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  1. #1

    Toddler Night Terrors?

    Hello all, please help me does anyone else experience there child having night terrors? My three year old has been waking up from his naps screaming with his eyes shut. He cries and kicks if you try to console him. Are these night terrors? Is this normal?
    Please advise!

  2. #2
    Dear mumof2boys,

    Thank you for your post. I'm sorry to hear that your older son has been waking up from his naps distressed.

    However, night terrors typically occur during a child's long night-time sleep rather than a nap. This is because night terrors occur in non-REM sleep and a child has to have been asleep for at least 2.5-3 hours before they enter this stage of sleep. In a night terror a child may seem distressed and scream out or even thrash around but they won't actually be properly awake. Many children who have night terrors do not recognise their parents while the night terror is occurring because they are not awake (even though their eyes are often open); they are between sleep states.

    Is it that your son is waking up from his naps upset (rather than waking up distressed and then going back to sleep)? Does he recognise you during this time? How long has he typically been asleep for? Does this ever occur in the night?

    From what you describe so far it doesn't sound like a night terror although it could be that he has had a nightmare. I wonder if he could also be over-tired?

    Do you wake him up from his naps or does he wake himself? Has their been any big changes in his life recently (e.g. starting nursery school) which could be concerning him?

    How long are his naps, on average and how long does he sleep for at night? It is his overall sleep duration which is really important.

    I look forward to reading your reply.
    Best wishes,
    LJ

  3. #3

    2-2.5 hour naps

    Quote Originally Posted by ljmarsden View Post
    Dear mumof2boys,

    Thank you for your post. I'm sorry to hear that your older son has been waking up from his naps distressed.

    However, night terrors typically occur during a child's long night-time sleep rather than a nap. This is because night terrors occur in non-REM sleep and a child has to have been asleep for at least 2.5-3 hours before they enter this stage of sleep. In a night terror a child may seem distressed and scream out or even thrash around but they won't actually be properly awake. Many children who have night terrors do not recognise their parents while the night terror is occurring because they are not awake (even though their eyes are often open); they are between sleep states.

    Is it that your son is waking up from his naps upset (rather than waking up distressed and then going back to sleep)? Does he recognise you during this time? How long has he typically been asleep for? Does this ever occur in the night?

    From what you describe so far it doesn't sound like a night terror although it could be that he has had a nightmare. I wonder if he could also be over-tired?

    Do you wake him up from his naps or does he wake himself? Has their been any big changes in his life recently (e.g. starting nursery school) which could be concerning him?

    How long are his naps, on average and how long does he sleep for at night? It is his overall sleep duration which is really important.

    I look forward to reading your reply.
    Best wishes,
    LJ
    LJ, at night he sleeps about 10hours, naps about 2-2.5 hours. When he's waking up hell scream but he doesn't open his eyes and he won't let me touch him till he calms down. When he opens up his eyes he doesn't want to look at the light and lays down for a few. I just want to help him! He's in the potty training stage.

  4. #4
    So, just to double check, your son only screams when he is waking up - rather than screaming mid-sleep? If so, this does not sound like a night terror.

    Poor little guy. Has he woken himself up? Could he be light sensitive? Can he wake up in a dimly lit room when he is naturally ready to wake up? I also wonder if playing soothing music would help him?

    How does he fall asleep? How a child falls asleep can affect both their sleep quality and the way in which they wake up.

    I hope we can get to the cause of this quickly and help your son.

    Warm wishes,
    LJ

  5. #5

    Interrupted sleep

    Quote Originally Posted by ljmarsden View Post
    So, just to double check, your son only screams when he is waking up - rather than screaming mid-sleep? If so, this does not sound like a night terror.

    Poor little guy. Has he woken himself up? Could he be light sensitive? Can he wake up in a dimly lit room when he is naturally ready to wake up? I also wonder if playing soothing music would help him?

    How does he fall asleep? How a child falls asleep can affect both their sleep quality and the way in which they wake up.

    I hope we can get to the cause of this quickly and help your son.

    Warm wishes,
    LJ
    LJ,

    I'm not sure if he's waking up because his nap was interrupted. When the light is off he wakes up ok. He usually falls asleep after we read a book or other days he will lay down after playing with his little brother. But while he's waking up he seems still asleep and you have to just let him scream it out till he calms down and opens his eyes which makes it hard to tell if he was interrupted or waking up.

    -Sam

  6. #6
    p.s. Just thought I should add- I'm not promoting/endorsing this lady's business but this article that I have linked to is interesting. LJ

  7. #7
    Dear Sam,

    Thank you for your reply.

    I came across this information on night terrors and toddler sleep this week and I thought you would find it helpful: Gentle Sleep.

    Warm wishes,
    LJ

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