Thursday 3 February 2011

Night Terrors

When Joseph was about 9 months old, he started suffering night terrors. Most of the literature suggests night terrors don’t start until much later, however, Joseph has never been one for reading the literature.

Night terrors are part of a broader sleep condition called “confusional arousal”. Somewhere between going from deep sleep to lighter rapid eye movement sleep, something becomes disturbed, and the baby screams and cries, often sitting bolt upright, with their eyes wide open, or sometimes still closed.

It’s distressing. In our case, Joseph is a laid back, happy baby, and never has cried much, only for obvious things, and to see him so upset and inconsolable was so distressing. And I blamed myself. I started looking for answers, reading, and asking friends for their experiences.

I could not locate any studies about premature babies and night terrors, but from my casual discussions with mothers of premature babies, I have found that it is not uncommon for premature babies to suffer from night terrors, often into the later toddler years. 

Joseph’s night time activity wasn’t always screaming or crying. Sometimes he would cough and cough, I would go into him and hold him, and he would start to laugh, but he would be asleep. On one occasion I put him on the floor to straighten his bed, and he crawled, at this stage he didn’t do this when awake. He got to sitting, and he started playing with a toy that when awake, he couldn’t work. It was spooky, and this went on in varying degrees for weeks. I was baffled as prior to this he’d been sleeping through.

I read widely on this topic and these are my conclusions. I focus on night time sleep but the same rules go for naps as well. 

  • Do not wake the child. Don’t run in to the room. Stay calm, stay quiet, talk in soothing tones. You can pick the child up, but its better not to and  to sit in the room and wait for it to finish.  The child is actually asleep, so is still getting refreshing sleep, and if you wake the child, he/she will become sleep deprived and may make the night terrors worse.
  •  Observe what happens in these instances. If they keep continuing, you may find it helpful to keep a diary of what happened during the night time routine, what time the terror or arousal occurred, how long it went for etc.
  • Eliminate obvious causes first. Sometimes things like pain (teething), or a cold (post nasal drip – the snot running into the back of the throat) can cause these arousals, so its worth trying paracetamol or nurofen before bed, or saline nasal spray.
  • If after trying this approach for a few weeks it doesn’t work and the night terror’s continue you can do the following.  Looking at the diary of when these incidents occur, wake the child up half an hour before the usual time of an arousal. Wake the child fully, offer a drink, and then resettle. This can break the cycle, but you need to be consistent and do this for 10 days running.
  • If after trying these methods, you should consult your doctor. Sometimes night terrors can be caused by sleep apnoea or not getting enough oxygen during the night.  If your child has had problems with breathing in the past, or is on oxygen, obviously seek medical advice before trying the above this period of time. It could be as simple as enlarged adenoids.
  • Night terrors can be genetic. My grandmother was a sufferer, and so am I.
  • The most important thing to remember is, this is not distressing for the child. Its distressing for the family, for the person listening to it and I think, especially the mother, because its our job to keep them safe from harm, but the child is asleep and quite content, even though they sound like they are being chased by the Gruffalo.
  For more reading:


  1. I found that with my little one his nighttime arousal was linked to what he was eating, certain foods late in the day seemed to be a trigger, such as the typical one cheese which is associated with nightmares, which I know are different to night terrors. Its awful seeing them so upset but not being able to wake them.

  2. Wow that was really interesting! How upsetting for you. I have sleep walk - sometimes quite dramatically, and I'm hoping Mini Me hasn't inherited it x

  3. I used to think Fred got them, but hers are nightmares (awful, complex ones).

  4. Keep the sacrifices they've made in mind, and take the time to embrace the understanding of how much these people must love you to have traveled so far for your wedding. Fortunately, our minister has neither, and he's asked very little of us as well.
    If necessary, place a polite reminder on your sign-in page that this is not an informal website, and that distasteful
    comments will be removed.

    Take a look at my web-site: wedding website album

  5. Despite the fact that planning a event, make sure you take your partner's tastes into account. Thus, go ahead and approach a great birthday party bash for your partner to remember the milestone year from the life. Remember to get awesome free samples kids printable birthday invitations and wording to help get the hype going for the party.

    Also visit my homepage - 5th Birthday Party Ideas

  6. Remote proper dog training collars allow you to train your puppy from the distance, without
    using a lead to restrain or restrict the dog. The truth is
    this isn't aversion education. Research states that more dog trainers and owners are deciding on the dog training collar.

    Stop by my site :: wilford dog training academy

  7. For those who have troubles swallowing due to the texture, tablets
    are available to make consumption easier.

    Are you looking to get rid of troublesome yeast infections.
    Finding the best vaginal yeast infection remedy that will work for you will end all the disturbing symptoms of the infection improving the quality of your life.

    my site; yeast infection after period
    Also see my page - vaginal yeast infection And yogurt

  8. In the world of social networking, numbers say a lot about one's business. If it is a new product, a gift, the introduction of a new group or even the details of the products and services, Facebook provides an easy field of advertising. The first step in this regard is to make a fan page.

    my site ... Http://

  9. Your mode of explaining the whole thing in this piece of
    writing is actually fastidious, every one be capable of
    without difficulty be aware of it, Thanks a

    Take a look at my site: 10th Birthday Party ideas

  10. (Thank you rounds are always welcome, of course. I
    believe my exact words were "I don't want to be your dirty little secret. Theme Format: It is almost like standard format of the pub quiz.

    Here is my website - Pub quiz archives

  11. (Thank you rounds are always welcome, of course. I believe my exact words were
    "I don't want to be your dirty little secret. Theme Format: It is almost like standard format of the pub quiz.

    My web blog: Pub quiz archives
    Also see my web page: pub quiz names

  12. Wrap it in gauze and put it in the infected area. Drinking a lot of water, eating plain yogurt, and drinking unsweetened cranberry juice as part of her daily diet can help maintain a woman's natural p - H, if she is prone to yeast infections due to constant p - H imbalance. If you apply Aloe Vera gel on the affected areas it can help reduce the itching and burning caused by the infection.

    My weblog :: male yeast infection antibiotics

  13. You are welcome to bring food and cake if you want, or you can
    add-on pizza, ice cream cake and drinks. Clearly say the details similar to day, go out with, time and locale for the event.

    This is done with several teams of children can see and hunt for something, we tell them.

    Feel free to surf to my weblog :: 18th birthday party ideas
    my webpage: 10th Birthday party ideas

  14. Then, cells that destroy bacteria and cell debris wipe out
    the yeast. Are you looking to get rid of troublesome yeast infections.

    ** Burning Sensation While Urination.

    Here is my homepage :: yeast infection antibiotics treatment
    My webpage: bad yeast infection and bleeding

  15. Narrow blood vessels lie alongside the intestines of the earthworm and they
    absorb the nutrients from the alimentary canal feeding the rest of the body.

    At the end of each round read out the cumulative scores.

    Theme Format: It is almost like standard format of
    the pub quiz.

    my page ... great pub quiz names
    my website: best pub quiz names

  16. If you're on a budget have your guests light sparklers as you depart. Many styles of flowers are available at the marketplace especially doomed for ornamentation prospect. Out of town guests will feel especially welcome if you give them special attention at the reception.

    Have a look at my homepage wedding Website about me

  17. Play filmmakers, Celebrity Charades Amityville Horror. We paid a great idea for this
    site and made up to look like the airlines pass.
    Shortly after everyone arrived, I gathered everyone around the table to find a rail-air-cloud
    by activity.

    My site; 16th birthday party ideas

  18. The other way to get more Facebook fans is by rewarding the loyal fans that you already have.
    Facebook fans and you can get Facebook fans cheap if you
    follow the link at the bottom of this article. This is the reason why most of organizations are now being into contact with social networking solution

    Check out my weblog; increase facebook fans

  19. It is particularly helpful as you fight off this yeast infection in mouth.
    Because of its anti-fungal properties, it is also sometimes recommended for vaginal yeast infections.
    That will also help restore the balance in your body and
    get things back on track.

    Here is my weblog ... What Is A Yeast Infection And Symptoms
    my web page > can you get a yeast infection after period