C.H. asks from Sparta, MI on March 20, 2008
Night Terrors? - Sparta,MI
I have a 5 year old son that has been waking up about 2 hours after he goes to bed. He is whimpering and mumbling in his sleep. When I go upstairs, he has taken off his pajamas and is down to his undies. He is covered in sweat, his pillow is soaked and he isn't making any sense. His eyes are open 1/2 of the time. When I talk to him (What's wrong?), rub his back or try to calm him in any way, he just starts crying more, moving his legs like he's riding a bike and scratching at his skin. After about 3-5 minutes, he will cry and say "Am I allowed to be in here?" I just say "Yes. You are in your room and mom is right here with you." He'll whimper and then eventually fall back to sleep. He might wake up again a little later and do it again.
Do you think this is a night terror? Should I just leave him alone? I hate thinking that he is scared and confused.
So What Happened?™
Thanks so much for all of the info. I really am not enjoying this stage for him, nor is he I'm sure. I have his well child check up next week so I will talk to his doctor about it. He goes to bed at 7:30-8:00. Maybe he needs to go at 7 since he no longer naps. Some one else made a good point that I didn't think of. My husband has narcolepsy and maybe this is a precursor. I have a lot of questions to ask the pediatrician. Thanks for all the input! I love this site!
K.T. answers from Detroit on March 23, 2008
My brother had them as a child - they were caused by underlying issues of perceived persecution. He had them for a whole school year, and kept telling my parents his teacher picked on him (due to the crayons he used to melt on the radiator and then throw them in to her white hair - very colorful haha!) They went away as soon as school got out.
A.M. answers from Detroit on March 22, 2008
My daughter used to have night terrors and I noticed that she had them when she didn't get a nap and was over tired. I read that they are caused from falling asleep too fast because of exhaustion then something like their adrenaline causes it. It usually only happened when she skipped a nap or went to bed very late. I don't think it harms them at all and she didn't remember them. My daughter took naps until she was 5 1/2. She still needs a lot of sleep. She's almost 7 and no longer has them.
S.D. answers from Grand Rapids on March 21, 2008
What I am going to say might seem off-base but is worth a try. When you go into his room and while he is still half asleep (while he is having these episodes) talk to him and ask him questions. Like why do you wonder if you are allowed to be in here. Some people who believe in past lives believe we will have wierd behaviors (unconscious behaviors) related to however we died in a past life. Sylvia Brown talks about this in her books and has done work with people under hypnosis who are experiencing "night terrors" and other things like phobias. Even if you don't believe in this type of thing talking to him and finding out what is bothering him subconsciously will help you help him deal with what is going on. The fact that he is sweating so bad and undressing in his sleep shows whatever is going on is subconscious.
I hope he starts having a restfull sleep soon. Good luck
A.H. answers from Detroit on March 21, 2008
Sounds like a night terror to me. My son does some of that, but he screams and cries also. We actually have to take him out of his room and attempt to calm him down. I have a homeopathic remedy that I use for him and it seemed to help.
Just keep doing what you are doing. Do not leave him alone, as he may wake up and be rather frightened!
W.S. answers from Kalamazoo on March 22, 2008
Hi C.- Our son has had episodes like you describe for over a year now (they started when he was about 5). He starts by whimpering and seems very aggitated. He usually cries (without tears) and keeps asking for mommy and daddy (even though we are right there). He then mumbles and seems to be talking but we can't understand him. We speak softly to him and lately I have talked about things that have happened during the day (hopefully to get him to realize where he is). He sometimes runs through the house as if he is looking for something. I have read a lot about it and find that it is perhaps something called confusional arousal (realated to sleepwalking and night terrors). http://www.drhull.com/EncyMaster/C/confusional_arousals.html. I have also talked to our doctor and he doesn't seem to be concerned. We find that it happens more often when he is over tired. Our son doesn't remember anything in the a.m. so we just remain calm. One of the articles I read said that it is more frightening for someone seeing it! I agree! Good Luck!
W.O. answers from Lansing on March 21, 2008
Hi. My name is W. and my oldest daughter, now 14, had night terrors. Much of what you describe is all too familiar. I know how frightening they can be for mom and dad. But rest assured, my daughter has no recollection of them. She never did the next morning either. All you can do is what you are now doing. Hang in there. He will out grow them. I had a cousin who's young son would fall asleep in his stroller in the day time, out in public, and this would happen!!! Can you imagine the looks they got!
M.K. answers from Detroit on March 22, 2008
I had them when I was little. I remember my aunt would give me something to drink which helped me in slowly waking up from it.
My son, 10yrs old, just had one last night (3-21-08). He has them from time to time. I don't try to wake him, because he is "still dreaming". I DO however take him to the bathroom and give him a drink of water to help him wake up in a non-disruptive way.
I talk to him a little about something happy that happened the day before. I sometimes pray with him too. Anything simple and comforting will soothe your son back to peaceful sleep. Good luck.
L.D. answers from Detroit on March 21, 2008
sounds like night terrors, my daughter used to get them a lot. i started just trying to get her up and take her to the bathroom, my mom used to tell me that nightmares are our bodies way of getting us up to go pee. i'm not sure if that's correct but it seems to work.
S.B. answers from Grand Rapids on March 21, 2008
Of course, all I can do is speak from my experience. My 6 year old daughter has had similar episodes to what you are describing all her life, up until just the last few months. It still happens on occassion.
It seems to be somewhat related to her breathing. Like if she has a cold and is congested, it's more likely to happen. So we had her tonsils taken out when she was three. That didn't really help.
Also, it seems to be related to her excema. I mention this because you said your son is itching his skin. If we have her excema under control, she's less likely to wake up due to itchy, irritated skin. We you Aveeno lotion on her entire body in the morning and at bedtime.
You might try a fan (on low) in his room if he gets to hot, since you said he sweats.
Also, my daughter just hates to be alone. Ever since we let her sleep on the floor in her brothers' room, she been less likely to wake with an episode, and more easily consoled.
She is consoled sometimes by just having her back or leg or arm gently rubbed. Sometimes she is inconsolable and we have taken her out to the attached garage in the winter. It's like she needs to be shocked (cold air) back out of the state she's in!
She is a deep sleeper, and she still often wets the bed. So you might have that trouble,too...Good luck!
C.L. answers from Grand Rapids on March 21, 2008
I am a mother of 3 boys and they have all had there share of night terrors. It is an age thing. But the question is the pattern. I remember many of my terrors as a child as well as all the stories that have been told of the talking and walking in my sleep. Years later found that I have a sleep disorder called Narcolepsy. Night terrors as children get older moves into a totally different class. They are now in a class of sleep disorders. I am a member of a sleep disorder chat website. I co-host chats based on ALL sleep disorders. Number one thing that I think you should do is make a journal. This journal should document every episode with time, day, and a detailed description of what happens and for how long. If you see a pattern this should be brought to the attention of you family doctor.
To learn the different types of sleep disorders that are out there. As well as learning what the different stages of sleep a body must go through. Come and visit us. www.talkaboutsleep.com
Having improper sleep stages can cause a body and mind to do many things we never expected.
Hope this was helpful.
Good luck to you
A.F. answers from Grand Rapids on March 21, 2008
I am going thru the same thing with my 9 year old daughter....it can be very frightening for the parents too!!! I am usually in bed asleep when she wakes up....running thru the house screaming, and crying, and babbling, I have been hit with a pan and had caught her on the way out of the house!!! I used to keep track of when the terrors would happen and then rack my brain about what events could have bothered her from the night before! We have gone to counseling and many doctor's appointments. The best advice/information that I recieved was off the internet. It said that most kids outgrow these night terrors!!! Ours have slowed down drastically, hopefully we are on our way out of them.
I definately believe your son is having night terrors, your description is right out of the book! They say not to wake them up, but try to make sure they can't get hurt...keep him safe. I do the same thing, try to comfort my girl, tell her that I am right here and scoot her back to bed! Good news, my girly doesn't remember anything in the morning!