Nightmare or Night Terrors?

Updated on August 28, 2011
A.F. asks from Bellmore, NY
6 answers

My daughter, almost 2 1/2 has never been a good sleeper. She usually goes to bed by 8 PM and will wake between 5:30-6:00. I was never good at letting her "cry it out" like people have suggested. This morning she woke me up at 4:30 AM and would not go back to sleep. I tried music and even laying on the floor next to her crib in her room. She only calmed down when I picked her up and took her out of her crib. Luckily she did end up falling back to sleep a little and I truly believe doing that put her in a better mood this morning (as we are stuck home due to Hurricane Irene).

When Alyssa gets up between 5:30-6:00, she is often moody and irritable not to mention so indecisive in what she will eat for breakfast. She usually takes at least an hour to an hour and a half nap a day if we're home. Any thoughts on why she might be waking up so so early? Thank you.

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answers from Phoenix on

My son has always been an early riser. 5:30 - 6:30 is usually the latest he sleeps. He is almost 7 and goes to bed at 8pm. I would say at 2 1/2, she can definitely go to bed earlier if she is cranky in the morning. Sleep reccomendations for this age are 12-14 hours per day, so I would move forward her bedtime to 7pm. She will probably stop taking her nap soon and when that happens, move her bedtime up even futher. Around age 3 when my kids stopped their naps, sometimes they were in bed by 5:30 or 6pm. Not sure if this has anything to do with nightmares. At some point she will need to learn to go back to sleep on her own with out your intervention.

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answers from Chattanooga on

2 of my children have had night terrors...frequently. Their eyes are kind of glazed over, they don't look you right in the eye, they are terrified of "something" and most of what they say is gibberish although if you ask them a question, they can hear you and most of the time answer in a way that makes sense. They are somewhere between awake and asleep in the middle of a nightmare. When it is just a nightmare, they wake up afraid & crying but coherent. Hope that helps...

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answers from San Francisco on

You have a rooster on your hands. My first was an early bird. Sounds like she is actually getting a good night's sleep since she is getting about 10 hours? As far as nightmares vs night terrors? They are totally out of it during night terrors. Their eyes are open but the are not seeing you, pretty freaky. Nothing seems to comfort them and they eventually just fall back to normal sleep.

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answers from Charlotte on


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answers from Augusta on

It could be she woke up at 430 with a night mare.
A night terrior is where they sit up screaming and when you go in to comfort them they don't know where they are or what is going on, even picking them up they fight you cause they don't know who you are either. They seem awake but they aren't.
sounds like she's just an early riser other wise.
And she's 2.5 she's going to be indecisive.

1 mom found this helpful


answers from St. Louis on

Well, not sure why she doesn't sleep late. Could just be lack of activities during the day. I can say that doesn't sound like a nightmare and definitely not a night terror. You would know if it was a night terror.

1 mom found this helpful
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