What are night terrors? A brief look.
Night Terrors vs. Dreams
All human beings experience dreams. There are pleasant dreams, which we experience, there are nightmares, which are unpleasant dreams, and at its most extreme, there’s what are called night terrors.
What are the symptoms?
So night terrors are actually an experience that children have. The child is often asleep and in their intensity of that night terror, they’ll scream, they’ll yell out, they’ll move their arms and legs around as if they’re trying to escape. And for the adult, or the parent, it’s often more terrifying than the child, because often the child, or sometimes the child, won’t even recall the experience.
What can be done?
So what do you do about night terrors? The first is, it’s a condition, it’s a normal part, in many sense, of childhood. It will disappear over the passage of time, as a general rule, kids will grow out of it. And if it is distressing for the parent, or distressing for the child, there are certain things that one can do to try and minimise it, and particularly routine. Child going to bed at the same time each night, and if there are triggers that may be identified that seem to cause disturbance of dreaming that leads to night terrors, then avoid them. And those triggers will become obvious over time. Maybe it’s disruption to their routine, maybe it’s eating certain types of food at a certain time, maybe it’s having a meal at a different time. Anything that interrupts with the normal circadian rhythm, that may contribute, should be avoided.
For further information
Dr Matthew Cullen, Psychiatrist, St Vincent’s Hospital, Sydney
Last Reviewed: 19/08/2020
If your child has short episodes of screaming and thrashing about in their sleep, they may be having night terrors (sleep terrors). Night terrors do not harm your child and stop happening as children get older.
Video: Constipation - Dr Golly
Constipation affects 1 in 4 children. If your child has infrequent, hard, large and difficult to pass stools then your child is constipated.
Pulled elbow happens when a child's outstretched arm is pulled suddenly. An affected child is usually crying and won't move their arm.
Video: Bedwetting - Dr Golly
Dr Golly talks about bedwetting in children and adolescents, the causes, symptoms and treatments.
Video: Infantile colic - Dr Golly
Colic is a form of pain that typically comes and goes quite abruptly. When babies are particularly unsettled – we refer to this as infantile colic.