16 answers

5 Year Old All of a Sudden Having Nightmares?

I have a 5 year old daughter that all of a sudden has been having nightmares for no reason. She wakes up about an hour after she has fallen asleep screaming her head off and very afraid. I try to get her to talk about what she has been dreaming about so that way she can put it out of her head and not worry about it. But so far taht has not been helping. She also has been sick these last couple of weeks, just finishing up some antibiotics and has a major cough. I try not to medicate her all that much as she is prone to being asthmatic. I would like for her to be able to sleep through the night once again..... Any help would be appriciated

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First off I want to thank everyone that has responed. The responses have been very helpful. We have gone through a couple of nights without her waking up screaming. Everyone in the household has been able to get a few good night sleeps. We are still concerned as she also has a tendancy to sleepwalk ( we have figured put that if she does not get a nap in she is more proned to this)and then we put "night terrors" on top of that, we kind of have our hands full with safety concerns for her. Thank you again!!!!

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They could be night terrors. My son started having them at that age. there isnt anythig you can do. It usually comes from being overly tired or stimulated. Try having quiet time before bed, no tv or being overly active.

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It sounds like your daughter is having night terrors. My girlfriend went throught this with her 3 year old son. She said it was very emotional. She showed me the information she got on it and I looked it up as well. They are in an awkward but normal phase of sleeping. They don't even know it's happening. They advise not waking them but simply holding and comforting them or leaving them alone. If they were woken up they would be confused as to what was happening and could make matters worse. I hope the scream free nights continue. Good luck. ~A.

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Hi A.,

Have you spoken to your daughter's Pediatrician about the sleepwalking? Unfortunately, sleep terrors can be combined with sleepwalking. Because your daughter is asthmatic, your doctor might want to order a sleep study...sleepwalking has been linked to sleep apnea. Children and adults with asthma can experience sleep apnea.

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Hi A.,
I don't have alot of time but I wanted to mention a few things.

Is your daughter on prednisone or prednisolone. If your daughter is as severe an asthmatic as mine , then you should be familiar with these drugs. Usually last resort before hospitalization. These are called steriods. As much as I don't care for the side effects, it work wonders.
FYI......if nobody has mentionedthis please be aware.

However when I say MOOD ALTERING DRUG, 1% turn psychotic, 1 % euphoric, the rest everything inbetween. Also when I take it, my body reacts to it like speed. I can't slow down my thinking, I can't sleep to save my life and it can effect the appetite and cause swelling. Also the albuteral thta my daughter takes every 4 hours, is also a stimulant. This could be why she is not sleeping.
The albuteral also changes the way food tastes, so you might want to give it after meals and snacks if she has lack of appetite.

It could be night terrors and I don't know alot about them, sorry. Maybe instead of having her try to explain what is scaring, ask her to draw you a picture of what is bothering her and then ask her to explain the picture to you. This worked real well when my daughter saw an apporition/ghost.

I wish you all the luck in getting her back to sleep. If you have any further questions regarding the asthma, feel free to write me a personal note. I won't be able to respond over the weekend but would get back to you next week. I have alot of experience w/ asthma. My daughter was considered the worst asthmatic in middle school. I guess its good to be good at something!

H. B.

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Hi A.,

Being sick can cause it and so can being on medication. Check to make sure she is not having a high fever at night. This can cause hallucinations.

Once she is over the flu, if it still occurs, it may be a phase. Some kids go though it. My brother went though it and so is my son who is 7. There is a way to tick her mind at night. You get a dream catcher. This is from American Indian believes. It has been said that if you put this over your bed, it will catch the bad dreams.

I know it may sound hokey but so far it's working for my son.

Hope this helps,

Good Luck,


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I don't know if you pray but the first thing I did when I had such bad nightmares is prayed for God to protect my mind and dreams. Some of the dreams may be from the cold and medicines so try and not let her watch anything on Television that might be scary. My daughter, who is 6, is very afraid of the dark so I try to talk to her and tell her that at night there is the same thing that you see when it is day time. I pray your daughter will get better soon. T.

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They could be night terrors. My son started having them at that age. there isnt anythig you can do. It usually comes from being overly tired or stimulated. Try having quiet time before bed, no tv or being overly active.

1 mom found this helpful

Hi A.,
I too suffered from night terrors when I was little. Dreams of wolves with red eyes & other creatures chasing me began at around age 3 & kept on for a couple years. I was able to sense things (spiritually) from a very young age & was never able to understand fully what any of it was. Now as an adult & Christian I know more and am no longer afraid. I wish my mother would have been closer to Christ when I was a child so fear wouldn't have been an issue for me. Like another Mother suggested, if your a believer prayer before bed may help her a lot.

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My son had them as well. I did get a dream catcher for him. I told him the bad dreams would go into the catcher and only the good ones would come thru. It worked. I asked himt he next morning and he said no bad dreams.

Maybe if she draws her dreams and tears them up that would probably work. And tell her if she tears up her dreams they will never come back. Then let her draw some pretty things she would love to dream and put it under her pillow. She would probably dream those things she drew and forget about the bad dreams. Try it maybe it would work.

I just learned that night terrors are a symptom of not getting enough oxygen when the child sleeps. It is very common among kids who have tonsils and adenoids that are impeding their airway. You might check to see if your child snores, which I learned is also not normal- though many pediatricians are misinformed.
I learned this through the top physician in the country for tonsilectomy and sleep apnea.


Have you considered using Homeopathic Remedies to sooth her ailments, or her night terrors.

For the cough try Airborne. It is wonderful. I found out about a product almost 2 years ago. It is called Rescue Remedy. It is one of a line of Bach Flower Remedies. Rescue Remedy is a natural remedy used for calming. So if your child is having night terrors you can drop or spray Rescue remedy on their tongue and it will calm them down.

I had a friend who used it for 3 nights in a row, then the night terrors did not return after that. It is a bit pricey, but well worth it. It is also used for calming in other instances as well. Whenever a child is upset Rescue Remedy helps to calm.

Hope this helps!

A. - It was good to read that your daughter's nights were improving. I also read in your initial request that your daughter has some asthma problems.

What if just a change in the vitamins you give her could change her sleep patterns and possibly help out her asthma?

I have been with the ViSalus Sciences company for only a few months now. I take the Vi-Pak (the adult nutritional supplement pack). With it I experience better and more restful sleep as well as a boost to my immune system so colds and flus don't get me as bad as they used to.

I have several friends whose children take Vi-Kids. They are the children's supplements. All natural, chewable and fruit flavored. My friends report that their children are sleeping better, waking up more easily and focused for school. One of my friends has a daughter just a little older than yours who had such severe asthma that breathing treatments and visits to the doctor were frequent. She started taking Vi-Kids about 18 months ago. During these past 18 months, she has not had one asthma attack.

Now, not all people have the same results, but if I had known of this product when my daughter was little, it would have been worth trying it out.

Yes, I am a representative and do sell the product, but I was a customer first and only started to sell it because I saw it making a difference in so many lives. I am feeling so good, I want everyone to feel the same way!

Let me know if I can answer any other questions for you or put you in contact with parents on Vi-Kids.


~ B. G

Poor girl! :( I used to have really bad nightmares as a child too, tho I don't recall screaming much--just waking up very afraid. For me, it was based off a childhood trauma, but I don't know the situation with your daughter. The suspects I would check out is:
Diet: (Most problems can be solved by a better diet/nuitrition. Sometimes if you're allergic to foods it can cause nightmares)
Overstimlated: Spend some quiet time with her before bed reading peaceful books.
I don't know if you're a Christian or not but if you are, I know prayers before bed really worked for me. Pray specifically about having good dreams and asking God to send her guardian A. to watch over her while she sleeps. :)

Other than that, you could give her a new teddy bear who's job it is to "chase off bad dreams". :) hehe

Best of Wishes,

I agree with Alia my oldest son woke up screamin like that on and off from about 4 to the age 5 it was a heart breaking scream and he would never tell me what was wrong he did it once spending the night at his dads and his dad tried to coax him into saying something was wrong. I called his doctor and his doctor said it was night terrors and completely normal and would pass and it did.

Hi A.,
My daughter did the same thing at that age. She is 11 now, but I'll never forget those nightmares. If it is within 45 min. to 1 hour from the time they fall asleep, they call it night terrors. Apparently it is different than nightmares. One thing that really made a difference with my daughter was not feeding her to close to her bedtime. I have read a lot of different things about how to respond to them when they are having these dreams. Every child may have a different experience, so regardless of what some of the websites say, go with your gut instincts and do what you feel is right for your daughter. I would suggest doing some research and understanding why these types of dreams are different, they say they are not dreams because they are not in a dream state yet. It is good to know what it is that they are going through, so you can best handle whatever situation may arise. You will be amazed at what these dreams can be like for some people, and how they could react. My daughter never remembered any of it the next day. Even when I thought she was awake, she wasn't & didn't remember anything. She would act like she was soooo scared of something & I didn't know what & she would just point into the corner of the room. She would kick her feet. I always tried to comfort my daughter and hold her and then put her back to bed. I have read that you are not suppost to touch them when they are having these dreams, and that some kids will run, so you have to be careful that they don't run out of the house. The nurse at the doctors office was the one that told me about these types of nightmares. If my daughter ever eat right before bedtime, it was like clock work that she would wake up 45 mins. later screaming.

Hope she grows out of it fast. Best wishes.
D. G

my 5 year old and 4 year old have nightmare. both of my girls are asthmatic. living in california you cant really help that. the kids usually scare themselves. i have caught my girls teasing eachother about whats in the closet and under the bed.they seem to get this from the tv. movies like monsters inc. a disney movie which we see as cute. they see this and really think there's monsters in the closet. it comes and goes (the nightmares) i uaually leave a nightlite on and put on classical music when they go to bed. they look foward to nite time. have your kids pick out there own nite lite and the classical music is the baby einstien classical music. i push the repeat button in case they wake up in the middle of the night they have calming music on.

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