Monday, January 23, 2012


Me: "Mornin' Mags. How did you sleep?" 
Mags: "Great, Mama! How was your sleep?"

Well Mags to be perfectly honest, it stunk! You were up from 1AM-3AM screaming and unable to be comforted. Of course I did not say this to her, but I feel frustrated.  Even if she doesn't remember the night we just had, I do. 

I want the night terrors to go away!  I want them to leave my baby alone. I have done research on night terrors vs. nightmares since Mags starting having them when she was 18 months old. Tuck had them for a short time, so I was able to recognize what was happening with her.  There are distinct differences between night terrors and nightmares. 

During a night terror, Mags is frightened but cannot be awakened or comforted. Her eyes are often wide open, but she does not know that I am there and she will continue to scream for me. The episode will last from 10 to 30 minutes at a time and even when she seems like she has fallen back into a peaceful sleep, she will repeat the process about 10 minutes later. She often does not remember the episode in the morning. They always happen between 1AM-3AM, like clock work!

When a child has a nightmare, they wake up scared. You can comfort and hold them. They can tell you what happened in the dream. Most nightmares happen very late in their sleep period  between 4AM-6AM. Tuck will have these occasionally and they always have to do with an alligator. He has had the same nightmare on and off since he was three years old.

So here I sit, writing this post at 2AM. I was just with my munchkin in her room. When she stopped screaming for me and looked peaceful, I kissed her warm, flushed cheeks. Then I whispered in her ear, "Let's go eat ice cream together in your dreams. I want Black Raspberry and I know you want Chocolate with rainbow sprinkles. Lots of 'em. I love you." 

I know she'll be screaming again not too long from now, but I feel like if I can put a better thought in her little head, it might help.  No matter how many articles I read, I always seem to find the same advice or the same theories of why night terrors occur and how I can help her through them.

However, I just found something very interesting while researching...again. An article that a doctor wrote recently noted that night terrors can be brought on if a child is "overly tired", such as if a child is not napping. It suggested that the child might benefit from returning to a daily nap during these times that they are having consistent night terrors. This lit up a light bulb over my head. We have been weaning Mags off naps the past few weeks. Yes, my four year old still napped for an hour a day. My kids inherited my napping gene. It's a great gene! So, I have put her back on naps to see if this helps at all.  Right now, I will try anything. 

The article also said that if the child has an overly active imagination 
they are more prone to night terrors. I'm not sure if this fits her, though.

What do you think? 

Disclaimer: This post was written at 2AM. I apologize for any jibberish. 


  1. Blake had wicked night terrors.....the ped suggested that about an hour after he goes to bed, I wake him up...make him go potty or something...anything to really be sure he was woken up...then put him back to bed. It resets the REM cycle and it worked for us. Good luck!

  2. Oh my gosh, this is EXACTLY what Hazel has! It started at around 18 months and got worse at around 2 years old. At one point for months it was every single night at the exact same time. I had no idea what was wrong. I'd go in, try to comfort, but it only made the screaming last longer. I'd wake up all bleary eyed to find a happy Hazel playing in her room and saying quite cheerfully, 'Hi Mommy! I slept well!' At a little over 2.5, the night terrors have decreased, but she'll still have them once a week or so. I thought it was because she was overtired and it probably is, but this little ball of energy refuses to nap even though we have designated 'quiet time' where I hope she will take a short nap. Yeah, that happens once a month or less.

    So my question to you Mel, does it get better when they get older?

    ~Tired Mama

  3. I have an overactive imagination (always have) and my dreams are pretty vivid, and I awaken often. It has to do with what I am doing until I decide it's bedtime - within 15 minutes I am asleep.

    Naps benefit EVERYONE! :)