Feeling Sleep Deprived...9 Year Old Has Nightmares Every Night!

Updated on January 30, 2010
T.C. asks from Corona, CA
6 answers

Hi moms..excuse me if my typing is off, but I have been sleep deprived for almost a week! My 9 year old son has been up almost every night with nightmares. At first he would come in the room saying he felt sick. I thought he was getting the stomach flu. I started limiting what he ate at night after ruling out the flu. I would make sure he would eat light and no later than 3-4 hours before bedtime. After changing his eating habits at night he started just crying all night saying he was having bad dreams. I am trying to be sympathetic to him, but my husband and I are at our wits end! He has always struggled with this off and on throughout the years. He has been sleeping great for the past couple of years, but now the nightmares are resurfacing again. I have cut off certain cartoons, video games, foods at night, etc. HELP. I keep asking myself if there are any changes in our family life that would contribute to this, but I can't come up with any. Our family life is as calm and normal as it could possibly be right now. We have no major changes going on, and no recent arguing or stress. He has been off track from school (we are on year round schedule) since December 18th, so I am certain it is not school related. I have talked with him and asked him why he thought he was having these nightmares, but he doesn't know. I am wondering if any of you moms have experienced these night time terrors and how you have dealt with it and finally been able to get some shut eye!

Feeling very sleepy,

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answers from Los Angeles on

Have you thought about buying a dream catcher? This has worked really well for my kids. If you buy him one, explain to him how a dream catcher works. For real authenticity, I purchased mine from an Indian tribe online.

Also, you may want to have him draw a picture of his bad dream(s) and then burn them in the fireplace. That way, the dreams can go away once he visualizes them and burns them. Perhaps the weather is playing a toll on his bad dreams? Is it too hot or too cold in his room? Does he need a night light? I used to have really bad dreams to the point I would sleep walk around this same age. Maybe it is a growth spurt thing? Wishing you good luck!



answers from Los Angeles on

We are dealing with the same thing with my 5 year old for weeks now although it feels like the last 2 years! He was the best sleeper from 6 m to 3 so we really struggled to understand this. Definitely felt at our "wits end". I think he has just started to pull out of it the last week. We tried the dream catcher, stopped ALL tv & still he would say he had images of the bad dreams stuck in his head.

I did read that this can be a window into their subconscious & can happen when they are struggling with something. I haven't found any particular thing my son is struggling with but I did have him describe each dream & together we found a way to resolve the conflict, ie. in one dream his friends & little brother were turned into those Star Wars things, bacugones sp? He's never even seen any Star Wars & hardly ever sees a commercial on tv but he did see an ad for these things. It really upset him & was very vivid of his little brother being this small ball thingy. I explained to him about the good guys in Star Wars & "the force" & we changed them back in our heads. We addressed each dream like this & each new one as it came up. Also, before bed we talk about happy things... I ask him to imagine every detail of his birthday party (even though it's months away)... just try to put happy thoughts in his head. He really enjoys this & I think it is helping, too. He's actually stayed in his bed for 2 full nights in a row! Now is brother is waking up of course, oh well!



answers from Los Angeles on

They might be night terrors. My brother had them when he was young. I would check with his pedi. Also, what was said about the feeling of the dream I think would help him work thru some of the fear that the dreams cause and it might give you a window into something that is frightening or bothering him that he can't bring up consciencly (sp). Also, depending on the dream 'story', you could guide him to confront what is chasing or scaring him in his dreams. I would look up some info on Lucid Dreaming before doing this. Good luck and I hope for peaceful sleep for all of you!



answers from Visalia on

I know this is going to sound weird but hear me out. Which way does his hea face when he sleeps? My firnd asked me this when I was having all kinds of nightmares. I said to the west. She said move your bed so that your head is going towards the south or east. I though she was nuts but after another 2 weeks of nightmares I figured whatever why not try it. It worked. I went back to her and asked her what was up with that and she told me how nativew americans, the moors, and many eastern religions believe that the way that your head faces is how yuo will dream. Apprently if your head is to the North you will fight ( the soldier), the south good dreams( the little boy), east you will gain knowlege ( enlightenment) and the west is facing your worst fears.
So I don't fully believe all this 100% but I have found that It does work out whichever way my head iis facing.
I know it sounds a bit nutty but if you are at wits end give it a try what do you have to lose?



answers from Los Angeles on

ask him to tell his dreams to you. what do they feel like? i always find that the essence of my dream (what feeling it evokes in me) is what i'm struggling with, whether it be feeling unsafe, anxious, angry, sad, whatever.

he may have some feelings during the day about something that are expressing themselves in his sleep.



answers from Las Vegas on

Sounds like Night Terrors , not your run of the mill nightmares. I'd Talk to your pediatrician about it . I know there are some things you can do to help it, that don't involve medication. Unfortuneately I don't know what they are.

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