Minimize stress: If your child is going through night terror, don’t try and bring developmental changes. Try not exposing the kid to parental loud voices and other emotional stressors. Instead of yelling, spankings and timeouts use positive discipline. Also, minimize the scheduled changes and nights away from home.
- Restrict watching television: Kids should not be allowed to watch TV because it negatively impacts the development of the brain. Also, study shows that TV is stressful for the little ones as they might believe that the dramatized world is the real one.
- Don’t let the child over exert: Don’t let the child over exert or get over-tired as it can aggravate the problem and make the child susceptible to night terrors. Ensure that the child has a regular bedtime routine and gets enough sleep. If the child stays up for longer than usual the hormones and adrenaline needs to keep it together. Moving to an earlier bedtime, help the kids fall asleep more easily at night and lessen the possibility of the over-arousal.
These four tips will help you deal with the crankiness and uneasiness of the child when they experience night terror.