Life

The terror of night terrors

Something as a new mum that I was never made aware of was the prospect of having a child who suffered from night terrors.

I didn’t know what they were at all until one night last week I experienced one first hand.

I can still hear the screaming and see little man so clearly thrashing around, looking completely lost and inconsolable.

sleeping

He has been really poorly with an awful virus. He hadn’t eaten for 4 days, was pale, no energy to play and had a rash. We had put him to bed like any normal night, and he went off to sleep relatively quickly.

An hour later, we were shocked to hear high pitched screams and sobbing from the monitor.

Running upstairs, he was laid in his cot sobbing his heart out, thrashing around. Not realising what was going on, I picked him up and tried to calm him down.

He was trying to get away from me, pushing me with all his strength one minute and clinging on for dear life the next. Whenever hubby stepped in to get him off me, he would scream even louder like he was going to hurt him.

He looked like he was having a fit one minute, then being possessed the next.

resting

Watching him and not understanding what was going on was terrifying and it truly disturbed me. Having to witness your child be so distressed and know there is nothing that can physically be done was really difficult.

After doing some research I now know that if they have night terrors, the trick is to leave them to it, and just watch over them to check they aren’t at risk of hurting themselves. They should last about 15 minutes. Then you can pick them up, snuggle them up and pop them back down again.

Little mans lasted nearly an hour. As we stepped in to calm the situation, this in fact only agitated the situation.

The difference between this and nightmares is that he wouldn’t have remembered any of this in the morning. Terrors also happen earlier on in the night, when they transition from deep non REM sleep to lighter REM sleep.

Most children transition through the stages of sleep just fine. However if they are poorly, more tired than normal, or are abruptly woken from a deep sleep for some reason, they are at risk of experiencing a night terror.

snuggles

I will never forget the first night we had to go through this. Now we know what they were and how we can help the situation in the future rather than make it worse. I will now feel a bit more confident in helping him get through it should it happen again.

Has anyone else experienced something like this before?

Even if you read this and your child has never had a night terror, please bear it in mind should something happen in the future.

Busy Working Mummy XOXO

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14 thoughts on “The terror of night terrors

  1. I actually had no idea babies were capable of night terrors, but it makes sense. There were a few nights that happened with my son when he was young. It rarely happens these days. Now he’ll mainly wake up just enough to mumble a few words and he’s gone again.

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  2. This is really interesting. I’ve heard that you’re meant to leave them to it but I’ve never been able to, I’m on the brink of tears, and I’m never sure if it’s definitely a night terror or if it’s something else because sometimes a cuddle settles them. It is heartbreaking though isn’t it, I said to my friend once that they don’t know nasty things like we do so I hope it’s something simple like mummy not picking them up for a cuddle and not something scary for such a tiny child x #sundaystars

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    1. Yes I know! It’s awful and u feel helpless. U sort of hope it is a night terror as they don’t remember it at all, unlike a nightmare where they do. It’s just us mummy’s who are left upset and traumatised from seeing it. Bless them! X

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  3. This sounds horrendous! I think it might have happened once to us but I’m still not sure. I used to hallucinate when poorly as a child so I’m fully expecting Mini Roversi to experience something similar. After reading your post I’ll be more prepared. Thank you #SundayStars

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  4. You poor thing! Both of you! I’m so sorry you had to go through this with your little one. I had never heard of them before either until it happened to my second child. She was screaming, “Mommy! Mommy!” at the top of her lungs but pushing me away like she was possessed. 😦 My mother in law then told me that it use to happen to my husband and he was the only one of her four children. Now, three of my four children have them and i know it doesn’t matter but I blame it on my husband passing it down! 😉 It is awful but definitely easier once you know what’s going on. My youngest started with them very early and they only last about a minute for him but they are still scary. I began using a video monitor because he would wake up screaming and i would run in to him but he was already settling back to sleep, only to have me wake him up by opening the door. So the video monitor helped me to see that he was ok once his screams woke me, and help us both to sleep a bit more. #sundaystars

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    1. Thanks for commenting. Definitely sounds like it is your husbands fault 🙂 unfortunately I think this may be my fault lol. It is terrifying. I guess us mummy’s are strong enough to deal with anything…just not quite sure how?! X

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  5. Ahh bless you! It is horrible isn’t I?! Mia has them probably not even once a month but they frighten me when she does and your post reminds me of how we reacted when she had her first one. Like you, we now know to leave her ‘to it’ but watch over her. Hopefully they will stop soon 🙂

    #SundayStars

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  6. That must have been so scary for you guys. No parent wants to see their child upset let alone having a night terror and not being able to do anything about it. It’s good you now know what it’s all about. Hopefully it doesn’t happen again but if it does you’ll at least know what you’re dealing with. My son hasn’t had this so I can only imagine how helpless you must have felt. Crossing my fingers that you don’t need to experience it again!
    #sundaystars

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  7. It is truly horrible. I’m sorry that your little one (and you!) had to go through it.

    Possessed is exactly the word for it. At one point I thought little dude was going to spiderwalk around the room. My wife used to suffer from night terrors when she was little so she knew a little about it, In the end we just had to ride it out, there was no one solution that seemed to work.

    If it happens again though we’ll try your tip. Thanks for sharing.

    #AnythingGoes

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  8. It’s so hard not to intervene when it feels like the natural way to calm and reassure them. Good on you for getting educated so hopefully if it happens again you are able to let it run its course and it will end sooner. Thanks for sharing this information #coolmumclub

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  9. We have been through brief episodes of this with Tigs – certainly worse when they are poorly and she has also hallucinated during a fever…scary stuff. I hadn’t really known the ‘right way’ to deal with anything – but I think somehow instinct guides you. Thank you for linking up to #coolmumclub Hope you have a peaceful night and a lovely Christmas

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  10. So so horrible. My daughter went through a brief period of night terrors…it was so horrible to just watch. But she hasn’t had any for quite some time now, so hopefully it has passed. Bloody big fright, though. #coolmumclub

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