Night Terrors - Louisville,KY

Updated on June 27, 2009
B.M. asks from Louisville, KY
14 answers

My soon to be 7 year old has had what we believe are night terrors. We'll be watching TV and hear him screaming. We go in to check on him and he's sitting up in his bed in the corner screaming and crying and trembling. On occasions he looks around the room like he sees something and hides his head. When I pick him up, he is covered in sweat and shaking and his little heart is pounding. The only way to make him stop is to sit him on my lap, put his head to my chest, and rock him. The difference between this and a nightmare is that all this time during the screaming and talking, he is completely asleep. He never remembers it in the morning. As soon as we start rocking, he's quiet. It's kind of freaky actually. This all happens in a span of about 5 minutes, from screaming and shaking to like nothing happened. We make sure he doesn't watch scary movies so it's not that. Has anyone experienced anything like this?

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answers from Raleigh on

my son actually had them when he was about 18 mos. I don't knwo if older kids react the same or not, but he would start screaming and i would run into his room and he was definately staring at was really freaky. I found thta when i would scoop him up to hold him, it would freak him out even more because he didn't recognize me (wasn't awake). So i did some research and found that the suggestion is to let them scream until they either wake themselves up and realize they were dreaming or go back to sleep.

So my little guy would start screaming and i ran to his room anyway and just waited to see if he would calm down. He did after a scream or two. then after a few days, the night terrors quit.

GOod luck - it's a creepy thing to happen

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answers from New York on

My daughter who is now 5 has had night terror off and on for the past couple of years. I talked to my pediatrician also and he said they do grow out of it. A suggestion he made to us was that since it tends to happen within the first couple of hours of sleep and during the deepest part of the sleep actually slightly wake your child about an hour into sleep to interrupt the cycle. Also, night terrors are also husband also had them. Good luck with it, it is really scary, but more so for you, since the child does not remember.

1 mom found this helpful


answers from Charlotte on

That must be painful for you to experience. My oldest daughter went through something similar when she was about 3 years old. Unfortunately, holding and rocking her didn't help. She would scream and cry and you couldn't get near her. Finally, what I started realizing would work was that when I would go to her, I would ask, "Who's hurting you? Who's scaring you? She would answer the questions in her sleep. Then we would play along with the dream and take care of it. For example, we would say that we were cleaning all of the ants out of her bed...or that Daddy chased away the monster. Amazingly, that seemed to help and she stopped having the episodes. Good luck!



answers from Greensboro on

Hi B.,

I know this a scary issue. My youngest daughter would sleep walk and I was always scared she would hurt herself. She never remembered any of it.

Most night terrors are outgrown, however, there is usually a stimulus that causes them. Stress can cause them in older children. Stress is relative so sometimes it's hard to notice. Environmental toxins can be a primary culprit as well. Cleaning supplies and bath and body products can cause neurological damage and can cause things like night terrors, nightmares, child behavioral disorders like ADD and ADHD and even memory problems. The main problem with your average product at Wal-Mart is that it has a "allowed" limit of toxin. When used in combination of other things with "allowed" limits, the limit has increased. This is not to mention the combination of toxins that outgas and contraindicate like a pharmaceutical does.

The other issue that usually causes night terrors is lack of sleep. So you have a vicious cycle here with night terrors keeping him awake and causing lack of sleep.
Detoxifying your house will help a lot; especially by changing to a laundry detergent that is considered non-toxic to humans. (There are a lot of things labeled non-toxic that are only considered non-toxic to the environment.) My husband's sleep problems improved greatly after we detoxed the house. He does use a supplement called RestEZ so I can get MY needed sleep. It is primarily Valerian Root and has a relaxing affect and doesn't make you sleepy or groggy in the morning. A seven year old can take it but do your own research.

Detoxing CAN be simple and it can be inexpensive to. If that's not the problem you haven't lost anything. If you want to give it a try, I'd be glad to help.





answers from Fayetteville on

I think you are doing exactly the right thing, you are going in and reassuring him and even though he is asleep and doesn't remember it the next morning, somehow he sub conscously knows you are there for him in the night. We have been through this with our oldest two boys and to a degree with our almost 3 year old. We did the same thing, there were nites that we had to wake the boys all the way up before they would settle back down.
Good Luck, it can be pretty unsettling for everyone when it happens.




answers from Memphis on

My husband and I experienced this same exact this when our youngest (now 5) was about 3. It is really a very odd thing and very scary as you really do not know what to do or how to help. We ended up taking him to the Pediatrician (after 2 grueling weeks of feeling helpless) and he said that most kids will out grow it but he did give us some medicine to give to him about an hour before he went to bed to basically just help relax his body. I have to admit I didn't understand how the medicine could help but it did. We used it for about 5 weeks and we have been "night terror" free since then. Our pediatrician did warn us that some times this could last for 6(+) mths but that hopefully the medicine would help reduce this time frame and that there was always the chance that the medicine might not help but that more often than not it did. Thank the good Lord it worked great --- yes we still had some "night terrors" while on the medicine but not nearly as frequently.



answers from Nashville on

Sounds like night terros tom e, but 3 yo has them..I haven't heard of them with older children though..ask your Dr about it



answers from Louisville on

I have to say that I agree with alot of what I read. However I too had this experience and still am at times but less frequently since my daughter's pediatrician gave me some advice and guidelines. She told us routines need to be made. Overly tired children seem to have this more frequently. Also that children need down time before bed without television. She told us that their brains can get over stimulated which can also cause this. Also to help break it she said that if it seems to be around the same time every night that we should wake her up about 30 minutes before it would usually occur for about 1 week. This would break the cycle. Now when things are hectic at home for us and we forget to do these things or my daughter is overly tired it still happens but It has not been a frequent thing since we have used these ideas. I hope this is helpful. Good Luck. It will get better. T.



answers from Louisville on

oh wow, so sorry to hear he is going through this! my oldest daughter had similiar situations as far as screaming, sweating and crying and not being able to wake her up. What I noticed is she only really did it when we were at another home, grandparents or famiy, and a few times in her own bed. I began taking her to the bathroom and sitting her on the commode. She would go and then put her back to bed and she would be fine. Not sure that it really had anything to do with the terrors but it would calm her down. Hope this helps and best of luck! Oh, on a note, after the terrors stopped I would find her sleeping in different rooms of the house. Just make sure the doors are locked! Take care!



answers from Greenville on

Hi B.

This is totally common in children. The only thing that I can tell you is that they will eventually grow out of it. So hang in there. You are right there is a big difference between nightmares and night terrors. They do not remember anything with night terrors. Nightmares you remember!




answers from Nashville on

Bless his heart. It does sound like night terrors as opposed to just bad dreams. Have you ever heard of Hylands ( It's an all natural brand that you can find at Walgreens, Target, WalMart, etc. They make teething tabs for babies, etc. They make something called Calms Forte for Kids. Here's a little info on it directly from their website (it references night terrors):

This medicine is designed to safely and effectively counteract mental and physical restlessness in children. Studies show that 69% of our children under 10 years of age are prone to some kind of sleep problem. This doesn’t mean that your child needs to suffer. Calms Forté 4 Kids™ addresses the causes that inhibit a child from sleeping well. Your child won’t wake up groggy like he or she might, when given over-the-counter drugs containing diphenhydramine (such as Benadryl®). This is significant for school-age children who need to be alert first thing in the morning.

Like all of our homeopathic medicines, Calms Forté 4 Kids™ is a formulation of all natural, safe and effective ingredients. A calmative solution to restlessness, this medicine comes in easy-to-administer tablets that dissolve almost instantly in the mouth. Calms Forté 4 Kids™ works without side effects and won't interact with other medications.

125 quick-dissolving tablets, easy to administer

Formulated for children ages 2 and up

No side effects

Can be used with other medications without contraindications or drug interactions

Aspirin- and acetaminophen-free

Addresses other causes that can inhibit children from sleeping well, including night terrors, growing pains, and sleeplessness from vacation travel.

Useful for irritability and wakefulness

Hope this helps you and your little man out a little bit. =0)



answers from Nashville on

You are doing the right thing. Eventually the night terrors will lessen. Like others have said it is important that he is getting enough sleep. Also, make sure he isn't eating anything within three hours of his bedtime.

My older daughter used to have them, but outgrew them a couple of years ago.

We don't always know how our children are perceiving what they see. He might see trees waving around scarily before a storm, or see someone who has a scary expression on their face or who talks in a scary way. Any time you are out with him, try to talk with him about what he is seeing and see if you can find out what his feelings are about certain things. As you know, dreams are a compilation of our subconscious, but it is often mixed up with none of it making sense. If you say prayers with him before bedtime, try also praying that he will have good dreams. It may be a coincidence, but when I started doing this with my daughters, their bad dreams seemed to lesson.



answers from Nashville on

My now 10 year old use to have night terrors. It is very frightening. The pediatrician recommended waking him up an hour or so after he falls asleep. Not waking him up fully, just gently waking him up and then allowing him to go right back to sleep. She said what happens is some children fall into a deep sleep very quickly after they go to sleep which causes the night terrors. My son has grown out of the night terrors, but is still a very heavy sleeper, and some nights if he wakes up to use the bathroom I have to go in there because its like he is standing there sleeping. I have to flush the toilet and guide him back to bed.



answers from Raleigh on

Hi B.,

My almost 3 year old and my 18 month old both have them. Sounds exactly like what you're going through too. You can talk to your doctor about them... I also suggest waking him an hour after he's fallen asleep... not fully awake.. just enough for him to open his eyes and then drift off again... it will change his sleep cycle enough that he hopefully won't have them. Our doctor says they're totally harmless and they'll grow out of them eventually. Our boys tend to have them after a stimulating day... but not always.
Good luck!


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