Tuesday, September 17, 2013

Dealing With Night Terrors

"Rrrrrwwwwaaaaaaarrrrrrrrrraaaaarrghhhhh!!!!" - Our 'Lil Man

   Night terrors suck. 'Nuff said. Oh, you want more you say? Okay, they're not fun too. Anyhow, onto the dribble. I'd never heard of night terrors going into my first few years of marriage. I'm sure I had them at some point as a child, but I don't remember them. The Wife and I had our nephew over when he was about 3-4 years old and he woke up that night to him screaming at the top of his lungs. I ran in and he was sat up, facing the wall. After calming him down, I promptly pronounced sleepovers were outlawed. Now that we have three children, we're in the thick of it. Our oldest 'Lil Miss never really had them. Our almost 4YO is currently letting us have it, and it's all new territory for old dad. 

  I spend a good deal of time in physician offices for work. I overheard a brief segment on night terrors and the basics of what I heard were also found on WebMD. The stats are:

- Night terrors occur in children 3-12, peaking onset at around 3.5 years
- Night terrors are NOT nightmare. Two different things, people.
- 1-6% of children experience night terrors, regardless of gender
- Causes include, stressful life events, fever, sleep deprivation, CNS medications, etc.

   While you can consult a physician if the night terrors are extremely frequent, they seem to be a phase that will go away. To deal with it, it's recommended that you:

- Make the sleep area as safe as possible
- Eliminate all sources of sleep disturbance
- Maintain a consistent bedtime routine and wake-up time (this works best for us)

Above all, as I've learned from personal experience, you must maintain patience. After realizing that my son simply doesn't remember the episodes AT ALL, I try to be more patient with the event as it's happening. The Wife swoops in from time to time when I can't handle it any more, but I try to be a first line, since she's still dealing with the baby these days. It's a tough phase and while it's been a hurdle, it can always be worse.

If any of you have experience with night terrors, please share your story and what's worked for you.



  1. Wow! We somehow missed out on this with my son. Doesn't sound like fun. Hang in there, Dad. Glad to hear you and your wife are working as a team to get through this!

    1. Thanks brother. It's frustrating when you can't rouse them at all from it. In the morning, it's business as usual. No memory of it. The part during is maddening. With mine it's more whining and being inconsolable. My nephews screaming was freaky.